Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An overview of Session 2 : Social Media for Social Change

 Social Media for Social Change
This was a panel discussion, which was facilitated
by Dr. Saddiga Al-Ghalib the Dean of Graduate studies and  Scientific research in Effat University. The
Panel included Mr John Smith from Learning Alliances USA, Nazeeh Alothmany
Assistant professor at KAU, Bayan Abuzinadah cofounder of Rumman Company KSA,
Micheal Fast Senior Education Advisor-USA, Mr Ziad Jarrar, Miss Lama Sabri and
Miss Sayeda Zarlish who are students from Effat University.
The panel began by short talk from Dr, Saddiga on
how social media is causing a revolution around the globe. She began by
defining Social Media as a web and mobile tool for sharing information, a kind
of new mass media. Then she gave some facts and figures about the popular sites
like facebook, youtube, twitter, and myspace. Next she presented a few options
and asked that which of these had the most users in the shortest period of
time, interestingly it was iphone which had 1 billion users in 9 months. Next
she listed down some points to be followed in order to be a very active Social
Media user which were to, Listen, Learn, Adapt, Create, Connect, Share and
Care. In conclusion she gave certain tips on how to use Social Media, which
included creating a facebook or myspace or twitter account, so as to voice your
Dr Saddiga was then followed by Miss Bayan
Abuzinadah who is the creater of Destination Jeddah magazine and
which is the first social networking site in Saudi Arabia. She then proceeded
by giving some brief statistics on these social networking sites. One of the
interesting facts told by her was that in Saudi Arabia the most visited
websites included Bulletin boards, which is almost dead in other parts of the
world but still used in Saudi Arabia. After this she concluded by giving out
more details to the which she mentioned was created with the purpose
to connect people with needs to share talents and experiences.
Mr John Smith then overtook her to present a brief
talk on choosing technologies and mixing and matching them, this topic matters
as the Social platform makes up our personality. He based his talk on the
example of video by Joseph who is in Tanzania, and owns a broadcast radio
station. He explains how Joseph uses a tool like Radio and mixes other
technologies like audio recordings, mobile phones to interview farmers and
broadcast their ideas. He focused on the relationship ties and said that a
community is based on strong and weak ties. Through Social Media the ties may
start out to be weak ones, but over time they can develop into strong ties. In
short he said that relationships are what that matters.
Nazeeh Alothmany was the next speaker who based his
experience on Social Media over his personal experiences. He has very
interesting experiences which he enlisted and stressed on the fact that how all
these experiences would have been very un effective without the use of Social
Media. Some of his experiences mainly dealt with educating or informing certain
communities in USA, Pennsylvania about Islam and Saudi Arabia after the
incident of 9/11. They made use of google groups and emails to reach out to
these communities. He concluded by saying that by properly utilizing internet,
a large number of people can be reached out at once to support a cause or any
other think. And he advised to think about the positive things one can do
through social media as it would be very effective.
He was followed by Mr Micheal Fast, who spoke
briefly in defense of Social Medias usage by the teachers to contribute to
education.  As his work is based in
Curriculum assessment in several countries, and based on his work he said that
in order for an effective educational reform there must be tool to support
them. The assessment system built on these systems is very effective. Finally
he spoke a few words on how Social Media can unite teachers around the globe in
understanding their goal better through experiences.
The final speaker was Mr Ziad Jarrar, who in spite
of being a pro to this topic highlighted the cons of it. He mentioned how a
virtual profile created by an individual can be dangerous if not managed
properly. As he says the virtual world has no boundaries no limits and people
do not sense the danger to it. In conclusion he gave the example of wiki leaks
and regarded it as an immoral way of using Social Media. Yet another important
issue he mentions during the discussion was about Cyber-bullying which has
major negative impact.
The topic was then ended by some questions asked by
Dr Saddiga and the audience, which was answered by the panel. Some of the
questions asked were, if social media is like the wild wild west ? Also how can
one maintain the balance in the benefits and harm of Social Media? The
panelists presented their views and opinions on the asked questions.

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