Exercise Your Right to Vote: Voter Lookup

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Journal # 13: Finally…Facebook

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Finally…Facebook

 In your journal blog, describe what your Facebook strategy and goals might be. Be as specific as possible. If you would like, you can set up a Facebook group or page for your topic area. 


 

Ah…finally, Facebook.  My buddy, my pal, my go-to social network.  Does that make me old?  Out of touch with the youth?  Boring?  I don’t think so.  In my experience on Facebook, I have been able to reach out to thousands of college students in order to organize liberty groups across the states of Tennessee and Mississippi as well as make connections with thousands of liberty-minded people and organizations.  These connections have afforded me some amazing opportunities and I hope that there will be more to come.  I’ve found that reaching people on Facebook is easy.  Almost everybody has a profile and even if they don’t “use” Facebook as often as others, they check their news feed and inbox semi-regularly.

My personal Facebook strategy started long before my “topic” blog Facebook strategy – in fact, long before my “topic” blog was even a thought.  As a member of the Liberty movement and someone who works in political consulting and grassroots activism/organizing, I am my own brand on Facebook.  The majority of my Facebook time is filled with sharing relevant liberty movement memes, updates, news stories, events, and the like.  The other percent of my time on Facebook is spent catching up with family and friends – and those people who used to be friends or attended high school, church, or something similar at the same time I did.  I find Facebook to serve many purposes in my life.  I use it to make connections, to find people who are liberty-minded college students in order to reach out to them about joining the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at their school, to organize and advertise liberty relevant events, to beg people to participate in phone banking, sign waving, or Get Out the Vote campaigns or to volunteer on a campaign, to arrange meetings with those at campuses and in cities across the state to talk with them about student chapters, adult groups, campaign, and anything else.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 3.36.06 PMAs part of my personal branding strategy, over two years ago I created a Facebook page called Tennessee and Mississippi Leadership in order to have a more consolidated way to share information relevant to the Liberty movement in Tennessee and Mississippi.   Since then, I have shared at least 2 pieces of relevant information each day – sometimes a lot more– in order to maintain a constant flow of information and engagement with my audience.   By monitoring this page’s metrics, I know that I have a decent reach and engagement as well as a supportive audience.   However, my audience isn’t one that comments on posts unless it is to argue with me or another person.  So, for the liberty-minded, it seems that sharing and reach are the metrics I should continually monitor.    I can also tell that a good number of my blog audience has come from publicizing my posts on Facebook and on my Facebook Page(s).

Here are a few screenshots of my Tennessee and Mississippi Leadership page:

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Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 3.52.51 PMIn addition to that page, I am also the admin for the Young Americans for Liberty at Memphis Page, the Shelby County for Ron Paul Page, the Tennesseans for Liberty of Shelby County Page, and one of the admins for the Libertarian Party of Tennessee Page and the Campaign for Liberty –Shelby County Page.  Although, I used to have time to constantly update and monitor these pages as well as the many groups I am an admin of, admittedly I have just not had the time to keep up lately.  In the future, I would like to work on my reach and engagement through sharing a bit more as well as continuously post relevant information on my Tennessee and Mississippi Leadership Page.

I would also like to have more time to develop the Young Americans for Liberty at the University of Memphis  and hopefully, find a student who has the time, ability, and passion to take over as President of that student organization because god knows that I do not right now.

Here are a few screenshots of my reach and engagement for the uneventful past week on Tennessee and Mississippi Leadership:

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Other than that, my strategy is to keep on keepin’ on.

And since we’re on the topic of Facebook, here is a great blog post about why Sarah Elahi loves Facebook (sort of).  It’s quite witty and I agree with her, down to the bit about the creepy stalkers.  Yes, I said creepy stalkers.  Find out what I’m talking about by reading it for yourself.


UPDATE:  While I am on the topic of Facebook and seriously cool stuff, I wanted to share an amazing analytic software for your personal facebook page with you all.  Okay, so maybe i just nerded out over some analytics but I found it quite awesome.  Check out  Wolfram|Alpha so that you can see all the neat statistics, metrics, and wicked cool information it collects from your profile.  It even gives you a nifty little “report.”  Oh and did I mention there are pictures and charts too?  The best part?  IT’s FREE!!  Check it out!  Below is a slideshow of my report.

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Photo365 Challenge – Day 68

Video

Today’s Photo365 Challenge is a movie made for

tn liberty – “where the liberty-minded go for news” titled:

What Liberty Means: tn liberty

“One state defies the status quo and embarks on the fight for liberty” 

In What Liberty Means: tn liberty, activists share their personal meaning of liberty before tn liberty takes you behind the scenes for a firsthand look at the grassroots movement in Tennessee.

 

 

Don’t forget to check out tn liberty on the web at:  tn liberty.   In Tennessee, it’s “where the liberty-minded go for news” and where you can get information about how to get involved in upcoming events.

You can also “like” us on Facebook at: Tennessee and Mississippi Leadership
Here, you can get up-to-the-minute reports on everything affecting the liberty of all those who reside in Tennessee and Mississippi.

Make sure you share “What Liberty Means: tn liberty with all of your friends, family, and co-workers — liberty is in all of us and the movement is constantly growing as people wake up!

We also wouldn’t mind if you gave a thumbs up on this video on YouTube!  Go ahead, you know you want to make liberty popular!

All copyrighted material is used under 17 U.S.C. § 107, the Fair Use provision of the US Copyright Law for educational, nonprofit, or political commentary purposes.


Don’t forget to come back everyday during this Photo365 Challenge in order to see more of our crazy life!



Journal #8: Reflections of a Picture Taker & a Movie Maker

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Reflections of  a Picture Taker & Movie Maker

film-and-video

 

Personal reflection on your experiences creating and sharing the video should include thoughts on: How can you continue to use video to enhance your blog?  How do you think professionals in your future desired career – journalism, public relations, advertising, or any other could best utilize these sites? 

In reflecting on the blog on your experiences this week, consider: What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the sites you’ve used for your topic area? How can you use photos going forward as semester continues to enhance your blog or website?  How do you think professionals in your future desired career – journalism, public relations, advertising, or any other –  could utilize these sites productively? 

 

Due to how these two assignments are related, I decided to combine them and share my experiences on both in one nifty neat little blog post.

Creating a video for “tn liberty” was an interesting undertaking, to say the least.  In the beginning, I wasn’t sure exactly which route to go.  If I had been creating a video for this blog, I would have gone the funny route or the “a day in the life of” route – something that shows my personality.  However, I was creating a video for “tn liberty,” a topic that is rather hard to define and even harder to show when put on the spot.  It’s not like I can head out the front door and take a few photos or shoot some footage of “tn liberty.”  It’s not a bird, a plane, a particular event, or even something easily defined.  It’s a movement. It’s a cause.  It’s a passion.  So how do you visually represent a movement, cause, or a passion.  My first thought was an event but seeing as it isn’t campaign season and I’m a busy little bee I didn’t have many options, here in Memphis, from which to choose.  Then I realized that most indoor events are in a room at Jason’s Deli with beige walls and many people who attend those events are not all that excited about having their picture taken.  Libertarians can be a bit odd and most aren’t exactly the #selfie taking type. Apparently, I’m an odd duck every where I go.

For the video, I finally decided on asking members of the Liberty Movement and contacts that I have made to explain in a short sentence or phrase What Liberty Means to them.  For those who were not located in the Memphis area, I asked that they use their computers or phones to record themselves and email me the footage.  It took a bit of begging but in the end, I had numerous clips from which to work.  I realized that I also had footage from various events such as campaign rallies, protests, and other types of activism that I had taken in the past couple of years during my extensive travels across the state of Tennessee and that I could document the Tennessee Liberty Movement in a short movie.

As I began to edit the clips and footage, I realized I had embarked on a HUGE project and once I was in the middle of it, there was no turning back.  I had to make the mini-documentary as awesome as possible no matter how many hours it took.  And by hours – I mean days and days.  Next, came the technical difficulties.  My MacBook Pro is a very full Mac and even with a 3T external hard drive for all my files, the programs and necessities stores on the computer leave very little room for any temp files created by iMovie.  As I was nearing the end of a 30+ hour editing session and could see the light at the end of the tunnel, my computer told me it was full.  I moved a few things to the hard drive and added another transition to the movie.  Again, my Mac was full.  This process of moving, trashing, and adding went on for another hour or so and I finally closed iMovie and decided to rid my computer of all secondary and tertiary files of old emails (WHY does the computer keep multiple copies of emails from days of yore?) and duplicates of all my music (again, WHY does the computer and iTunes make copies of every file you add?).  Finally, I had 30Gb of space available and that was enough to complete the video.  Thank God!!

I completed the video, uploaded it to YouTube, embedded in to my topic blog, “tn liberty,” and then immediately began sharing it on every Facebook page of which I am an admin, in every Facebook group of which I am a member, by tweeting it on Twitter, and by begging everyone I knew to share it.  Within one day of posting the video and sharing like a mad woman, I realized that I had gained hundreds of new followers on my Facebook page “Tennessee and Mississippi Leadership” and on “tn liberty,” as well as almost 200 views on YouTube.  I had even gained a few new followers on this blog.  As it stands today, the video has approximately 230 views on YouTube.

Next, I had to figure out what I was going to do about the pictures assignment.  Capturing “tn liberty” was hard enough with video – how the heck was I going to capture its essence in a still???  So, I actually decided that I would go 2 routes.

First, I was going to take the end of the video I had just made (What Liberty Means) and turn the final section entitled “Faces of Liberty” into a series.  I would cut “picture” portion of the video (I put a ton of pictures of people in the movement holding up campaign signs, at events, protesting, and the like at the end of the video in a slideshow-esque montage.)  Most of these pictures were ones I had taken during the past two years and some were pictures that other liberty movement friends had given me.  I now had several 30 second slideshow montages of “tn liberty” and added the first one to my topic blog.  Due to the lack of time, I didn’t promote it all that well.  It only has like 10 views on YouTube.  However, there is always time to promote it later and I’m sure it’ll gain a great response.

Next, I realized that throughout my travels I had taken an extraordinary amount of tn landscape pictures.  I have always said that nothing shows liberty quite like a beautiful mountaintop or bubbling brook in Tennessee.  I created another series – this time just stills – called “Landscapes of Liberty” and placed it on “tn liberty” with a call for followers to send me pictures they had taken of TN landscapes.  I also created a TN Liberty Flickr account and posted them there, with the hopes of adding to that as time goes on.  Fingers crossed that I can get another job traveling the state of TN and organizing groups in the Liberty Movement!!

To conclude, I feel that moving forward, including pictures and videos in posts on this blog and on my topic blog is extremely important.  People like pictures and people like movies.  It’s a given.  It also adds relevance to your topic and can show a “behind the scenes” look at events that I may be privy to and others aren’t.  In addition, it can show the non-liberty movement people that we are human and normal – it gives your site a personal touch.  I can say that the next video will be much shorter and less complicated.  What Liberty Means is a once every couple of years type project!!  In the future, I will also start to share the “Faces of Liberty” and “Landscapes of Liberty” series in hopes of gaining new followers and gathering new pictures from others.

Journal # 3 – Topic Blog Influencers

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Topic Blog Influencers

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“Develop a list of at LEAST three other blogs or Web sites that meaningfully address your topic of interest.  For professionals, a blog is often a “hub” for other social media activity occurring around the web. Summarize and evaluate some of the key features of each blog or site using bullet points on your journal blog.

Answer all of the following questions: What kind of problem do these websites/blogs help solve for their audience and/or what needs do they fulfill? What do they do well? What could they improve? Can you identify any gaps in their content or features that a competitor could fill, and how is what you could offer different or better? Look at their social media presence and the comments or interaction they get: Are they cultivating an active community around their site?”


My Topic Blog, TN Liberty, is a forum in which to share information about news, events, politics, and laws concerning our state. All conservative and liberty-minded activists, students, campus and community leaders, and voters, are encouraged to contribute. TN Liberty, is also a location for resources concerning bills up for approval, TN Congressional representative’s contact information, statewide and county events, activism advice, mentorship, and grassroots training, among other issues as needed and requested. TN Liberty serves as an extension of the TN and MS Leadership page on Facebook and may ultimately be followed with a MS Liberty blog. There are contributing writers on topics concerning the Liberty Movement in Tennessee, liberty-minded issues, and various opinion columns.

For this assignment I started by searching for other bloggers who are advancing the liberty movement. I found that many of these sites were highly specialized and a little on the fringe. That is not the type of blog that I want TN Liberty to be. I feel that it should be specialized by pertaining to the state of Tennessee, but it should also contain information about why the Liberty Movement is so important, how our government is violating the Constitution, and what actions a citizen, can take to advocate for Liberty and Freedom.

Next, I found an interesting site that ranked the top libertarian leaning (or liberty-minded so as not to be confused with the Libertarian Party) websites according to Alexa and Compete.

Here I settled on several top ranking and well-known liberty-minded sites to which I could make some comparisons.

They are as follows:

Reason

The Liberty Paper

The Liberty Crier


Let’s start with Reason.

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  • Reason is the monthly print magazine of ‘free minds and free markets.'”
  • “It covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews.”
  • Reason provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity.”
  • Reason.com is updated daily with articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture. It also contains the full text of past issues of the print edition of Reason.”
  • At first glance, reason.com looks a little messy in terms of visual appearance.  A little cluttered and although I understand that this is because the site’s home page is the first stop for ReasonTV, Reason24/7, the Hit & Run Blog, and stories from the printed magazine, as well as the location for Top News Stories (sortable by Featured and New) and a lot of advertisements.
  • Reason is financially backed by a national non-profit and thus, has the ability to aggregate thousands of news stories as well as employ a staff of over 50 for the website.  However, I believe they could significantly improve their website by maximizing the white space and uncluttering the articles.  It could look much cleaner.  Once you click on the headings for the different sites within the site, they pages get a bit cleaner and more visually appealing.
  • TN Liberty is a more more localized blog/site and will not need to run every single news story and headline that potentially has anything to do with liberty or liberty politics.
  • Reason does enjoy a fabulous social media presence with stories and photos shared through their Facebook  page and on their Twitter each day.  On Twitter, Reason has over 130K followers and on Facebook, over 125K likes.

Next, we examine The Liberty Paper:

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  • The Liberty Paper  is a web-based news site commentating and reporting on legislation and events, which affect the American peoples’ liberty domestic and abroad.”
  • The Liberty Paper was launched in the summer of 2012, by political commentator and legislative lobbyist, Michael Lotfi.”
  • “To date, TheLibertyPaper.org has enjoyed an ever-growing, loyal fan base, which has generated hundreds of thousands of readers in more than 140 countries around the world.”
  •  TheLibertyPaper.org is updated only semi-regularly with articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture. If you look at the current home page, you will see that the most recent article posted is from January 27th, 2014.
  • TheLibertyPaper.org is also riddled with advertisements and donate here boxes.  I understand why Michael Lofti would choose to accept advertising and donations – hopefully, someday soon, the TN Liberty blog will also accept advertisements and donations.  However, I feel the visual esthetics of the site could be cleaner and the ad placements more controlled.
  • TheLibertyPaper.org is run by a friend of mine.  He is a recent graduate of Belmont College in Nashville, TN and a well-known activist in the state.  However, I have mixed opinions of his work, his self-promotion, and his ability as a journalist.  Each story is riddled with grammatical errors to say the least.  He was also given a column at the Washington Post.  On his first article, there were complications and the post was ultimately removed due to his lack of due diligence and his reporting false information.
  • TN Liberty is will certainly provide a more grammatically correct site as well as one that is more visually appealing.  However, it will not focus as heavily on National stories and investigative muckracking.  I hope to provide a forum in which concerned residents of the state can ask for advice as well as receive news – especially that which is most pertinent to their area.
  • TheLibertyPaper.org does have a social media presence with stories and photos shared through their Facebook  page and but no Twitter as far as I can find.   On Facebook, it has just a little over 4K likes.

Finally, let’s take a look at The Liberty Crier:

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  •  The Liberty Crier is updated daily with articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture. If you look at the current home page, you will see that the a rotating Top Story Box
  • The Liberty Crier is a very visually appealing blog sites with a lot of features.  The masthead is clean and displayed prominently.

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  • Some other interesting aspects that The Liberty Crier features are categories for:

1. Top Headlines

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2.  Member Blog Posts

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3.  Documentaries

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4.  Channels

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  •  The Liberty Crier seems a bit lacking in their social media presence with their Twitter receiving only 1200 followers.  Their Facebook page has only 8.9K likes.  This seems rather odd to me because it is not being a new website.
  •  I envision the TN Liberty blog looking closer to this blog/site than any of the others in this review/comparison.  I also plan to add a forum for discussions among Tennessee residents and allow for contributing writers as well.  The main difference will be that TN Liberty will be localized plus – it will have a much bigger social media presence.


Journal # 2 – The Topic Blog

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The Topic Blog

“Choose a topic of focus for this class, or what journalists might call a “beat.” It is VERY IMPORTANT to choose wisely, so put some serious thought into this. Choose a subject you are interested in and passionate about, personally or professionally. This could be anything from bowling to city/county school consolidation to local bakeries to the Memphis hip hop scene to the aviation industry to a particular company, industry or cause you are interested in promoting and/or understanding. Consider your post graduation goals, but be sure you genuinely care about the subject. It will be critical for you to narrow your topic as much as possible.

“Choose a topic of focus for this class, or what journalists might call a “beat.” It is VERY IMPORTANT to choose wisely, so put some serious thought into this. Choose a subject you are interested in and passionate about, personally or professionally. This could be anything from bowling to city/county school consolidation to local bakeries to the Memphis hip hop scene to the aviation industry to a particular company, industry or cause you are interested in promoting and/or understanding. Consider your post graduation goals, but be sure you genuinely care about the subject. It will be critical for you to narrow your topic as much as possible.

Anybody can “use Twitter” or “use Facebook” – it is technologically very easy to do. The trick is to use it productively when you have a specific professional goal. One of your goals will be to develop your ability to create interesting and informative content around a particular subject. But a bigger goal will be your ability to cultivate a community around this topic, to listen to what others have to say and engage your audience.

Write up a short description of this topic of focus or beat on your journal blog. Be as clear and specific as possible.”

 

My Topic Blog will be titled TN Libertyand will be a forum in which to share information about news, events, politics, and laws concerning the state of TN. All conservative and liberty-minded activists, students, campus and community leaders, and voters, will be encouraged to contribute.

TN Libertywill also be a location for resources concerning bills up for approval, TN Congressional representative’s contact information, statewide and county events, activism advice, mentorship, and grassroots training, among other issues as needed and requested.  TN Liberty will serve as an extension of the TN and MS Leadership page on Facebook and may ultimately be followed with a MS Liberty blog.