Vojo Community Call – Placing Vojo content on your sites using RSS feeds

We had our second Vojo Community Call on Tues Oct 16. The agenda included introductions from 3 of our community groups and a hands-on demonstration of how to locate feed addresses for Vojo groups and Vojo tags. We followed that with a screenshared demo of how these feeds can be integrated into Drupal’s native RSS feed aggregator and a WordPress plugin that we have found works well with Vojo feeds. The following is a recap of the introductions and some of the call activities.

For more info about this call:

Community Introductions
Liz Everson introduced the Incourage Community Foundation, http://incouragecf.org/, in Wisconsin Rapids. We’re located in central Wisconsin where Incourage is a place-based community foundation. For a century our community’s image has been tied to papermaking. The industry along with our community was hit hard, where nearly 40% of our labor force lost their jobs. In the wake of that, the culture and story of our community has been damaged. We’re hoping Vojo (i.e. Courage Reports, http://vojo.co/en/courage-reports) will empower residents to share the good stories of our greater area and in the end change the tone in this community to one of celebration. People are our greatest asset, hopefully Vojo will be one tool that will help us celebrate that.

Clodagh Drummey and Sean Effel introduced CCTV, cctvcambridge.org. CCTV serves Cambridge MA, operating 3 cable channels working with communities to create content about their experience living in Cambridge. CCTV used Vojo during Park(ing) Day to capture person-on-the-street interviews as people walked by the outdoor television studio the CCTV team created in a parking space outside of their building. The team asked people walking by to contribute comments about what they would like to see in Central Square in the next 10 years and explained to people how to use Vojo. Some people contributed suggestions as they passed by and some did so on their own after leaving the parking space. For more info, see Denise Cheng’s blog post about this event. The Youth Media CCTV will also be using Vojo to interview first time voters in November. 

Michael Premo & Rachel Falcone introduced Housing Is a Human Right, http://housingisahumanright.org/, a creative storytelling project that creates space for people to share stories about the meaning of home and struggling to maintain a home. Housing is a Human Right works in many media including audio/radio, writing, photography, and installations. They have been using toll free 888 number to solicit stories from people who do not have internet access and they have been looking for ways to solicit feedback from people without internet access. Some story prompts they use are in regards to how people define “home” and those types of spaces. Vojo gives us the potential to get that type of feedback and keep it on digital spaces. We work in places that often do not have broadband, so Vojo can bring new possibilities for engaging people for the project

Hands on with RSS
We reviewed how 2 groups are using RSS feeds – CCTV who included Vojo stories on their Drupal site and the Question Campaign who are including Vojo stories on their WordPress site.

CCTV used a Tag Feed to incorporate the stories from Park(ing) day onto their Drupal website here: http://www.cctvcambridge.org/parkingday.

CCTV’s site displaying Vojo RSS feed.

Vojo stories with tag “parkingday”

How they did it:

  • The CCTV team asked people to tag stories with “#Parkingday”
  • This created a set of stories from the event: http://vojo.co/en/category/tags/parkingday
  • They then click on the orange icon to get the RSS feed link for this set of tagged stories
  • They then enter this into Drupal’s built in feed aggregator which reads the feed and posts the content on CCTV’s site: http://www.cctvcambridge.org/parkingday

The Question Campaign is using a Group Feed to include stories from Vojo onto their WordPress website here: http://21dayscambridge.org/Newest-Questions/.

21dayscambridge.org site displaying Vojo stories from 21days group using an RSS feed.

21 Days group on Vojo

How they are doing this:

Questions Issues, next calls
For CCTV, The Question Campaign, and groups on the call, questions about how RSS feeds are formatted and how site administrators can format these to display the multimedia elements of stories came up.

CCTV explained that our current feed format uses enclosures which are not well-understood by the built-in feed reader in Drupal and that the work of formatting the feed so that it appear with their desired design and layout was much more than a basic task. Liz and InCourage Community Foundation will be using feeds with custom design and so may be working on similar tasks as they incorporate Vojo stories into their site.

CCTV also explained that, since there currently is no way for people to tag audio posts as they make them, CCTV team members had to manually tag audio posts.

Premo and Rachel explained that Housing is a Human Right values a rich multimedia experience and that they will want to incorporate multimedia elements from Vojo into their site where they republish content.

Notes on facilitation:
The Hands-on section was more watching than practicing. If we work with feeds again, we’ll create exercises that people can practice. Possible options are to have people practice on a development site — a site used for trying out new features and content that is not our public-facing and well-finished sites.

We need to make sure to capture contact info for everyone who joins!