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 to 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, most non-profits 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’, Ifeoluwa Ojukutu’s false life or “Oga at the top” videos. Now social entrepreneurs are able to use social media to instigate change. One example is charity: water’s birthday 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 strategizing 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 netizens, 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 networker, 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
(Kolo Kenneth Kadiri is a freelance online community engagement manager and Operations Lead at AdoptATweep™, Abuja’s foremost twitter-preneurship trademark. He hopes to become an expert in big data mining and online trends analysis. He tweets via @KoloKennethK and blogs at www.kolokennethk.blogspot.com)
blcompere OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of blcompere as a publication.