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Venezuela: Twitter Handbook Focuses on Citizen Election Coverage

This post is part of our special coverage Venezuela Elections 2012.

Reporte Ya (@reporteya) [es], a training initiative by Foundation Miguel Otero Silva, has released a handbook focusing on the use of Twitter for citizen reporting during the upcoming presidential election in Venezuela on October 7, 2012.

The handbook is available online, in PDF format [es], on the website of newspaper El Nacional. The handbook –written by journalist, blogger, and Global Voices contributor Luis Carlos Díaz– states:

El día de la elección, las redes sociales serán el reflejo de nuestro espíritu participativo, pero también servirán para tener registro de lo que ocurra en casi todos los rincones del país. Por eso es importante contar con algunos criterios para hacer cobertura y seguimiento de las elecciones. El objetivo de este manual es brindar algunas premisas para reducir el ruido y los rumores, producir información confiable y conectarnos en redes para la reportería ciudadana.

On election day, social networks will reflect our spirit of participation, but they will also serve to record what happens in almost every corner of the country. Therefore, it is important to have some criteria to cover and follow the elections. The objective of this handbook is to present some premises to reduce noise and rumors, to produce reliable information, and to connect with each other through networks for citizen reporting.

Twitter handbook for citizen electoral reporting

Twitter handbook for citizen election coverage

The handbook focuses on key questions like, “Why will we use Twitter?”, “How do I upload photos/videos to Twitter?”, “How do I monitor information during the election?”, “How do we avoid rumors?”, and more.

It also instructs citizen reporters in case of communication failure, listing three possible scenarios: a collapse of mobile networks, a collapse of the Twitter platform, and a blocking of Internet access.

To answer the question “What hashtag will we use?”, the handbook recommends using #7O or #EleccionesVE, “although they will change throughout the day depending on discussions and reactions from Twitter users to the electoral events.”

For more tips on how to cover the elections, check out “Tips for monitoring” [es] by Sabrina Segovia in El Nacional.

This post is part of our special coverage Venezuela Elections 2012.

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