Based on a recent talk I gave trying to convince journalists to use social media positively, effectively and immediately in Nepal.
“I use social media to communicate my message to the world. I am not a journalist in a traditional sense. I am a provoker. I provoke people to change themselves. And when I started this process, I was confused on where to start, and how to reach so many Nepali people all around the world. I did not have any resource, any reputation to begin with nor had I any clue how to do this.
Luckily when I was starting off, along came the social media revolution with its tools, Facebook, Twitter, bit.ly, stumbleupon, Linkedin and various other technology came into existance to help me take my message across at a speed and size I had never imagined .
If you ever wanted to communicate to the masses, you will know how hard is it to get a meaningful response or to measure actions people will take based on what you show, write or talk about. With Social media, it was finally possible to not only communicate your message across, but actually to build it into campaigns, measure the success of it, and keep persistently build momentum till the issue is resolved. Never before has communicating your message been like this: a smooth two way street, where your initiative is built on interaction with others, in realtime and customized and built to change in a small or big enough way.
Facebook is a social media tool. Nearly a billion humans use it (as of 2012). In Nepal 13 lakh (1.3 million) Nepalis already use Facebook. It is amazing that I as one Nepali can probably reach 20,000 Nepalis every-time I post information because of social media. And I am not even a journalist, nor do I own any news media or have direct access to them. How is this possible ?
Through Social media. If a citizen can take advantage of social media where he or she can reach so many people instanteously and engage with them, imagine how much more a journalist can do ? Imagine how much further, and how much more impact you can make as full time journalists who are masters of provoking, inspiring, communicating your message. It is time journalists inNepal woke up to this wonderful opportunity.
So now that I have your attention, here is what I do. I provoke people. I call them to be responsible and start change in themselves first and help transform our Nepali society in the process. How do I do it?
First of all, I carefully lay out what I want to do. either make aware or call to action or both. Then I use the social media tools that my particular audience uses. Many times it is through simply Facebook or Twitter. Here is my philosophy on how to mobilize if you want to read more.
15 years ago, none of us had mobile phones. Now 40% of Nepalis have mobiles. Well that’s nearly half of us. It is mind-boggling. In 5 years all the mobiles we carry will have internet built-in and we will be checking our news through our mobile, more powerful than today’s Apple smart phone iphone. And how will we be reading news? on mobiles and devices like iPad, and through recommendations from friends, and our social circle in general. No more mass-media. Only customized social media.
Social media accelerates this knowledge sharing at a phenomenal level. Do you know the world found out about Osama bin laden’s raid through a twitter post (social media) in real-time (while it was happening) before the news media, tv, print, radio found out. In the modern world time is of essence, and if you want to be the first and impact situations you got to learn to use the simple tool that we call social media.
Lets say Hari Nepali is a journalist in Rautahat and wants to pass important news which needs a proper reaction from the authorities. There is communal disturbances starting. We can approach this the traditional way by going on radio, or television or by newspapers. The question is this enough to deter the increasingly worsening situation. Hari then spreads information about the need for the proper authorities to act before anything untoward happens. This is caught by Hari’s friend like me and you who will share this information in seconds to our friends. In minutes it reaches thousands, in an hour it can reach even a million. The discussion, the feedback and the network it reaches creates a scenario where many will want to act upon this information. Some of us will have friends in the bureaucracy, or the daughter of the president, or the personal assistant to the prime minister or even a local club in Rautahat will be able to group its people together, be helped from people around the world to support their activities they can start right away. Imagine the power that we will have created in a matter of days.
Do you remember Jamuna, a starving girl from Rukum ? A journalist from Kantipur published a photo of her sorry state in mid 2011. She was dying of malnutrition.
When we saw the picture, we posted it on social media network. Immediately Nepalis around the world opened a group, more than a thousand gathered virtually and then raised resources to help her immediately. Social service organizations jumped in. Hospitals decided to help her because doctors working there were linked to friends in Facebook. A photo turned into a campaign and help change our mindset from a spectator to active contributors in our society.
A journalist’s photo with the help of social media changed a girl’s life. Isn’t this beautiful ?”