Effective Social Media Use for Development Training
Social media has greatly changed the media environment by allowing spontaneous and timeous dissemination of information, granting people voices to express themselves, share views, opinions, pictures and connect regardless of geographical areas. Social Media also allows for a two way communication, where readers can easily give feedback to the content originators, unlike the traditional media, where communication is a one-way process.
This sudden change of the media terrain is key, especially for the civil society and social movements, as, unlike before, activists and the ordinary citizens now have the ability to act and enact change within their own communities through use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ amongst many others.
Through these platforms, citizens and community activists can have their voice on issues that are important to them heard, defend and safeguard their rights, have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their lives, thereby amplifying advocacy efforts by potentially reaching more people, in more places, faster than ever before.
In Zimbabwe, however, the use of social media has been mainly limited to connecting with friends and family, with limited use for of the platforms for social change. As the governemnet has not yet banned the use of social media in the country, there lies a big opportunity for activists and the general citizenry to use these platforms to effect change as they demand.
Where activists have tried to use social media for social change, there has been very little success due to lack of the necessary skills to effectively use these brilliant platforms, since effective social media for social change is different from everyday updating of social media statuses.