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Social Media and nonprofits

what benefits can you see for utilizing social networking in your own groups?

What are some of the possible challenges?

Consider things like how your writers may view the concept “public space.”


I am majorly uncomfortable with social networking as a whole, in many ways. I mean, in that I am uncomfortable having much information about myself “out there.” My facebook is super locked-down with a fake name and the highest possible security settings, and I still share very little on there aside from lighthearted anecdotes and conversation.

Now I’m imagining if I had been incarcerated, and how that would change my perspective on it even further. I like that question about public space because I don’t think I’d want to share much about my incarcerated time online–I’d rather make decisions about who I disclose that to. I wouldn’t “friend” my institution on facebook–it’s not a friend. Really.

I also see many of the same problems that I outlined in my previous post–the residents don’t have much access.

I’m not dismissing social networking as a tool for an organization like the CLC–I know we can use social networking to do things like invite people to readings, share participant work that is posted on SpeakOut 2.0, and (maybe, depending on access) provide updates to program alumni. We can do community outreach and disseminate information about the program. I have done a couple of these using social networking, actually, and I see the value.

However, I am interested in exploring ways that it could be useful to residents and alumni with limited access to use it as a tool. My question is really about audience. It seems weird to me that Turning Point has a facebook page and that based on the public nature of facebook and the potential lack of access, it is not really something that the clients of TP use–who is it for?

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Online Publishing and the Digital Divide

So, since I’ve spent a lot of time writing on institutionally-based tactics lately, I’m going to change things up and write about Erin Anderson’s article on online publishing instead of Feigenbaum’s on relational and institutional tactics. I’m also interested in this because of the different ways we’re publishing the zine.

So the prompt questions are: What has technology brought to the table in terms of circulating a writer’s work?
Also consider underserved populations and your own groups that you facilitate.

Consider pros and cons of technological publication. 


So technology has allowed us to do some very cool things with our digital copies of the zine–we’ll include a copy of it in the journal burned to a CD, and we’ve been able to post the flash version of the zine (see below) online as well. The flash zine is awesome–it has color, flipping pages, and lots of other great features. It was easy to make and to publish. Theoretically, that’s all we really need–and thanks to technological developments, we had a place to publish it online, free for us and free for readers.


That said–and this is one of those “I thought you might say that” things for anyone who knows me–I am really mindful of access and I found it important to make hard copies of the zine, even though they are lower quality, they are not in color, and they are not as cool or interesting in black and white print form.


Not only do the actual writers of the zine–the girls–have limited access to the internet right now as they are in rehab, but many of them will continue to have limited access when they leave. And I want them to have access.


I think with the decreasing price of computers and of wireless internet access and so on, we take for granted that people have access, but the digital divide still exists in meaningful ways, in that, firstly, some people still don’t have access to the technology, and secondly, many don’t have access to the literacy needed to navigate the technology. Sometimes this can seem abstract, but it is concrete reality for many of the residents there. As we work towards bridging this divide, I believe that there still needs to be other, accessible forms in the mean time.


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Check Out the SpeakOut Zine!, posted below!

This was a collaborative project at the girls house. Each of us (residents, facilitators, staff) made a few pages using magazine cutouts, poetry, printed images, and other materials. We made the cover by asking each writer to list an image they would want on the front of the zine.

This was a great process, and at the Pop Culture Association conference in April, I’ll be talking about the potential (and the drawbacks) of zine-making as hybrid-genre writing for teenage girls. I’d be happy to provide more info!

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SpeakOut! Zine

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Research Update 2

We’re nearing the point of a final draft.

Yesterday I did some revisions to my sections, integrated sources, and sent the draft back to Tobi. I will have some revision to do to make my sections fit the tone of the journal better and we may include a theoretical framework, depending upon how much framing we do in the other sections.

I’m hoping we’ll have a complete draft to send to the journal in a couple of weeks.

Writing a journal article is stressful! It’s my first one, and it feels more high-stakes than a paper for a class or even my thesis because of the needs of the audience (publication). I put a lot of pressure on myself when I sit down to work on it. I’m looking forward to reaching a stage where we can send it to the journal, even if they ask for a few revisions!

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Digital Storytelling

I looked at “Untitled” by Saul Ramos and “Privilege” by Teresa Rodriguez in the “Education” subheading of the Center for Digital Storytelling. Both used narration, music, and images—mostly old photographs—to talk about the immigrant experience and how at times it conflicted with their education experiences. The way they used and re-combined images reminds me a bit of the zine project we just did at the girls’ house—it’s a low-stakes way to engage in multimodal composition and it has a lot of potential as a hybrid text to blur the boundaries of writing and challenge our conceptions.

I would love to do this as a project at the girls’ house. Ideally, we could give each of the writers a camera, access to graphics and to childhood photos, and a voice recorder for the narration. I don’t know what kind of software is used to make digital stories, but my understanding is that it’s fairly accessible.

Unfortunately, material and institutional concerns get in the way (there I go borrowing language from my project!). The writers aren’t allowed to have cameras to ensure confidentiality, and though I doubt voice recorders fall under the same restriction, with the level of turnover there, there’s a good chance of the recorders being lost. The writers are rarely able to get home, so getting access to childhood photos like many of the digital storytellers on the website use would be challenging. Further, as a facilitator, I wish I had unlimited time, but I know I wouldn’t have time to edit everything, and since the writers have very limited access to computers, they would also be unable to. It’s an awesome project idea, but there would be a lot of hoops to jump through.

I do think digital storytelling would be a worthwhile pursuit for the CLC as a whole, though—someone could be devoted to just that project, and perhaps choose a population to create digital stories that is not incarcerated and that has access to time and technology.  

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Research update

Currently, I have an outline for the article and I am working on zero-drafting and will fill in sources later.


The article will deal with the following (this is a rough list):

-Introducing the workshop

-A discussion of how feminist and queer pedagogies influence the workshop ground rules, approaches, and outcomes

-How the institutional and material trouble these goals/critical questions

-Examining particular issues/instances

-How do we move towards overcoming these complications?


I feel good about this outline. My main challenge right now is time. Grad school, etc. That’s it. More updates to come.

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