Category Archives: social media

Can social media help unite Nepal?

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Nepal is not poor. It is just poorly managed. And to manage it better, Nepalese are finally getting a unique kind of help that comes in the form of “social media”. This time we citizens have a powerful ally.

This ally is an amplifier. It is neutral. it’s free. In-fact it is inexhaustible and almost indestructible. It makes every citizen have his/her own media.

This ally is ‘social media’. With social media’s help Nepalese are uniting resources, knowledge and action to build a prosperous nation within our lifetime.

So what is Social media, you may ask? Simply it is the use of Internet and mobile technologies to help you communicate simultaneously and interactively with millions!

Here is what I mean. In the old days, to talk or to seek help or to do business with someone you had to go and knock on their doors. Now our technology has reached a point where while sitting in our bedroom, we can actually knock on thousands of doors simultaneously!

In other words, social media makes it possible for you to have communication with tens of thousands at the same time! It exponentially expands your network from hundreds to tens of thousands. It actually strengthens our reach, our impact and our visibility.

Social media has opened uncountable ways for us in Nepal to finally help unite fellow citizens out of the chaos we inherited and into the prosperity we deserve. Just over a dozen years ago we had almost no mobile phones in Nepal. Now, more than 2 out of 3 of us carry one. 10 years ago, none of us in Nepal knew about Facebook (a social media tool). By September of 2014, there are nearly 41 Lakh (4.1 million) Facebook Nepali users.  In the next decade, every Nepali will be on social media.  And everyone will be using their mobile devices (phone, glasses, who knows what more) to do this. Imagine this, we all will chat, write, talk, do business and organize events right from the palm of our hands!

A girl in Humla will answer within seconds a maths question posed by another in Taplejung. A farmer in Rautahat will get advice from a facebook group members from the US on how to negotiate seeds at a bargain for the season with a seed bank in China. The seeds may even be parceled to his village within a day or two through a simple click on his mobile. He will watch YouTube videos on internet to learn how to take proper care of his crops. English to Nepali translation will be instantaneous (Local languages like Maithili, bhojpuri will be readily available).

 

With social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram or Whatsapp, the power we have is limitless and instant. What you choose to show, will be amplified to anyone, anywhere around the world. Your remarkable ideas will no longer be hidden from from the rest of humanity. Even to get services from your own government which could take months now, would be within reach through your mobile to be finished within a day at most. You will be able to track of the progress made by your public officials in making your passports or how local government is responding to your complaint about poor health service in your local hospital (step by step). Within seconds, you would be able to check your local politician’s history and the number of promises kept or not. You can immediately re-share the information you have dug up, with millions.  Information cannot stay hidden any longer and as more facts comes within your reach the more powerful our country and our accountable our system will be.

In essence, social media helps us align all the positives in the same direction, making negative irrelevant.

Here are 5  cases to showcase how social media is doing just that and transforming Nepalese and Nepal.

  1. Back in 2011, do you remember seeing photos of “Jamuna” a malnourished child from Rukum? People created facebook groups to support her, contributing hundreds of thousands of rupees, doctors volunteered to help, Nepali from Australia and US banded together to work with ones in Nepalgunj to save her life.
  2. A small project called “Shanti School” won thousands of dollars simply by rallying Nepali citizens to “like” them on a facebook “like” competition.  They went on to build schools and train teachers in remote Nepali villages. They won much visibility and donations through mobilization of friends in social media. Social media is helping unite us to help those less fortunate.
  3. Maggie Doyne, an American girl working with orphans in Surkhet ,manages to get on YouTube and share a  video which immediately touches thousands of hearts. She raised enough funds to unite Nepali orphans for a better future.
  4. OccupyBaluwatar, Nepal Unites, Paschim Paila, Help Nepal Network, Save Dorje Gurung (in Qatar) and hundreds more Nepali campaigns have used social media effectively to push for citizens and organizations to unite with helpless Nepalis to solve big and small problems.
  5. A remote health clinic in Achham called Possible (formerly ‘nyaya’), share their stories on facebook to tell well wishers and donors living thousands of miles away, each life they save and details of every rupee they spend. What a way to unite the less fortunate Nepalese and fortunate citizens of the rest of the world, towards a healthier future?

Thanks to social media, the unorganized here in Nepal are finally organizing into platforms. Tired of forced strikes ‘bandhs’? Join anti-Bandh groups on facebook. Want to build entrepreneurs?  Fight for consumer rights? Hold politicians accountable? or simply want bike modification laws changed in Nepal? There are groups for each issue.  Youths and elders are uniting to clean up of squares, rivers and communities themselves. With the help of social media, Nepalese have finally restarted working together as a nation, to help realize that prosperous Nepal we all have dreamed for so long.

With great power comes great responsibility. I believe we will harness this great power so that Nepalese help Nepalese! I hope we use social media responsibly to build more positive networks and platforms to solve every problem we come across. Lets go! The entire world is our ally now.

In the end, I leave you to ponder over this:


‘If you align all the positives in the same direction, the negative becomes irrelevant’

12 Effective Facebook tips for brands, organizers and administrators

If you are a community organizer or an activist building a “tribe”, and want to use Facebook as an effective tool to connect, here are some of the lessons I have learnt in the last 4 years where I have mobilized (or tried to) effective Facebook groups of more than 10,000 members. This  applies broadly to handling your Facebook profile branding as well as “Facebook groups” and “pages”.

  1. Use Facebook groups for the right reasons: It’s a place to tell/spread (amplify) news.
  2. Get advice, not consensus from your members.
  3. When you get cynical, negative comments (usually from trolls), accept the post and just reply back with the word, “Noted”. Don’t ever defend, argue or try to please them. Trolls are trolls.
  4. Make a “code of conduct” list before inviting people to your Facebook group. Save it as a document in there. Update it regularly & remind people (by pinning that post regularly).
  5. Ban people if they don’t abide by code of conduct repeatedly. 3 strikes law works here. Also It is not your job to explain the reason for banning each member. Use that time instead, to deliver in action, the purpose of your group. If there is too much spamming, in the options, set it to ” All group posts must be approved by an admin”. Make sure you approve or reject pending posts regularly.
  6. Don’t invite people just because they are your good friends or because you need to fill in with many members. Good friends + wrong groups = awkward situation.
  7. If you make other “administrators”, brief them on your beliefs and code of conducts before making them so. Remind them & hold them accountable to their actions / inactions. Don’t add more admins until it is absolutely important to.
  8. If you have a secret group, don’t give “add members” rights to general members. It defeats the purpose as they will add anyone and everyone.
  9. Best way to grow is to grow organically. This helps keep the group tight-knit. In the long run what matters is the work done by the very few who will actually deliver.
  10. Humility helps (always). Since Facebook leaves a digital trail when you become mean/angry/rash/obnoxious, it will be used against you even after years.
  11. Give more attention to members who help the group’s purpose more.
  12. Remember Facebook group is just a virtual network. Trust people who back up their words with real concrete actions. Arrange real world interaction (meet / conference call) and trust people more who you meet in the real world. People who only hang around the Facebook group – I call them mostly “Talkers, not doers”.

25 rules I usually follow to be effective in Social Media

Here are my social media 101 tips for all who wants to use social media effectively for your organization, business or your personal campaigns. I have learnt this the hard way :) and I try to live by these guidelines!

  1. Don’t be stupid.
  2. Lazy questions get lazier answers.
  3. You won’t benefit from anonymous criticisms. (Seth godin said this)
  4. Don’t follow people you don’t want to follow (on Twitter or Facebook). Keep them distraction free.
  5. Keep private posts private. Don’t mix your personal with public.
  6. Don’t fight publicly. Handle hurtful, critical comments and trolls with comments, “noted” or “acknowledged”.
  7. Don’t defend or justify unless you believe you have made a terrible mistake. Acknowledge and move on. Statements like ” Let’s agree to disagree” helps.
  8. Negative posts get a cynical responses (you might get a lot of feedback, but people will not respect you in the long run).
  9. Be positive. People love that.
  10. Consistently show your good side. Open up!
  11. There is no better formula for being liked than by becoming yourself.
  12. Nothing beats personal interaction. (No technology or social media interaction: Don’t ever fall under that illusion). Go meet people you like.
  13. Appreciate any posts you liked. Don’t be shy on this. One thing everyone  craves is genuine appreciation.
  14. Acknowledge in any posts you share, the person/place you got that information from.
  15. Remember this before posting:  Does your post signify you are a doer OR just a talker?
  16. Avoid using curse words. Use only when you are ready to withstand public outcry. It rarely helps and usually stings you years after you post.
  17. Post in the mornings or evenings to be more effective. And weekends usually get slow responses (for me)
  18. Pause at least 10 seconds before you hit “post” anything, always ! Re-edit everything you write. The 1st times are usually crappy, clumsy writings for almost all of us.
  19. When sharing, realize people don’t care about you. People care about what value they get from you (your posts).
  20. Save time. Integrate your Facebook and Twitter posts and even your blog  through plugins readily found in the internet, so that once you post, it posts everywhere.
  21. If you are away, schedule your Facebook, Twitter posts through “buffer” app.
  22. Remember, once you post, chances are it will always stay on internet, even after you die.
  23. Don’t post anything that  you wouldn’t go out and say it to a perfect stranger.
  24. If you want to criticize, first take a minute of break from your phone/computer. Come back and if you have to, first acknowledge and thank people for their thoughts and then mention why you disagree in a way without attack someone personally.
  25. Finally, I urge you to NEVER share your password or share your Facebook account with anyone (not even your friends or family). One mistake and if some spammers compromise your account, all your credibility might go down the drain! Log out if you share your computer with others in family (every time !)

If you want to see some examples o this, do follow me here and follow my page here. I am also on twitter here.

To my friends in Nepali media, stay with us citizens

I posted this on Facebook and twitter:

To my #Nepal #media friends, its Time to start fresh. Please highlight other Nepalis rather than 601 & their Netas again. Do stay with us!

This is not a warning but a feedback. I believe this is what Nepali citizens are telling the media: The message is : Stay with us! (not with them)

Here is what I see. Nepal’s media is plagued with negativity, sensationalism and inconsistencies. It is obsessed with same old few incompetent personalities. Yes you may say this sells newspapers, that this attracts people. Sure it does. But the reality is that you are not ONLY running a business. You are also shaping the nation directly. Your opinions can take the nation forward or backward. Right now, citizens are losing trust in what they see in media. Once this trust is gone, they will move to some other medium, some other source.

Here are a few tips I suggest for you to win the citizens back while also inspiring them to serve their nation. Feel free to see this as a mere suggestion not a guide for you.
How about starting this trend by changing the concept of Headline News to address these?

  1. Positive, Positive, Positive.
  2. Prominently highlight actions on of our sports teams, artists, poets, citizens, social servers (how-ever flawed their record is). Even if they may not be as articulate as the existing politicians, let’s be patient with this lot. They are authentic!
  3. Rags to riches stories of Nepali.
  4. Entrepreneurs success and failures.
  5. Stories of street entrepreneurs.
  6. Risk-takers in different professions.
  7. Community activists stories.
  8. Community successes: Highlight them in headline news.
  9. Discussion transcripts between youths on sociopolitical issues.
  10. Mentor-ship events, Networking events and fund-raisers.
  11. Stories of Nepali uniting with each other on community to international level.
  12. Adventure stories in Nepal, e.g stories of Nepali traveling in Nepal.
  13. Have a regular column, show that talks about Historical wrongs. A forum to vent out how you and your community have been wronged where others are encouraged to just “listen and not defend themselves”. i.e Empathy programs
  14. A program to teach different ethnic languages to different ethnic groups.
  15. “How to build your community” tips highlighted in headline prime time news?
  16. Demystify government. A regular forum to learn how government bureaucracy works. How to use it properly. Where to complain, how to complain etc.
  17. “Doers – Not talkers” a hard-hitting analysis program where you vote on either some one is a talker or a doer.
  18. Promote leadership building programs that produce promising leaders in political, social service and entrepreneurship.
  19. Programs that teach citizens how to protest in a ‘bibeksheel’ way.
  20. Programs where politicians ask how to solve & school students come up with the solutions.
  21. Open source your content. Let people use it, improve on it. Put it all on You-tube or un-copyright it. Share and win!
  22. Change your moto to “Stay with citizens or become obsolete”.

समाचार माध्यमहरुलाई अनुरोध :

समाचार माध्यमहरुलाई अनुरोध :
  1.  सकारात्मक गैर-राजनितिक काम वा सोचका खबरलाई बेकैदा मुख्य पृष्ठमा दिनहुँ स्थान दिनुहोला। आलोचनात्मक खबरलाई सके नराख्‍नु, राख्‍नै परे अन्तिममा।
  2. सर्वसाधारण नागरिकहरुका सोचहरुलाई प्राथमिकता दिनुहोला  चाहे त्यो जति नै अल्मलिएका वा त्रुतिपूर्ण भए नि।
  3. होच्च्याउने भन्दा उपाय दिने खालका वक्तव्यलाई प्रोत्साहन दिनुहोला।
  4. कतै राम्रा काम हुन लाग्या छ भने त्यसको बारेमा पूर्व घोषणा गरेर फैलाईदिनुहोला।
  5. ‘प्रगति यसरी गर्नुपर्छ र यसरी गरिराख्‍या छु’ भन्ने जस्ता उपायमुलक वा ज्ञानमुलक वक्तव्यलाई अझ बढावा दिनुहोला।
  6. नागरिक जिम्मेवारी बढाउने कार्यकलापहरुलाई निरन्तर समर्थन गरिरहनुहोला।
  7. जवाफदेही नेतृत्वको खबरलाई बढावा दिनुहोला।
  8.  सम्वृद्धि ल्याउने वा काम सृजना गर्ने उद्दमशिल व्यक्तित्वहरुलाई पनि मुख्य पृष्ठमा स्थान दिनुहोला (सामाजिक र राजनितिक अभियानकर्ताहरुलाई जस्तै)।
  9. नेपालीहरुलाई एक बनाउने जुनै कामका खबरलाई अझ बढावा दिनुहोला।
  10. “अहिले नगरे कहिले, हामीले नै नगरे कस्‌ले” भन्ने सोच बोकेकालाई पटक पटक अन्तरवार्तामा बोलाउनुहोला।

धन्यवाद :)