The Egyptian parliamentary elections are infamous for controversy and tension. This time around, it was yet another example of forgery, violence and chaos from the ruling National Democratic Party. However, with social networks and technology where they’re at, these particular elections were the chance for citizen journalism to shine, and that’s precisely what occurred.
I used some basic tools to share my voting experience, here’s how you could do the same:
- Bambuser on Android
Using my Google Nexus One, I’ve broadcasted videos live using Bambuser. Creating an account in Bambuser (or Qik, both almost identical) takes a minute, after which, all you need to do is install the software on your phone, and you’re good to go! One of the advantages of Bambuser is that it recommends a certain resolution and quality based on your connection speed. I hid the phone in my pocket to avoid any problems, although in hindsight, I probably could’ve recorded it all openly. There are many phones supported
Needless to say the micro-blogging giant is the way to go for citizen journalism. I have an active twitter account and therefore already have a base to build on. It is important to stay in the loop with the event’s hash tag (in this case #EgyElections), and notify people ahead of time that you will be broadcasting live. I also have my twitter account linked with Bambuser, therefore a tweet is automatically generated as soon as I start recording
Like twitter, Facebook could be linked to your Bambuser account, which automatically posts the video to your wall when it’s ready. This allows for Likes and comments, which takes engagement to the next level. When you’re finished, you’ll notice that ALL of your videos have been posted, so it’s good practice to remove the one or two that you could do without
- Adobe Premiere (or any video-editing tool)
Another advantage of Bambuser is the ability to download the flv file and use it for simple editing. No need to worry about making it look professional, just focus on making it simple, straight and to-the-point. Dump all of the different videos in the timeline, making them as short as possible, and run through long, tedious moments
When complete, if over 15 minutes in length, it would be too long for a standard YouTube account, in which case Vimeo is a good alternative and highly recommended. Upload your video, filling in the title, description and tags, and you’re ready to roll!
Citizen journalism is not only a privilege, but also a responsibility, especially given how easy it is to document and present your experiences across the different media. My video is quite boring, so I hope you all do a better job!
It is only a matter of time before old-fashioned dictators and their thugs fail to control the population, and the web will be the way in which we will all exchange information and simultaneously mobilize. This is only the beginning, and it’s all uphill from here.