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Friday, 31 October 2014 13:13

OFFLINE GOES ONLINE – SOCIAL MEDIA FOR SOCIAL GOOD

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Social media has sacked regimes and governments; it has taken a product to
the corners of the world, in a phenomenal way that conventional media could
never anticipate. Social media is helping to break barriers, and helping to
create new job patterns of the future.

Wherever you look, offline is going
online. But before the latest technology boom, people like Melinda Gates
would have to fly to the problem to help find a solution. Mrs. Gates tells
www.entrepreneur.com of when she first visited India and realized the
people there shared the same dreams of other people in the world but lacked
the resources and infrastructure to achieve them. Trying to help these
people was time-consuming, as often the initiatives would take longer to
implement than the trip.

Times have changed. While Gates does continue travel to developing
countries under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, she, along with
others, are also using technology to make a difference. In the early days
of Twitter and Facebook, many nonprofits opted to have one person—or a
small team of staff members—manage their social-media communications. But
as the number of social networks has grown and more people have started
using them, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the wealth of options and
ditch your centralized strategy. In fact, it is downright impractical,
according to Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward, co-authors of *Social
Change Anytime, Everywhere: How to Implement Online Multichannel Strategies
to Spark Advocacy, Raise Money, and Engage Your Community*. Ms. Kapin and
Ms. Ward say charities that share online-communications responsibilities
are more likely to reach more people and build deeper relationships with
their supporters through social networks.

It's obvious the rise of social media has allowed for more conversations,
interactions and sharing between people. But it doesn't need to just be
centered around Miley Cyrus's 'Twerking-gate' or cute kitten videos. Now
social entrepreneurs are able to use social media to instigate change. One
example is charity: water's
birthday<http://www.charitywater.org/birthdays/>campaign, where people
can ask friends to donate to clean water, instead of
giving them a gift. Products, applications and services that entrepreneurs
are developing are being utilized across locations. One example Gates laid
out was a mobile app used by people in Nairobi, which allows experts all
over the world to talk to entrepreneurial farmers in developing countries
on how to best harvest crops or best practices for planting vegetables.

Somewhere in Abuja, Nigeria; Blossom Nnodim and her team at #AdoptATweep™ –
Abuja’s foremost and largest offline gathering are strategising on how to
enlarge their event offering – from the number of cycle events, to size of
audience, curricula ­– and their list of sponsors and collaborators. Their
idea is to create a hub where online conversations bring real-life benefits
to citizens, who overtime realize they belong to the same tribes. In 2013,
they curated Mashable’s Social Good Summit in Abuja, being one of the few
independent organizations to concurrently hold the event which was hosted
across the world by UNDP. Their idea of social media is quite unique, as
the strongly encourage offline to go online, then come back offline,
because they say when conversations completely remain online, it encourages
people to live near impossible lives. But returning offline, help people to
return back to earth, and realize that where the impact is most needed, is
offline, than online; social media thus, remain only a tool/platform for
easy, speedy and articulate interaction for the right action for change.

In September of 2012, I traveled 3 hours from Jos to attend the 3rd edition
of #AdoptATweep. It felt very awesome to be applauded to have to come from
that far, to learn how to do more online. By April 2013, I was now living
in Abuja, and was a speaker at the 2nd Edition of 2013, giving a
testimonial of how much #AdoptATweep had impacted my life, as an online
marketer and virtual brand manager. By June, I had joined the team, and we
were rehearsing and shooting the #AdoptATweep video. In December 2013, I
was announced the Operations Lead for #AdoptATweep in 2014. Though it has
been a meteoric rise for me, it’s been a passionate journey for me – a
youth net-worker, seeking for innovative ways to band together people of
same ideological tribes. We surely can no longer take for granted, the
ability of people to migrate from physical cultural tribes to online
ideological tribes. From providing a platform for Yusuf Leinge (
www.yusufleinge.com) to tell his story of advocating increases interest in
education, to young entrepreneurs meeting investors, partners and venture
capitalists at gatherings like #AdoptATweep, going online has never been
taken so seriously.


Kolo Kenneth Kadiri

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