Opinion
The era of social media as a mobilisation tool
Publish Date: Jun 11, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img

By Doris Acheng Odit

Recently, as I was scrolling through my twitter timeline, I stumbled upon an illustration by a cartoonist that particularly piqued my interest.

It had all these people in an apartment building, each in their own apartment, tweeting about this and that, and calling on action from their governments about this and that, and the caption had a tagline insinuating that people had become too lazy to take real action on pertinent social issues and were instead sitting in their confortable houses and thinking that tweeting about something, or posting a brief line about a social issue on a social network is enough to effect change, and influence policy.

And yet, despite the cartoonist’s insinuation, I would like to think that perhaps the so called “lazy” 140 character long tweet that I post on saving endangered tigers, while in the comfort of my living room, perhaps even while sipping a cup of aromatic coffee, does indeed make a difference in the life of a tiger somewhere in the Indian jungle.

I would like to think that my so called “lazy” tweet is setting a ball in motion that will lead to more tweets, more debate on the issue online, hence more debate on the issue by technocrats, and that perhaps somewhere down the line, what started off as a lazy tweet will lead to policy change.

And at an era where social networks have more users than any one country has citizens, it is evident that the people power now rests in the hands of the modern day social network.

Case in point being the popularisation of the Arab Spring of 2011 through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, a campaign that was able to bring down well established structures; or the very recent #BringBackOurGirls social network campaign that made the plight of the 200 Nigerian girls abducted by the Islamist militants-BokoHaram, and the push for the facilitation of release of the girls a matter of international priority at what I opine, was a supersonic and expeditious mobilisation speed; to the #BringBackAJStaff campaign that saw thousands of journalists and well-wishers worldwide go to twitter to express their concern over the treatment of AlJazeera journalists that were arrested in Egypt for allegedly siding with the outlawed Muslim brotherhood group.

We also cannot forget the very own Ugandan #BuyABrick #BuildADorm campaign, that led to massive donations by Ugandans on social media which went towards building a dormitory for an Orphanage.


Hence, the power of social media and the ability and effectiveness of social mobilisation through social networking sites cannot be underestimated; neither can its potential be ignored. The implications of the emerging influence of social media are numerous, depending on what side of the spectrum you are in.

For non-governmental organisations, and charity based institutions, the growing potential for fundraising for charity campaigns is like a bottomless pit of untapped opportunity. As such, charity organisations need to re-conceptualise their fundraising strategies and align them to include social media fundraising campaigns.

Forget about those little fundraising dinners where only 50 guests show up, or the pretty little print out flyers that few will have the patience to read, let alone have access to, or the heavily worded fundraising webpage on your websites that few will bother looking up,-the new age of effective social mobilisation, in terms of scope, reach, and impact, is effective use of social media!

The same goes for commercial based organisations, traditional forms of marketing have their place, but to neglect the potential of social media sites, in creating awareness of a brand or product, or in creating an interactive relationship with consumers, or customers, is indeed an unwise decision.

It is like the cartoonist mentioned at the onset who thinks that a tweet makes no difference, or having potential consumers follow your social network page doesn’t matter- Wishful thinking, If you ask me, wishful thinking that could cost the survival of a company, or for charity organisations, the success-level of a fundraising campaign.


The writer is a management and ICT consultant

 


 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Digital TV switchover: Consumer barriers to adoption
This October, Uganda Communications Commission is set to roll out its Digital TV migration process in all regions....
Support women’s  efforts to attain financial independence
While carrying on with consultancy work recently for Uganda Local Government Association(ULGA) & ACODE across the country, I was immensely impressed by how women were trying to empower themselves financially....
Rethinking policies on food security and poverty reduction at household level
Every 16th October is World Food day, this year’s theme is Family Farming; Feeding the World, Caring for the planet....
Come now, translate Uganda, E. Africa Community anthems
Sitting (actually standing) in the audience at the National Prayer Breakfast last week, I was astonished by the clinical efficiency with which the choir led us in singing the East African anthem....
What makes the National Resistance Movement?
Whenever there is a situation in the National Resistance Movement (NRM), where prominent personalities leave or there is some perceived storm in the party, some people are in the habit of speculating that the ruling party is finished because the quitter will carry off a huge chunk of supporters....
There is nothing new to NRM
Some pseudo-experts on NRM politics want the public to believe that President Yoweri Museveni is not ‘smart’ enough on his own, and has been relying on “very intelligent” people, overtime among them, Eriya Kategaya, Amanya Mushega, Kiiza (sic) Besigye, Bidandi Ssali, and most recently, Amama Mbabaz...
Do Ugandan tycoons prepare their children to take over their business empires?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter