Sunday, March 10, 2013

KPFA Social Media Workshop Notes 2-23-13

Led by Clay Leander 
Sponsored by the Unpaid Staff Organization

"Twitter is the ultimate collaborative sport."

(Workshop conversation: Jan, Adrienne, Clay, Steve, Kazmi, Jayshree & Ann)

Overview (thinking)
Overview (tools)
Your Website

-----------------OVERVIEW  (Thinking)----------------------

What is Social Media?  Why is it important?

it’s about joining your work with the work of others to create something more powerful and useful than is possible alone; it’s not about simply telling people about what you are doing.  People once talked about “interacting” with communities, now it’s about “engaging” with communities.  In other words the communication is best when it is 2-way.  When we use social media, we should be conscious of taking other producers and programs into the discussion with us.  We do this by, among other things, cross-promotion. 

Clay told a story of a radio station shut down by the FCC which moved to an internet format and strengthened its audience through social media.  When it returned to the air, it was better off than when it left.

You can tell the entire world about your program, like the example someone gave of a friend with 100,000 facebook followers.  Or you can cultivate a specific audience, like KPFA’s Radio Cuba Canta which parlayed its once-a-month broadcast into a world-wide community of Cuban music lovers.  They have just over a thousand facebook followers, over 10,000 down loads and a reputation that extends to musicians in Cuba.

When you are doing really important work on life or death issues, people are more apt come to you.  

It’s good to have a facebook presence but it’s just as important to post on other people’s pages and be part of the larger discussion.  This will generate people you want to interview and become a self-generating loop.

Social media is often about “listen now” and we try to get our information out in a way that connects immediately.  “The program starts in five minutes” etc.  But, what we do also has value over time in adding to the knowledge base and long-term discussions.  It’s important to make the archives clear and available.

Make access a routine part of your social media work.  It often takes only a minute of thought and/or a minute of effort.   For many of us, assess is not a choice, it’s how we live.  Many people who are visually impaired use a screen reader with a mechanical voice that “reads” the internet, e-mail, Word documents, etc.  Read on to find out more on how to make your work accessible to those who use screen reader technology.

Use and promote sites and tools that are accessible and don’t use the ones that aren't.


Log in for KPFA’s WiFi:  Areai941, no password

We should all be labeling, promoting and tagging our KPFA archives.  Many are labeled only with a date, which makes them useless for searching.  There is an easy interface to do all this for your program’s archives.  You can do it from home.  Contact Miguel Guerrero at or ex. 252 for instructions and a password to log in.

We need a way for google to “find” discrete KPFA news stories.  This may be happening for the stories posted on KPFA’s Sound Cloud.
This option is free for KPFA producers.  Contact or John Hamilton for directions.

KPFA has a streaming channel.  Watch for it on KPFA’s website March 9, 10-3 pm when a conference on Nuclear Whistle Blowers, Health & Safety, Workers & our Communities will stream live.  Talk with Andrew about streaming yr next event. ex 203.  The process uses ustream and a smart phone.

---------------OVERVIEW (TOOLS)-------------

Captchas are the bane of blind and sight-impaired folks!  KPFA has one where one answers a math problem (like 2+2 =: and you type 4 in the edit box.) That is the only foolproof version. The audio on others is purposefully difficult to understand and the visual is hard for even the sighted to see.  Beware of captchas on Google Docs, Yahoo Groups, and other sharing sites.  Signing up for Yahoo Groups can be done via email.

Don’t judge anyone’s character or work habits by their facebook profile, aesthetics of their website, or other kinds of detailed work.  A blind person’s profile may not look top notch but may have taken more work than one created by a sighted person.

Before you delve into the details of these two services, you might want to read this popular article:
How to sustain a social media presence in 3 hours a week by Alexandra Samuel

One major purpose of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc is to get people to come to your own or your program’s website.  (not to drive people to their advertisers)

Facebook and Twitter are a lot of people's connection to the Internet in Africa and other poor communities around the world.  They may not have a laptop, but if they can possibly afford it, they'll have a smart phone that connects to FB and Twitter.

Hootswuite is a free management tool for your social media.  It provides a dashboard where you can see details of all your social media, twitter, facebook, wordpress, tumblr and many others.  It provides analytics so you can see what effect you are having.  And, it allows you to schedule your basic postings.   The scheduling saves time.  Using HootSuite (or something like it) simplifies the confusion of social media.  The "pro" version, for an extra $10 a month, gives good value.

You can use Google doc spreadsheet to schedule yr tweets through HootSuite.

-------------YOUR WEBSITE--------------

Some word press themes include an automatic twitter feed.

Automatically reposts your website article to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Blogger, Tumblr, Delicious, Plurk, etc:

This gives your readers the ability to share your article on their favorite social media site with a few clicks. 
These are equally good:
Share bar:
Share this:

Clay has written a particular script for this.   See what it does by scrolling to the bottom of this article on his blog for Radio Cuba Canta:
If this would be useful to you, contact or Clay for the script and directions in how to use it.
Audio and video should be captioned for the deaf.   Let’s get a system and start transcribing our radio programs.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  means making your article or message something that google and other search engines will find and move to a higher ranking.   Google changes its criteria regularly so we don’t know everything they look at but they do pay attention to how many people are reading your article and the ads. 

Google also looks most directly at the first sentences of the article.  If you use a celebrity name, that will get you bumped in the rankings.  For instance: “Helen Hunt is all about people with disabilities in the movie, The Sessions” will get more attention than “Mark O’Brien’s life comes alive in this popular new movie.”   Your first sentence should mirror the main content of the article. Don’t use a sentence like “The iron lung wheezes and, as you enter the room, a man smiles from his place at the end of this large yellow machine.”    (This focus on first sentences leads to some awkward sentences but at the moment it can’t be helped.)

MS Word docs, flash, shockwaves and .pdf's ONLY work if created accessibly.  Don’t use text boxes in Word.  Don’t slap a picture of a flier into a .pdf and expect it to be read.  It's still only a picture of the page, not the words themselves, and optical character recognition must be used to make the translation worth the trouble.  Many people don’t have that capability.  Formatting matters, too. Text is your best friend and most likely to be understood by various people living with disabilities.  Adobe has an accessibility link from which one may learn how to make an accessible .pdf and an accessible website with Flash.

Audio description of videos is important.  A video with various voices can be mystifying if there is nothing non-visual to explain which character is speaking.  Unless captions, lyrics or other text is given, Youtube videos cannot be seen with a screen reader. 

A website picture is a big blank for folks who use screen readers.  Caption your photos and describe them.   Wordpress has a fill in-the-blank area to do this in “Add Media” section.  


There are three ways to have a facebook presence.  As an individual, a page, a group or an event.   Individuals are limited to 1,000 friends.  Pages & groups are allowed unlimited followers/fans.    Pages have metrics to track how many people are looking at your posts and how many are sending them out to others.  You can also find information about what countries people are living in if you look closely at the analytics section.

People will spam Facebook personal pages so be prepared to spend some time moderating.

Facebook ads.   Facebook gives you more attention when you are paying for an ad.  They use some kind of formula for which posts go to the top of the page and how long they stay there.  One of the criteria is how many people are commenting on the post, another is whether the poster has bought an ad.  The cost of an ad is based on the number of “likes” the ad brings you.  Last year, one of our participants agreed to pay facebook 75 cents per “like” for a month and got 5000 new likes.   This year, she paid 10 cents per “like” for a month and got 1000.  The minute the ad ended, her posts disappeared from the top of people’s feeds.

Tagging on Facebook.  This is a fairly new practice.  You “tag” names of friends who you hope will be interested in your post.  This can be annoying to your friends but it can also create a group conversation.  Anyone who comments on any of the facebook pages which holds your post (all the pages of you and your tagged friends) is added to the comments on all the pages.  It’s not clear how screen readers can be used to tag.

The main facebook site is nigh impossible to navigate with a screen reader, so the blind and sight impaired use instead. It used to be that one could replace with and simply copy what came after the trailing slash, but that is not axiomatic.  Check our m.facebook, to “see” what facebook looks like for folks whose eyes don’t see like yours.


Twitter is the ultimate collaborative sport.   You are joining a constant ongoing conversation. Participate.  People follow you for 1) original content, 2) the quality of what you pass on (curate).   Everything is short and quick.

Your success depends on how you chose and respect your followers.

To begin:  Don’t use the “Egg” for yr profile.  It identifies you as a novice.

Invite people to follow you.   Look up people you respect and invite their followers.  Check out the followers of their followers & invite those you find interesting.   Take an afternoon and find 30 people you respect.  Follow them.  Their tweets will arrive on your twitter feed.   

Watch these tweets and retweet 3-4 of each group.

It used to be that everyone followed everyone who followed them.  But that became overwhelming.  Now, you can 1) follow a small group you chose, 2) make your followers into “lists” so you can post and review selectively or 3) follow everyone who follows you.  Use a list for spammers so you never have to see them again.

Use Hootsuite to schedule when your tweets go out so you can tweet regularly without thinking about it too often.  Schedule some to go out in the night to reach international folks.

Keep the message shorter than the absolute maximum.   It will be read and retweeted more often.

When you are tweeting a long link, shrink it at to make more room for words. (There are other free services for this: is one.)

Use hashtags.  Hashtags are a word or phrase that begins with #.  It helps people find your tweet when they are looking for topics or events.  If I tweet about Pushing Limits, I would likely use #disability since that is the main topic of the program.  I would also include @kpfa so that my tweet will show up on KPFA’s twitter account.   Try to include your hashtags in the tweet itself to save on words.

Here’s two recent examples:
  1. From Davey D:  “RT @jasiri_x: RT @DJDSCOTT Django better not win with Mrs. Obama introducing the nominees lol #FLOTUS #OScars2013 
  2. from Democracy Now: Today Marks 1st Anniversary of #Trayvon Martin Killing  See all of our reports:

Use photos. People like photos.  Take a photo of something beautiful in your life and tweet it now and then.  However, a picture produces no words for a screen reader to read. If a picture doesn't have a caption, it might as well not be there for a person with a visual impairment.  If you take a picture of a piece of paper,  it makes the words invisible to someone using a screen reader.  

VINE:  Allows you to tweet 6 sec of video.  It’s a twitter smart phone app that looks promising.

To jumpstart a twitter discussion, one of our participants created two identities and had a discussion with himself.

When you ask people to tweet about an article you’ve written, give them the actual phrase and words.  They aren’t likely to do that part themselves.  Make it easy for them.


To tether a cell phone and a computer, use a data cable and software downloaded from your cell phone carrier.  In Windows XP, the trick is to use Active Sync, a free program from Microsoft.  In Win Vista and higher, the hub is the Sync Center (part of the OS).  The necessary cables generally come with the phones, but can be purchased separately from phone stores or favorite electronics stores.  Talk to your carriers' tech depts if confused. This process could be used to upload video, pics and/or audio to computer for addition to feeds, sites, etc

We didn’t get into this (yet) except to mention it as a way KPFA could have ongoing scrolling “headlines” on the front page of the website.  It would be nice to do it with Pacifica programs and news stories from around the network.


Web browsing in “incognito” or in “private” mode may give you data unaffected by your previous browsing history – as well as allowing you to browse the Internet without saving any information about which sites and pages you’ve visited.
Directions for Firefox:

The most important thing is that NOTHING may be taken for granted. Not the keyboard, not the mouse, not the monitor, not a particular operating platform or piece of software.  Nothing!  Because of this, we want as many doors to this cyber-building as can be contrived without driving everyone nuts. Studying the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) guidelines would be helpful as well as the Telecommunications Act of '96 Sect. 508 federal guidelines. That's where the meat is.

A microblogging platform and social networking website used by younger folks, half the users are under 25.  Likes photos- A Lot.

This article echoes some of the themes of the workshop.
"How My Site Gets Tons of Traffic From Pinterest"
This link was sent to me by Jan Gurley (  Check out her articles on tobacco and the Alameda health department's work in Oakland.):

As we were sitting in the New World Center talking about social media, UPSO Council members David Gans and Tim Lynch were rocking the KPFA Fund drive with social media support for their Grateful Dead day-long program.

Notes by Adrienne

Unpaid Staff Organization Council Members
Shahram Aghamir:
David Gans:
Ann Garrison:
Adrienne Lauby:
Tim Lynch:

Bylaws and grievance procedure:

Notes and other stuff: