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Digital Doorstepping Done Right

CareSpace logoTwo years ago, there was some debate about the ethics of digital doorstepping – the practice of media diving into blogs or social networks looking for quotes and interviewees for their stories, particularity in the aftermath of a tragedy. This morning, in a meeting with some folks from Community Care, our title for social workers, I was interested in seeing an example of digital doorstepping done, as far as I can see, right.

A poster on the CareSpace forums started asking if any social workers in the Doncaster area though the recent stories about social work there were justified. Community Care asked anyone who wanted to share their experiences annonymously to do so, and they did just that.

And that caught the attention of the mainstream media, with ITN diving in, followed by the BBC.

The story appeared on the BBC website this morning (although, with no mention of Community Care or CareSpace. Tsk.)

Why is this digital doorstepping done right? Well, in this instance, the people involved were actually looking for publicity. They weren’t the shocked victims of a crime seeing their quasi-private space violated. The BBC poster clearly signed up as themselves, giving their name as well as the company, humanising the approach a little. And they didn’t just lift testimony, they solicited contact.

Slowly, we learn…

When The Rain Falls, People Write

One of the ways that blogging complements traditional news is the way it can give you a real insight into the reality of people’s experience. Take this story of a farm being submerged by the deluge of the last couple of days, which I picked up while doing the rounds of our blogs.

It doesn’t take much effort to find multiple examples of eyewitness accounts. In light of the fallout around the “digital doorstepping” business around Virginia Tech, just republishing these accounts would be an error, but providing links to eyewitness accounts and experiences much be a vlaubale addition for readers for very little journalistic time.