You can use this workshop outline to turn your Reading Activist group into fantastic social reporters. Or, if you're an individual, why not use it to improve your social reporting skills?
What is a Social Reporter?
Social reporters are storytellers who can use a wide range of content such as blogs, sound bites and podcasts to get their message across. They provide a commentary on events and experience to share with a wider audience, for example check out one Reading Activist's report on his experience interviewing Neil Gaiman.
Why is it important?
Social media and commentary skills are becoming more and more important to employers, especially for jobs in the media, journalism and Public Relations.
In fact, these days, journalists live and breathe social media. They use it to stay relevant, research stories and share breaking news. They have to work at a very fast pace too, and social media platforms enable them to do this, letting their audience know real-time answers to questions.
Before you start
Before you start it is important to familiarise yourself with social media platforms, (if you don't already use them). You don't have to be an expert, but it's important to know what's out there. Get to know sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Most sites will have their own help or 'how to guides' to help you get the most out of them.
Check out some blogs and listen to a few podcasts too. You'll find some great blogs written by book lovers! To start you off here's some great blogs to explore:
What you'll need
- Access to a computer, tablet, or smart phone
- A pen and paper
- A list of your favourite books
- Audio recorder (optional)
The first thing is think about the social media you or your group use in their day to day lives. This can be held as a group discussion or written as notes. You might like to think about:
What social media you use, for example Twitter or YouTube?
Why you use it, for example to comment on what's going on or to share and watch video?
Who you are interacting with when they use is, for example friends or the general public?
What makes a good social media story?
If you're working with a group, split everyone into pairs. Discuss what makes something interesting or memorable on social media. Think of some examples from your own experience, for example you may have read a funny tweet from a friend or seen a shocking photo on facebook that really caught your attention. Take it in turns to describe your reaction to the piece of information by using just one word, for example, hilarious, silly or sad.
Report the words back to the group and write all the words down on one piece of paper. Now you have a list of words that you can use to create your own social report.
In order to be a successful social reporter it is important to have your audience in mind. The goal is to make your audience feel something.
Have some fun with your favourite books
Get your group to write a list of their favourite books.
Discuss the storylines in these titles, and pick out the moments with the highest conflict and emotion. These will be the bits that will make a good social media story.
Imagine you are the character from the book at the peak moment in the story. Report on the experience that the character is going through as though it were happening today.
Work alone, in pairs, or as a group to create a short report on the experience to share this with a wider audience. This could be in the form of a 250 word blog post, a one minute video blog or a series of tweets written from the characters point of view.
Your aim is to share the details that you think will interest a wider audience and to tell the story as though none of your audience has heard it before. Imagine that your audience knows nothing about the book, and they are heading about the events for the first time.
For example, in The Hunger Games, a great social media story would be to focus on the bit in the book where Katniss volunteers for the games to protect her sister. This could be written as a blog or a series of tweets or the young people could pretend to interview Katniss using an audio recorder or video and get her reactions after she has agreed to volunteer for the games.
Share your work
Don't forget to share your fictional Social Reports on social media. You could publish them on the libraries' website, create a new blog online, or share them on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites.
Don't forget to tag the Reading Activists!
Facebook: Reading Activists
Created your own Social Report? Share with us on Twitter, Facebook send them to Nici West: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in building your CV through volunteering or like the idea of meeting new friends whilst helping out at your local library? Find out more about our young people's programmes.