Processing Greenbelt 2009

While We Were Here newspaper front page

We did, in fact, make a newspaper. The hour or so after my last post were more than a little stressful, but the results (a few typos and a printing hiccup that most certainly wasn’t our fault) more than made up for it.

And the response has been wonderful. Thousands of people now have our little artifact as a souvenir of a wonderful weekend, numerous conversations about post-digital concepts and the like ensued, people tell me they’re exploring the URLs we printed, and we might get to do something like it again. There’s talk of a supplement for our next Sunday paper. Matt and I even got a mention in the Church Times!

I may expound on the way the ideas came together and spilled out another time.

(thanks again to James Governor, Ed Gemmell and Hewlett Packard for making this happen)

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the activities my team got up to at Greenbelt this year was, as Steve kept pointing out, that we did a lot more with less. Certainly we didn’t bombard qik with videos in last year’s fashion. I took a lot less photos. The tweets were fewer and further between. But our reach goes further, our skills are (a little) more developed and we were able to be more selective in how we played with the tools.

The 2008 festival was essential for us to see how our “social media” tools worked when we were sat in a field for a few days. As I noted at the time, there’s a lot of complexity in effectively covering and communicating an event on this scale and you need a team with diverse strengths. This year I once again ended up spending most of my time as a runner/co-ordinator, able to organise passes, manage some communications and tie it all together, with the aim to free up the rest of the team to play to their strengths and produce the raw material.

It was also very noticeable how much the tools have matured in the past year. Even in August 2008 there was some fiddling to do to ensure everyone had 3G sims and to download the right software. A year on, the underlying technology hadn’t changed much, but there was a far greater degree of comfort and we all arrived on site fully equipped. For me, having the facility to capture and share video and audio from my iPhone saved a lot of hassle — no more switching devices or fighting the Nokia N82’s abysmal UI.

There’s plenty more to do. The newspaper brought a lot of new people to the content, as did a new festival homepage that functioned as an aggregator, but it also demonstrated to us that we’ve got a lot further to go in raising the profile of all this content even amongst festivalgoers who are clued up about the technologies but may not be immersed in our attempts to communicate what we’re doing.

If you want to catch up, you can find it all spread around AudioBoo, Qik, Flickr, and the like. You can download a PDF of the paper here. And you can see Jenny Brown‘s team’s excellent videos on the Greenbelt site. I also wrote a little on the Ket Lai site.

And in case you’re wondering why we do all this each year, Jenny and Steve’s chat on AudioBoo is well worth a listen:


Tags: , , , ,

1 comment

  1. […] keeping busy. Not only can you now see the price list for Newspaper Club (want to make a newspaper like we did at Greenbelt? Newspaper Club should be your first port of call) but you can also read about the fun they had […]