My social media skills and interest stems mainly from my work as the Guardian’s Edinburgh Beatblogger in 2010. I was blogging before then, producing a blog about investigative journalism called “The Nose,” and a more personal blog about life and photography in Cornwall, where I lived for a year.
However, it was my experience of the Guardian Local project that honed my skills and opened my eyes to the power and potential of social media tools. Since then I have become a social media consultant, working with a wide variety of community groups and organisations in the city.
In my six months working for the Guardian, I produced hundreds of stories, videos, podcasts and slideshows, on all aspects of life in the city.
My role was both that of an online reporter, producing a stream of multimedia content for the site, and to encourage and curate community content, using social media tools like Twitter and Flickr to encourage interaction and debate.
I produced more than 250 articles, dozens of videos, podcasts and slideshow, and over thirty guest posts. The work was varied and exciting – including everything from anti-social behaviour and burning bins in Wester Hailes, to interviewing the Chancellor Alistair Darling during the 2010 Election campaign.
I have continued to work for the Guardian as a freelance journalist, most recently producing an interactive guide to some of the city’s best cycling routes.
In late 2010 I collaborated with Alastair Tibbitt (Greener Leith, STV Local) in setting up Edinbuzz.
We created a series of social media surgeries in communities across the city, in which experienced social media users volunteered their time to help train local people and community groups who were just getting to grips with the tools.
We delivered twelve social media workshops in total – over sixty hours of targeted training.
The Edinburgh Innertube Map
In 2011 I embarked upon an even more ambitious project – the Edinburgh Innertube Map project, working with the Bike Station to create an interactive tube style map/blog of the city’s off-road cycle routes. The website I devised with Gecko New Media was truly innovative – it allowed volunteer ambassadors to use smart phones to blog stories about the routes, with the site using geo-tagging to automatically place the stories on the relevant stops on the map.
To date, six months in to the project the ten ambassadors we trained to use the site have written over 300 posts, the site has received over 10,000 visitors, and over 23,000 hits. Phase two of the project is involving sympathetic community groups and organisations across the city, inviting them to start blogging about their work and the issues affecting them.
In addition, I’ve continued to use my skills to set up websites and blogs for community groups, civil society organisations, small ethical business, and community newspapers.