Last week we held our first ever NENgage session at Stockbridge Library. NENgage is a new project I’m running with blogger, writer and broadcaster Emily Dodd that aims to pass on social media skills like blogging, online video, and simple data journalism to community groups. It’s backed by the North Edinburgh News with funding from Edinburgh City Council.
The first session had an incredible mix of different community groups, charities, social enterprises and individuals, both participatting and volunteering. We heard about biking mum Rona Strachan’s ideas for a new business called Little Blue Bike, that aims to help families live car free lives.We met Cathy and Pauline from Jack and Jill Market, a social enterprise that helps parents sell and buy second hand clothing and toys for their kids. We had representatives from Edinburgh Women’s Aid, Inverleith Youth Forum, and Warriston Residents Association.
Emily and I tried to take as creative an approach to the session as possible, using a range of tools to explain how blogging works best, and how to make it work for you. Emily asked participants to bring along a photo that made meaning for them to share with the group, and to then tell the story of it – to show both how important strong images are, and how blogging is essentially about storytelling. I did my first ever “Prezi”, an impressive online presentation tool that allows you to zoom and fly around text and images in an exciting way.
After that we got people online and having a go at posting their first bog using WordPress. We could probably have done with more time for this section of the class – we were trying to pack in an awful lot into an hour and a half – but almost everyone got a simple post up. These were collected into a NENgage training blog that isn’t currently public, but by the end of the project we hope that some of the stories will be able to appear on the North Edinburgh News blog.
“The NEN has been sharing stories from the North Edinburgh community for thirty years, Hopefully, through exciting new initiatives like NENgage, we can continue to share stories for many more years to come.”
Dave Pickering, reporter with the North Edinburgh News
We also had some great volunteers on hand to help out; crime writer Marianne Wheelaghan (who is soon to publish a new book), club night organiser and founder of the Mondo Loco project Paul Glynn, and photographer Ross Gasson. Thanks also to Stockbridge Library for letting us use their meeting room, plasma screen and computer room – for free!
We still have a small number of places for this week’s class, which takes place tomorrow evening, 5:45 to 7:30 at Stockbridge Library – if you live or work in Invereleith, and would like to take part, please sign up to the Eventbrite page as soon as possible. And there are more classes coming up about video blogging, data journalism, and building an online community.
You can drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.