Tim Longhurst's Blog

7by7 Runner – Matt Jones takes on 7 bridges 7 times in 7 days

February 28th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Matt Jones has set himself an audacious goal – to run a 25 kilometre circuit across seven Sydney bridges every day for seven days. I met Matt a few months ago at the relaunch of the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts and last night I saw him again, this time at an event hosted by Vibewire at their SquareOne headquarters.

We got talking about using blogs/websites to communicate and how it’s not always easy to ‘put yourself out there’ and express yourself in a forum where you can be judged by anyone with an internet connection.

Anyway, Matt’s running project is a massive challenge – he’s hoping to raise $70 000 for “Youth off the Streets”.  He’s planning on blogging about his progress and you can follow it all as he ‘puts himself out there’ online for the very first time.

Good luck, Matt!

Check out 7by7 Runner

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Category: Uncategorized

Election Tracker – How Crikey’s raining on a kids’ parade

November 2nd, 2007 · 2 Comments

Election Trackerelection tracker is a youth-run site that follows the Australian federal election. It’s been around since 2004. It’s great. Go and check it out. It’s full of stories from young Aussies that care about politics and that write about everything from why their mates don’t care to why they vote the way they do.

The Problem

So, guess what? Crikey have set up a website in the past few weeks also called electiontracker. I’m not kidding you. They’ve used exactly the same name. In the same region. In the same industry.

The youth run electiontracker is located at electiontracker.net and was registered back in June 2004. The crikey electiontracker is located at electiontracker.com.au and was registered on 27 September 2007.

So you can see the problem. People are going to crikey’s site by accident because crikey’s decision to use exactly the same name for their website is causing confusion.

A proposed solution

electiontracker is a project of Vibewire and I’m on the Vibewire board. Last week I spoke with Amber Sloan, General Manager of Crikey. While remaining friendly and courteous, I did manage to suggest that her company’s use of the term was unfortunate and was leading to confusion. I proposed a reciprocal link would be a good way to help clear the confusion (ie. “If you’re looking for the Crikey electiontracker, it’s over here” and “If you’re looking for the Vibewire electiontracker, it’s over here” kind of thing).

Rejection

Yesterday Amber emailed to say Crikey wasn’t interested because “cross-links from site to site would just compound the problem”.

The Web Community Solution

The biggest problem facing the not-f0r-profit electiontracker is that their audience reach is being limited by search engine traffic going to the Crikey electiontracker by mistake. Vibewire’s electiontracker don’t have the resources to defend their trademark in a legal sense, but they can defend it in a web 2.0 sense. We just have to get people talking.

Crikey’s Election Tracker is currently number 1 on Google searches for the term “Election Tracker”, but if enough people link to the original election tracker like this: election tracker, they will soon be back on top.

So if you’d like to help the electiontracker David over the electiontracker Goliath, please post about this one!

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Category: election07

Vibewire Videos 2

October 2nd, 2007 · 1 Comment

In the spirit of Open Source, I present to you – Creating a video brief, part one – the initial questionnaire.

As a communication problem (there’s a lot that could be communicated in a limited amount of time), gathering the basic information on the video subject before you begin is a good place to start.

For the Vibewire videos, I have developed a pretty simple questionnaire that I hope will be used to gather all the information we need for each video into one place.

For each project we’d like to produce a video on, I think we need, at the very least, the following information, hopefully on a single page:

WHAT (The project name):
WHO (The people/organisations involved in organising/supporting the project):
WHO ARE THE INDIVIDUAL ADVOCATES (The people who would be great spokespeople/3rd party supporters):
WHERE (Where the project takes place):
WHEN (How often, at what times, for how long):
WHY (Why does this occur at all) :
WHO PAYS (How are the costs of the project absorbed?):
WHO BENEFITS (Who are the primary beneficiaries of the program? What are the numbers here?)
WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES (both measured/unmeasured).

Having these questions answered would be an excellent starting point for a discussion on communication strategy, and whilst I’ve penned the questions for the Vibewire project, I can imagine using them in other projects in the future.

In the spirit of open source, if you use this questionaire, or if you have improvements, please post a comment so the questionnaire can be refined over time.

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Category: Tim's Projects

Vibewire Videos

October 2nd, 2007 · 2 Comments

Tom from Vibewire has asked me to help him with a project he’s had in mind for Vibewire – communicating the value of various Vibewire projects through video.

The best case scenario is that there will be a mini video (between 30-60 seconds) for each of the following programs:

  • Reelife Short Film Festival
  • the sQuareOne creative project incubator space
  • the Vibewire.net website
  • Election Tracker
  • Interface Magazine
  • E-Festival of Ideas

And finally, there will be an ‘overview’ video that aims to bring all the videos together.

These are all fantastic projects, and I’d love to see these videos created. It’s just a matter of how to make it happen quickly and cheaply!

I’m going to meet with Treffyn (who works with me on various projects) to discuss the best way forward. Typically this kind of project can be incredibly involved and I don’t have a lot of time to see this project through at the moment. Vibewire has a network of clever, creative people, so the challenge will be to harness the talents of many to create videos that are engaging, but not incredibly resource intensive to make.

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Category: Tim's Projects

About Vibewire

October 2nd, 2007 · 1 Comment

I’m sitting in the office of Vibewire on Harris St, Ultimo (Sydney). I haven’t blogged about Vibewire before, so I’ve dug up a few paragraphs that do a good job of explaining what Vibewire is and why it exists. These are from an internal document that the guys were happy for me to post:

Vibewire is built around the vision of an Australian society with significantly greater levels of youth community engagement and media-literacy and, ultimately, a more informed and participatory public debate about the issues and challenges that confront us all.

Vibewire’s goals are to:

  • Empower young people by giving them leadership and expression opportunities;
  • Enhance young people’s self-esteem by giving them a sense of belonging in a community and ownership of their destiny via leadership opportunities, self-expression and education;
  • Foster a sense of ‘connectedness’ for young people by creating significant, sustainable relationships with their peers and youth communities nation-wide (and world-wide);
  • Break entrenched cycles of apathy and alienation by creating new participation pathways;
  • Create platforms for showcasing the talents of young creatives from a variety of fields;
  • Provide a unique and inspirational environment for peer mentorship and training;
  • Develop the skills, competencies and relationship networks of our team and the youth community.

Vibewire is focused on re-engaging young people in the political decision-making processes which affect them, improving their media literacy and understanding of these processes, and providing opportunities for the creation of non-commercial arts and culture and the showcasing of the talents of young people in Australia.

Media and arts-based expression and community involvement around it are also known to build resilience and mental well-being for young people. We believe that being valued as a member of society and empowered to represent your feelings and ideas is fundamental to preventing youth apathy, isolation and depression.

Vibewire Inc. was incorporated in September 2000 by then university student Tom Dawkins. It was originally conceived of as a vehicle simply to create Vibewire.net, a youth culture and expression portal. Since that time however it has grown into a multi-faceted youth media and arts organisation with five key project areas: Vibewire.net; Online Events; Reelife Short Film Festival; Print Projects and; the sQuareOne creative project incubator space.

Vibewire is run entirely by young people (16-30). All staff, volunteers and board members (National Steering Committee) are aged 30 or under. In fact, the vast majority of Vibewire management, staff and volunteers are aged 25 or under.

A few months ago I was invited to participate on the board of Vibewire. The feeling seemed to be I was a good fit because my activism and communication work made me an obvious candidate.

Vibewire’s done some great work in the past few years – in 2006 I posted about the e-festival of ideas which is a great initiative. I was honoured when Tom invited me to join the board and I hope to make a great contribution.

I won’t post more about Vibewire here, but I thought I should post a little information so future references to Vibewire make a little more sense.

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Category: Tim's Projects