An Introduction to Digital Media and Web 2.0 Concepts (2/3)

As visionaries who care deeply about issues locally and globally, you have dared to take on the tools of digital media to amplify your voices, develop networks, and collaborate with other change-makers around the world. We know that getting started can sometimes be overwhelming. Don't worry, just take it one step at a time and remember that this is new for many people.

Let’s get started. The first question we want to tackle is, what do the terms digital media, Web 2.0, social media and social networking actually mean? Web 2.0 is the platform on which digital media, social media, and social networking all happen. Web 2.0 is a set of applications (tools) and technologies which allow for participatory information sharing, user-generated content and design, and collaboration. Basically Web 2.0 allows you to participate in the creation and consumption of content and interact with people online. Examples of Web 2.0 applications include Blogs, search engines, Facebook, Twitter, Wikis, video sharing sites like YouTube, interactive news sites, Google maps, etc.

So, what is Digital Media? First, think of traditional media products like magazines, newspapers, radio shows and television programs. Most of these products are created by professionals and distributed to every day citizens who rarely participate in the creation of the actual content. Digital media is the use of the Web 2.0 platform to create a new set of tools which allows media content (articles, radio shows, videos) to be created, edited, published, and distributed by you. Digital media is interactive, user-driven, and gives on-demand access to real time information.

Digital media is made up of many different tools. Twitter and Facebook can be used to announce news; Blogs like your World Pulse online journal or Blogher can be used to start global conversations; and free online software like YouTube can be used to edit and distribute videos on the events happening in your community. For example, how many of you have heard about the issue of breast ironing in Cameroon from traditional media sources? Probably not many. 2010 Voices of Our Future Correspondent Leina used digital video tools to create a short film on this debilitating practice affecting millions of girls in her region. Then, she posted it in her World Pulse journal. Over 14,000 people have read and commented on her story on World Pulse. And because of her blog, CNN decided to break a news story on the subject! She is using new media tools to get her voice heard and drive global conversations. 

What is Social Media? Social media is media used specifically for social interaction online. Social media allows you to meet new people and connect with your friends and family. Some examples include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.

Social networking is the building of community and connecting to people online based on profession, geography, similar interests, age, race, and gender to name a few. You often use social media tools such as Facebook to create a network online. The benefit of social networking is that you can quickly get feedback, share ideas, keep people up-to-date on your projects, and organize a gathering or action in your community. World Pulse's online community is a great example of social networking. In the World Pulse Online Community you can write about your own life, make friends you have never met, upload photos, and engage in dialogue about things that are important to you.

The term citizen journalist often refers to people without professional journalism training who use digital media to publish, fact-check, and distribute their stories globally. Unlike traditional print media where one must submit an article to an editorial team to have it published, a citizen journalist who is empowered with digital media tools can become the writer, editor, publisher, and distributor. Citizen journalists can create a global network of supporters by using online social networking communities such as World Pulse, Facebook, or Twitter.

The more you comment on blogs and interact with other citizen journalists and community organizers online, the more you expand your readership, and get feedback on your ideas and projects, or collaborate with others from around the world.

Other useful terms:

  • Online: Refers to being connected on the Internet. For example, online community organizing means you are using the Internet to organize a group of people around shared interests, actions or events.
  • Offline: Refers to something that does not happen on the Internet. For example, an "offline training program" means a training program that happens in real time, with face to face interaction.
  • Post: To submit content (writing, videos, photos) online is called "posting" or "making a post." The content itself is also called a post.
  • Scroll: To move up and down, or left to right, on a webpage.
  • Tag/Tagging: To label a post or web page with key words. Tagging allows posts to be more easily found by others on World Pulse, web searches or by browsing the Internet. For instance, if you write about a local leader who is carrying out a community development project in your area, you may want to tag your post with the local leader's name and what kind of project it is (water, sanitation, health), and your country.
  • Blog: A term combining the words "web log," referring to a website or part of a website that functions like a journal. Blogs are usually maintained by a single individual, providing commentary, news and events, and may include videos or images. Your World Pulse journal is a blog!
  • Online forums/Message boards: Online discussion sites or virtual bulletin boards, where many users can submit content to a larger group. On our online community, Groups, Resource Exchange, and Sharing Solutions function as online forums and message boards.
  • Network: A group of people with common interests who come together to provide support, create dialogue and share information.
  • Email lists: A group of email addresses that receive the same messages. Individuals can subscribe to email lists in order to receive regular updates from organizations or groups.
  • Bookmarks: Shortcuts to URLs (web site addresses such as stored in a web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Netscape, Safari or Internet Explorer). If you find a web page that you would like to return to, click on the bookmark tab (sometimes called Favorites or Shortcuts) of your web browser and then click on "Bookmark This Page" or "Add a Bookmark." The site is now stored in your list of bookmarks so you can quickly return to that web page.

Week 1 Classroom Navigation

Week One Learning Materials

Digital Media and Women's Empowerment (1/3)

An Introduction to Digital Media Concepts (2/3)

Opportunities Provided by Digital Media (3/3)

Once you are done with the 3 readings, access Week One Assignment

Helpful Links

Applicant Group Page

Listeners Group Page

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