From a participant’s view

Mid May I was doing social reporting. I was assisting the social reporting team of a Gender workshop by writing a series of blog posts. It was fun and stimulating. The reporting included blog posts in form of texts, drawings, photo gallery, short videos with interviews and testimonials. About 6 participants volunteered, the group was led by one full time reporter coordinating the process and guiding the reporters.

Social Reporting is a way of reflecting and recording observations, stories and insights from workshops or face to face meetings collectively and sharing these records within the workshop and with a wider public (see for a good introduction the site of Learning & Networking of SDC).

How about my experience as social reporter?

Being a reporter made me:

  • listen deeply: during presentations I took notes to summarise the key messages. Moreover my reporter role made me listen to other participants’ reflections and ideas. I tried to grasp their thinking. I followed their train of thoughts and included their perspectives into my posts.
  • draw my mental images expressing what I or other participants judged as important. The visualisations (drawings on my iPad) were again conversational gambit.
  • deliberate ideas and ask new questions, by going over the notes I was digging into the topics once more. Being in the role of the social reporter deepened definitely my own reflection.

No doubt the role of the social reporter is the one of a listener, observer, interviewer, photographer, illustrator – definitely an active one. I still have the parts of the workshop where I was assigned for the reporting very lively in my memory. I was in an alert state of mind concentrating to translate my observations and thinking into short blog posts. The workshop became an experience.

So what?

How is social reporting adding value for the workshop participants or is it only work (while others chat behind a drink, the reporters are still busy finalising and uploading posts)?

  • Engaged participants: Participants contributing to the workshop’s report are active and engaged. Reporting is rewarding and satisfying and gives the feeling of having accomplished something.
  • Multiplied discussions: The reporters swirling around contribute to keep the discussions going in the breaks and after the sessions.
  • Visible memory: The social report leaves a lasting visible memory on the Internet and participants and organisers can refer to it for further work. The back to office report is easily compiled with the available written material.

Did you experience social reporting? What did you get out of it?