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Blogging is a serious business in the Socialist Alliance

...says he, hopefully.

I've been working on a renovation for the Socialist Alliance's Tasmanian blog

In the SA most branches only discover their web presence when an election is pending and one is indeed on the horizon in Tassie in March.Thus the refit.

So designing a setup that suits electioneering (while also fostering a greater confidence in blogging outside the polling times) is all part of the service.

Everyone to be on the same page.

While comrades are still stuck in the attitude that an online presence is only about showcasing your wares, my hope is that the SA can move collectively towards an online engagement which uses the web as a major in-house organising tool. This level of Web 2.0 utlisation hasn't quite registered...but give it time.My main argument is simply this: on the web you can get everyone to be on the same page (even if that page is more than one web page)
Perhaps because of my own illness,I respect the online digital universe as a very powerful organising medium. I have learnt to depend on its form to regulate what I do as it helps me think and plan.When you  compose content and format your material for the web, you are encouraged to be coherent as it's like note keeping and running your own to-do list collectively. It fosters planning ans d a certain by the-seat-of -your -pants logic It generates its own discipline which forces you to seriously address how you communicate. You are also given the power to access your archived stuff even more easily than you could on your own computer's desktop. Such 'cloud computing' nonetheless has a very shallow learning curve as in effect, if you can compose an email message you can use any online editing window or tool which uses the exact same interface. Dependency on paper handouts forgets that hard copy can be lost or read only once before being junked.Similarly, online information is not limited by space considerations and with the ease of graphic or image addition, can be more visually informational than most printed means that has to be carefully laid out and printed and distributed usually by hand.

I mean among that 'everyone'...
  • those who are non members and are interested in the SA and surf on over to investigate;
  • journoes and the like from the mass media outlets who background the party (this is why you need to make press releases easily accessible online as well as an image gallery);
  • SA members of branches in the locality  as well as at large members, 
  • SA members from around the country who want to check out what you are up to locally and learn from your campaign  experiences;
  • editors of SA's national journals seeking images, text, and reports for broader distribution and sharing--such as part of national newsletters or reports;
  • members of the various local SA campaigns who look to the blog for up to date information about gatherings, and resources they can download and use. Such a key element is an easily accessible events listing -- and preferably a calendar -- and an attached wiki (and all local blogs are paired with a wiki) which enables the branch to share files by sharing links to uploaded files on their blog. 
  • any and every one. This is especially true if you seek to share some multimedia. Why send people to YouTube or Picasa or Flickr  or  your own personal diary existence  on Facebook -- when you can share a link to your own party specific web presence with all the bits and pieces of your political existence attached. So embedding and sharing really comes into its own when you blog it.(On the Tassie blog you'll see slideshows, videos, Powerpoints,radio interviews and advertisements,  a map to the local Activist Centre..etc. all embedded and shared).
In that sense these web outposts are clearing houses that tick a lot of boxes and unlike other left parties, the SA can use such a tool to ensure its operations are open to scrutiny -- in a sense of what you see is what you get.

That's why what is posted to the SA national web site  has been a standard agenda item for our national convenors to discuss. The same attention needs to be drawn to the local web presences and be a concern of local bodies..

The SA needs to get away from single issue email postings which may verge on spamming and  generate regular local newsletters. It also needs to write , even the smallest of, reports on its local activities -- whether they are a  political or a social event, and post them webside as they are all part of the experience of membership.

Single posts with an event or report focus can easily serve as links in an emailed newsletter so that your newsletter can be an aggregated by simply posting to the blog and then later sharing links to its content. This is in fact how we do Alliance Voices.

And since everyone today owns a digital camera or a mobile phone that also  may shoot photographs -- your regular SA member should take photographs at events and share them on the local blog at least. I mean, why take photographs and not share them?

(Why not take photographs...?)

Considering the Tassie blog as a sample, the elements in situ are:
 In the works is a branch form which visitors can fill in and flag their interests and what they'd like to volunteer for but I'm hoping to make that generic and not Tassie specific,

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