Blogging Outreach Project


I believe its time I write about the Blogging Outreach Project I had designed and now look forward to take further.

Outreach means to reach out to a section of people with something which originally wasn’t there domain. By that definition this project should not be called ‘Outreach’ project because, blogging is everybody’s domain.

The project is an initiative to reach out to the less privileged, socially, economically, culturally and so on, and introduce them to the concept of ‘blogging’ an amazing new media tool currently used by handful people belonging to urban middle or upper class, but actually meant to be used by the most ordinary.

This has been for long in my mind. Such an amazing thing blogging and people hardly know about it. For example, traditionally, NGOs reach out to their beneficiaries, funders, supporters etc mostly via email groups or by putting up press releases on their website. Maintaining a website is not possible for smaller website and they also cannot update it frequently. Such NGOs can achieve better networking by using blogging and other social networking tools.

Then there are students, young professionals who have an easy access to internet, they spend a considerable amount of time on the internet emailing, using social networks like Orkut or Facebook, but that’s about it. It occurred to me that they sure would take up blogging once they know about it.

By way of blogging they can reach out to the largest global commune, the internet, in real time by just a push of a button without requiring fancy equipments or technical expertise and incurring almost no cost. The information delivered is first hand and untainted. So, the life and time and voice of a prostitute or an HIV+ person or a farmer or a destitute child can reach to the whole world whenever they feel like reaching out, even if they themselves are not blogging, but if a bunch of enthusiastic bloggers having the time and resource to blog and therefore does blog on their behalf.

While the thought was always on mind the project was actually designed when I heard about the Global Voices Online Summit 2006. It was encouraging to see that they were also trying to answer the same questions that I had in my mind. Over the past couple of weeks friend Swagat who is a film maker and a great champion of new media, one of his students Kamakhya, a budding documentary film maker, and I worked towards the first outreach workshop which was successfully conducted with a group of students on 10th December 2006.

Blogging outreach can be done with anybody and everybody from students, to civil society members, young professionals, faculty members at the college and university level, retired personnel and so on. However the first workshop being a pilot workshop we had focused on students and civil society members.

As a first step of this project an interview sheet was prepared to assess the Student’s accessibility and understandability of internet and secondly, their inclination to pick up blogging and do it for a cause. The interview sheet was also supposed to work as a filter to form a focus group of students who would really want to know more about blogging. However the responses to the interview was quite encouraging and we pretty much called all who responded to the workshop.

There were 10 students from 3 different educational background and Broadcast Journalism, Mass communication and Social Work.

The workshop was conducted in a Reliance Web World where all the students had access to a PC with internet. The content of the workshop had 3 major parts.

  1. Blogging: What is it all about? Why it is the most talked about new media in today’s date. (Session taken by me)
  2. How to Start a Blog of Your own (Session taken by me, Tutorial was given on Blogger.com being one of the most simplest blogging platform)
  3. How can you integrate blogging with other social networking tools. (Session taken by Swagat)

At the end of the workshop the students were given the task of creating one collaborative blog where they promised they’d blog about their experiences from various field activities. We intend to have one collaborative blog from each of these workshops which would help us follow up with the participants as to how are they utilising the learning and if they are disseminating or not.

The first workshop was just a pilot project. I intend to conduct a series of such workshop and want to make it a bigger project involving a considerable amount of funds. We didn’t have any funding or sponsorship for this project, the venue cost was split by Swagat and me, I made food at home in the morning and packed it for everybody and we ate them sitting at a community park in Noida. It was not fancy but it was hugely satisfying.

Here are some of the workshop photographs.

————————————————

Update 1: I was on BBC

Click here to hear me talking to Gareth and Bill about this project on BBC World Service technology program Digital Planet.

Update 2: Alootechie wrote about the project here.

Update 3:

I was on Indian Express Print version on 27th December talking about the blogging outreach project. Here is a link to the e paper. http://www.indianexpress.com/story/19421.html

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16 comments

  1. Pradeep_tp · ·

    All the best Sanjukta :)!

  2. Hey Sanjukta….great going …keep it up..

  3. Way to Go Sanjukta ! All the Best. See u @ Global Voices Summit

  4. this is a great beginning. I think for the road ahead, we need to focus on scaling the initiative. the focus group of 10 would have given you good understanding of the event. with that, we should now focus on getting it out to more people (think x100).. maybe MSM will help :)

  5. Thanks to all you guys. I need all your support. MSM will help abhishek but how to get to them….

  6. Hi,way to go madam…heard ur interview on Digital Planet and i hope u go ahead with ur work in this field.

  7. Gr8 effort Sanjukta! Hats off 2 u 4 dat. Can I help out? I read delhiblogger mailing list on web, no longer getting it delivered 2 my mailbox. So, u might want 2 email me personally.

  8. hello from norway, heard you on bbc. much admiration for your work . appreciate to be kept informed on progress? thank you h

  9. [...] A Delhi-based blogger Sanjukta Basu under the aegis of Blogging Outreach Project recently organised a workshop in a Reliance Web World for a group of students so as to encourage them to embrace blogging as a medium of expression. Blogging Outreach Project, which seeks to reach out to the less privileged people with the concept of blogging, plans to organise more such workshops for students, young professionals, college and university staff, and retired personnel. “I want to tell all of them how by blogging they can reach out to the largest global commune…” Basu writes in her blog This Is My Truth. [...]

  10. [...] one with the BBC World Radio team and Delhi Bloggers. She ideated and organized one of the first Blogging outreach workshops in India back in 2006. She has been all over the media, from BBC World Radio to NDTV, CNN IBN, Door [...]

  11. [...] results make me very happy and give me new ideas for the Blogging Outreach Project. When I got inspired to do the blogging outreach 3 years back the new media scene was lot [...]

  12. [...] the support of friend, Swagat Sen. Most importantly I wouldn’t have been able to do the Blogging Outreach workshop without his support. So thanks to [...]

  13. [...] link up with old friend Swagat and help him in his multimedia mapping project, rework on our Blogging outreach project (which will now be called social media outreach)…and [...]

  14. [...] had a media of their own. That’s exactly the same thought I had when I first ideated the Blogging Outreach Project. Its surprising how small the world can sometimes be, I know Shabnam through Vinayak when he did a [...]

  15. [...] had a media of their own. That’s exactly the same thought I had when I first ideated the Blogging Outreach Project. Its surprising how small the world can sometimes be, I know Shabnam through Vinayak when he did a [...]

  16. [...] access gap. In fact, an initiative I did four years ago, and want to bring back, is called the Blogging Outreach Project. It was a workshop we did with 20 to 25 students from various departments like literature, social [...]

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