Tag Archives: crisis mapping

Building A Narrative – How to tell a story?

With all the training and effort it takes to research and write a good cogent story, I felt conflicted when I was asked to pull together several tweets into a more complete story.  With so many bits of information how could I do that?

Enter Storify, a tool that can compile tweets and other materials into a cohesive story, like this.  My efforts have not been as polished, but then I learned that you can embed videos like in this example (which is also the topic of an earlier blog post).

My problem with compiling these tweets and other elements is that to be readable, you have to write some connecting bits.  It’s not bad, but otherwise there’s little direction to the story.

As with any story, no matter the type, there needs to be a goal in mind.  “What is the point?”, and “Who cares?” are important questions to keep in mind as you create the storify.  Otherwise you can lose direction.

Even larger organizations are using this tool, like the UN  and others. But one of the most important uses, from a Conflict Resolution perspective, is how crises can be addressed, like the Typhoon.  Overall though, any curating-type software can use social media information to build a narrative, like these tips suggest.

On a lighter note, educators can and have been using this for a host of reasons.

So as we all go off to enjoy this holiday season, realize that for fun or work, or whatever, you can take all your tweets, Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube entries and build readable,  narrative.  Just be aware of some of the pitfalls.

What do you think?

Studying Peace – Hands on?

Next term is my last in the NECR Program here at Columbia, assuming it all goes well.  And as I gear up for my Capstones, that also seems to have me looking at alternatives and playing “what if.”

“What if I want to learn about Peace, or Conflict Resolution but don’t want (or can’t) to do all the work?”

I was thinking about this (yes really, and it might have to do with working on final papers…) riding the subway from school, and realized there are alternatives.  Sure there are certificate courses that can add value to existing degrees, like the one here on Human Rights this summer.  But what about other approaches?

There is this, an online peace building course based in Washington, DC.  Looks pretty good, right?  It’s a beta-test which is why it’s free for now, but it still seems interesting.

For the more determined peace-keeper there’s this institute that has several courses for the United Nations.  Some seem pretty intriguing, and many are online.

Online.  Peace. Peace Studies. Conflict Resolution.  Online.

For me that all seems a little odd, doesn’t it?  Don’t get me wrong, I like online, after all that’s how I’m writing this Blog.  But shouldn’t conflict resolution and peace studies deal with people?  I think so.

Ok, so I’m airing a bias here and perhaps I’m too old-school, but I believe that if you’re going to engage with conflicts and peace in any way, you have to engage with the people involved.

And that can be hard to do through a computer screen.

Computers are great, I love mine, and was amazed at the power of crisis mapping that was the focus of a class we had  as part of my Conflict & Social Networks course (see post on Typhoon Haiyan).  None of that powerful life-changing help can be done without a computer, and it saves lives.

But at some point, I feel one has to be on the ground, breathing the air, shaking hands and being face-to-face with those involved.

If we don’t know who parties to a conflict are, or what they deal with and experience, how can we have a dialogue or help in any meaningful, lasting way?

What do you think?