Startups by definition are disorganized and always trying to catch up with their vision. Social Media Exchange is no exception. Last year, we launched the Summer 2008 Social Media for Social Change project with lots of aspirations, many of which we achieved and some, which, let’s be honest, we haven’t gotten to yet.
We developed a network of civil society and nongovernmental organizations in Lebanon curious about how to use social media to support their missions. And we told stories about how some of them are already doing it. We created training presentations and traveled across the country—to Aabidyeh, Baalbeck, Bint Jbeil, Deir Qanoun el Nahr, Jbeil, Rachaya, Saida, and Sour—to spread the word.
We translated digiactive.org’s Introduction to Facebook Activism into Arabic and wrote a guide of our own on how to use Facebook Pages for nonprofits. We also made sure our presentations and handouts were made available in both English and Arabic, and we look forward to doing more.
We participated in the Global Voices conference in Budapest and brought back lessons learned from others using social media for activism and advocacy around the world. We learned and shared lots from Arab bloggers at Zico House, and we represented social media at the regional meeting of the Global Forum for Media Development in November in Beirut.
Now, we’re preparing to launch a new project that will focus on the training of trainers who can continue to fan out and experiment with social media for social change. Adoption of these technologies is happening fast, in Lebanon and around the region, and we want to aid and accelerate it even more when it comes to putting it to use for positive social impact, peacebuilding, and youth empowerment.
In addition to an online/offline training course, for which we are now accepting applications, we’ll also be hosting a concept note competition for civil society and community-based organizations in Lebanon looking for the resources and support to implement social media tools and tactics in their programs. More details on that will follow in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, we wanted to touch base and re-engage as we do our spring cleaning and get our website updated and our blog moving again. As NGOs and nonprofits know, it’s hard sometimes to work from project to project, but we’re in the midst of finding ways to sustain ourselves year-round. We invite you to participate in our summer 2009 project in whatever ways you can—as a trainer or participant, suggesting new modules, requesting trainings, even just subscribing to our RSS feed or leaving a comment on our blog.