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Developing a just society based on equity and equal opportunities for all with respect for diversity.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

S-S-S-Social Media


 RAINS, like so many other NGOs, is in the process of trying to organise a social media strategy plan. Our job is to support them as they do this. Initially I was a little bemused and bewildered by such a big job. Whilst I am a self confessed social media junkie, I wouldn't deem myself an “expert” by any stretch of the imagination. With this in mind I have spent the last couple of weeks researching the relationship between Social Media and NGOs in order to produce a guide for RAINS, and other organisations, which details both the reasons why Social Media is essential for organisations such as RAINS, and tips on how to utilize it the most effectively.

A few people scoffed when I told them this, being rightly skeptical about the popularity of Social Media in Ghana. However, over the course of my research it became quite clear that Facebook and other platforms are becoming increasingly popular. Whilst many Ghanaian's are still without their own computer, this does not prevent them from engaging with social media - for example, many phone operators are now offering Facebook with their network packages as standard.


However, during my research my own beliefs about "what" NGOs might use Social Media for have been challenged. Traditionally, we might have thought of Social Media as a platform that NGOs use to promote events or fund raise on, but increasingly, Social Media is being viewed as a place in which NGOs can learn from one another by pooling resources, stories and experiences.
“By bringing together people who share interests, no matter their location or time zone, social media has the potential to transform the workplace into an environment where learning is as natural as it is powerful.” ― Marcia ConnerThe New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media
The problem for organisations such as RAINS is that social media progresses at such a fast pace that it has proved difficult to keep up with the pace of change and jargon it employs.  This is what the guide below has sought to address. Alongside the issue of knowledge, there seem to be quite a few preconceptions about using social media within organisations that simply aren't true. Firstly, there is a belief that you need to be on every social media platform to be effective. This is not the case, time and again, a focused use of one or two platforms has won out against organisations which spread themselves too thinly. There is also the notion that Social Media is not something that needs to be taken seriously, or that it can just be dealt with as and when the organisation feels like it has enough time. If an organisation wants to get serious about using tools such as Twitter, it needs to realize that these platforms are ultimately ways of establishing relationships, and that these relationships need to be tended to just as much as our "real ones" do. 

Social Media is able to give organisations such as RAINS a platform to aspects of their work which deserve recognition, their experiences may be able to help organisations which face similar problems or successes.  Over the next few weeks we hope that we can support RAINS in mapping out a sustainable and effective social media strategy.

Below is a copy of our Guide, and here is a link where you can download a copy of the PDF for yourself.

By Grace