BY JUSTINE CHEW
(all photos courtesy of HAKAM)
Strengthening Civil Society Advocacy through Effective Use of Social Media
“When we change to way we communicate, we change society.” — Clay Shirky
Social Media has over the past 10 years changed communication between individuals, organisations and nations. This ever evolving communication technology continues to transform the way people interact and even the way they think. That is the reason, Social Media now occupies a vital portion of many successful corporations’ organizational and business strategies. Governments have also recognized the power of social media – to further their causes and goals, construct and deconstruct societies. Government and politics are changed, and some destroyed, through the use of social media.
In other parts of the world, civil society leaders and organizations have long teamed up with technology and social media experts to address community challenges through social media and this partnership had created new interesting solutions for those organisations to better serve their community.
However, Malaysian Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have yet to leverage much on social media tools notwithstanding that (a) the tools are readily available, and (b) social media is a proven potent platform to shape conversations and influence opinions, facilitate speedier and more effective engagement and sharing of information.
“Old ways won’t open new doors.”
CSOs have in the past and still do rely on the usual traditional methods of advocacy through press statements and forum and town hall meetings. Traditional medium like these are limited in its capacity to reach and often offer very limited space or time for any discussion or conversation to take place between the speaker and the audience.
Under these circumstances, and seeing the limited success in advocacy campaigns by Malaysian CSOs in general, HAKAM developed and implemented a How to Leverage on Social Media for Impactful Social Change in Malaysia Workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 16-17 July 2016. HAKAM’s strategy for this capacity building workshop was to engage and partner with social media experts to train human rights activists, CSO representatives and volunteers in harnessing the tools and potential of social media, covering areas of technology and content for effective advocacy. Read more