Tech Tools for Activism Update

Publishing and Networking News

In this chapter you will find out about;

  • publishing news anonymously
  • using tagging and Search Engine Optimisation to help people find your news
  • using RSS and aggregation tools to help network news

The Internet has made it easy for everyone to publish news. Anyone can set up a blog or start twittering. This can make reaching your audience more challenging. Network Internet services which let you share your news often keep a record of who is visiting and updating your news site. This can cause security problems and legal problems as well. 

Posting anonymously

Blog sites like wordpress.com and blogger.com and social networking sites like Facebook keep a record of who uses their site. They do this by collecting the IP addresses. There are two easy solutions for posting your news anonymously. You can use Tor to post anonymously (see chapter "Organising Online"), or you can post to websites which do not log your IP. 

Website and blogs hosted on certain independent servers: There a number of services that host your website or blog anonymously, like noblogs.org and network23.org. There are also hosting providers that don't log ip addresses and can help you with security and anonymity issues. See this page for more info - ttfa.net/hosting

Indymedia and other secure open posting news sites: Indymedia volunteers coordinate the production and sharing of news content often ignored by mainstream media. The global IMC network is based on openness and broad participation: all software is Open Source, most lists are publicly archived, everybody can sign up to the wiki, log-on in chatrooms, or publish various newswire as long as it does not breach the guidelines.

Networking News

There are many different independent media collectives and individuals who publish news that is ignored by mainstream media. We can help spread the reach of this news by republishing it in anyway we can. 

Tagging your content and SEO: Making sure your content shows up in search engines like Google has become a science called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Search Engine Optimisation is made easier by using Content Management systems like Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. SEO works better if you tag well. 

Tagging your content makes also it much easier to find. If you use tags, your news can then be classified, better indexed by search engines, and via RSS feeds the content can be pulled into other websites (aggregation).

RSS and aggregation: Syndication offers some potential for posting anonymously. RSS feeds are an agreed standard to allow different sites to pull in and republish content from other sites. You could publish your news anonymously on Indymedia - which uses tagging, and an RSS feed - to republish it onto your convenient (but insecure) wordpress.com site.

Reposting or ReTweeting news: One of the reasons that blogging and Twitter really took off was that communities of bloggers or tweeters with similar interests would retransmit news from there peers by commenting on, linking too, writing supportive posts or simply just repeating their news. We shouldn't be shy to do the same with news of activism with the tools we have. Blogs, imported RSS feeds, repeating Twitter or Status.net posts and cross posting them to social network sites are all a vital part of getting the word out there.

Bethemedia.org.uk website: In the UK the Be The Media website aggregates news from many different media collectives and campaign groups. The goal is to be a node on the network of independent news which gathers and retransmits independent news. The sources page of BTM is a good first stop when looking for such sources in the UK. ttfa.net/btmsources

What Next?

  • Find your local open-publishing news collective or start one up.
  • Network your news, tag, repost and retweet till it hurts (in a good way)

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