Social Reporting findings and call for writers
By Ed Mitchell 4th January 2012
This is a brief overview of findings from the Social Reporters’ end of pilot survey, and a call for new writers to share their experiences of being in Transition.
You will find some pie charts from the survey below and all the quotes in italics are taken unedited from the survey. You can download the summarised and full versions of the un-edited, but anonymised results attached to this blog post, and read the stories themselves on the Social Reporting portal.
If you fancy giving reporting in 2012 a try, fill in this short form to suggest yourself for 2012’s social reporting project.
Naturally we are keen to encourage more people to share their experiences, but not to project false expectations; it takes time and effort!
I feel that the blogs are a good place to explore ideas, concepts, systems, even controversial ones in a safe manner
Table of contents of this post
- Statistics of readership
- The Social Reporters’ responses
- How to get involved in 2012
From September to December 2011, 12 voluntary writers and a voluntary editor from different Transition initiatives committed to collaboratively writing a group blog and publishing a new story every day. For them this was one post per fortnight. For the editor it was seven days a week.
I thought the content was interesting, challenging, realistic and thought provoking
Topics ranged from community group dynamics, economics, Permaculture, land rights, inner to outer Transition, to hats and more.
The reporters produced an extraordinary and new and honest group account of life in Transition; the ups and downs, the thrills and the disappointments, the challenges of swimming against the mainstream narrative’s current in an effort to re-set our cultural stories, help us all align to a more realistic worldview, and give back some pride to our local communities.
We take our hats off to you! Thank you all!
The pilot was a success. All of the writers want the project to go on, and nearly all of the writers want to continue writing and take more ownership of the project. They felt it deepened their understanding of themselves, their own and other initiatives, and helped them forge new connections across Transition. So we are continuing with the project, distributing authority and organisational responsibility to the writers.
This was a nerve wracking yet uplifting experience for me. I have been a scribbler for a long time but did not have the nerve to try to get something published by someone else . It has given me courage to keep going and I felt the quality of my work began to improve way beyond what I thought possible . It was a transformative experience, in that it inspired me to write creatively and produce pieces that weren’t necessarily going to happen anyways.
Statistics of readership
We weren’t looking for big website metrics. We were more interested in how the group worked together and what their experience was, and how we might grow the project if suitable.
Therefore the total readership of all the blog posts of just under 21,000 page views is interesting. It’s a figure. It boils down to an average of approximately 230 reads per blog post. Naturally some will have been read more than others depending on how well the post was promoted, shared, social-networked, commented etc.
Of particular note here are the spikes – the big ones being the Transition Network newsletter, and the smaller ones being the days that things got busy on the social networks.
Clearly the newsletter is a great route to promoting things, the project gained a readership over time, and when the reporters shared their stories, they were read more.
(stories website metrics graph)
The Social Reporters’ responses
There were 12 reporters and one editor, so the following results are from 13 people. Two people left the pilot; one who did not enjoy it and left, and one whose life proved too busy and had to step down.
I learned things from people in similar situations and in different situations as well. Great to hear so much from the others, and through comments.
Sharing experiences of being in Transition
Content consistently engaging, informing and frequently moving. With a lot of high quality writing
It helped me to understand what I thought and felt. A couple of times it gave me the excuse to do things in order to write about them
Learning about other Transition initiatives
We’re glad to see that it helped share knowledge between initiatives, particularly new things from people in different situations.
Did you enjoy the stories
Making new connections
Was it worth the effort?
I found it very rewarding – feels really good to be able to express thoughts and feelings and that seem to make sense to other people. It also felt good to see my own writing improving, or seemingly so. The process was still grueling, owing more to the pressure of producing something that others will (hopefully) read – peers, other Transitioners, etc. There was one all nighter and a couple of other 4 hour nights mixed in.
The importance of deadlines
This is for Charlotte, the editor. Charlotte’s unique mix of authority and facilitation and dedication to distributing control is a vital element of the project. Her only rule was “There is one rule: deadline, deadline, deadline”…
If you want to take part in the Social Reporting 2012
- If you want to suggest yourself as a writer, please fill in the short form here. You will need an example of your writing on the web so find a link to that first.
- There are various meetings planned in 2012; the most prominent and easy one will be at the Transition Network conference in July 2012…. Ed thinks at time of writing!
- The project continues and the writers are off again. January’s theme is reflection, and the themes beyond that are being set by the writers themselves. We will endeavour to add the links to Facebook and Twitter and the Transition Network newsletter, but your best bet is to subscribe to the social reporting blog posts by registering, logging in and subscribing.
- Please help share the work of the project by spreading the links, telling your friends, encouraging journalists to write about it, and taking it onboard yourselves and asking yourselves why you are doing Transition, how that feels to you, and what it means.