Rising Voices, a citizen media outreach initiative of the Global Voices, has just released the first of a series of planned guides, An Introduction to Citizen Media. This brief guide offers context and case studies which show how ordinary citizens across the world are using blogs, podcasts, online video, and digital photography to engage in an unmediated conversation which transcends borders, cultures, and differing languages. This unmediated conversation is of course available to the world through search. As search marketers, we have witnessed the growth of alternative media and the need to consider it in our search campaigns. This gives a global perspective.
As the introduction states: “The purpose of this guide is to show that anyone with an internet connection can participate in the emerging global conversation. Our understanding of the world is now shaped not just by the newspapers and television, but also by each other.” This first edition of An Introduction to Citizen Media is available in English, Spanish, and Bengali. Future editions will also be available in Swahili, Malagasy, and Aymara.
This guide with its examples of how citizens around the world are using these tools of social engagement to provide a global context to the political and social events in their country provides proof positive of the power of these tools. For those wanting more in depth information on citizen engagement will also find interesting Public Deliberation: A Manager's Guide to Citizen Engagement. Anyone who works with non-profits, political or mission-driven organizations will find this document a convincing argument to use for expanding the use of these communication tools.