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Social Media in Development Cooperation

In September 2011 the Centre for Communication and Glocal Change organised a festival ‘Agency in the Mediatized World – Media, Communication and Development in Transition’ with over 40 speakers from around the world.

In April 2012 a 90-page publication was produced discussing the role of social media in development cooperation. The publication includes papers from six authors from key institutions and experts in the world of development communication. Here is a very brief summary of the articles:

Social Media in Development Cooperation by Ricky Storm Braskov
This is an introduction to the publication and also offers a brief overview of the digital, social and mobile environment. Braskov says that almost all major NGOs and development agencies have social media policies and are active on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc. He also highlights a case study by Natalie Fenton and Veronica Barassi which found that social being can a threat to NGOs as well as empowering. He discusses how broadcasting networks are using social media and citizen journalism to ‘report from the ground.’ and how local communities in developing countries can use social and mobile media to effect change.

Social and Mobile Media in ICT4D by Paula Uimonen
This paper identifies some key features of social and mobile media and relates them to social and political change. It uses case studies in Tanzania and  Uganda where blogs and mobiles and used to fight corruption in Africa.

Social Media are Amazing – But How Big is Their Impact and How Can We Trust Them? by Petter Attingsberg
The difference between “old” established media where you can find reliable information and new information sources is discussed in this article. Petter claims that social media is not really that new, as before we had telephones, underground newspapers and pirate radios. He discusses “Who is responsible for what is trustworthy” in social media as there are no demands of credibility or ethics. He also discusses how International Media Support, the organisation he works for, uses social media e.g. to engage with people outside the big cities to counteract a ‘metro-polycentric’ point of views.

UNDP’s Use of Social Media by Stine Kirstein Junge
According to Stine Kirstein Junge the UNDP use social media to show they are transparent, to connect with conversations around development topics, to build communities in general and to advocate. The article provides some practical examples of how the UNDP use tools such as Facebook and Twitter.

How Can the Internet and Social Media Contribute to Community Communication for Empowerment? by Birgitte Jallov
Birgitte argues that access to high speed internet and connected smartphones is still not common among the marginalised and vulnerable communities in developing countries. She therefore believes it is more beneficial to focus on ’empowerment radio’ in these communities. This paper is therefore centered around community radio stations and how they might integrate with social media in the future.

Social Media and Communication for Social Change – Towards an Equity Perspective by Rafael Obregon
Focusing on youth this paper briefly summarises academic literature on communication for development: information-focus and vertical communication towards the two-way participatory communication processes. It then goes on to discuss the power and limitations of social media. Obregon cites Clay Shirky who believes that  the power of social media depends upon a ‘number of enabling and timely contextual, social and political factors’. He goes on to discuss how youth have been mobilized as a result of access to new technologies, but that implementation of programs that explicitly aim to reach the most marginalized must be an essential part of equity-driven programs.

I’m looking forward to Orecomm 2013 already!!!

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UNICEF the most social UK charity

A 60 page report from Visceral Business was released earlier this summer revealing which charities in the UK are most successful in Social Media. Their 2012 Charity Social 100 Index includes many organisations which work in developing countries.

With other pieces of research into social media it is not 100% sure how they came to their conclusions, however there is a great deal of information in the report that is useful. Unsurpisingly Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are the most popular social media tools used by charities. These are followed by Flickr, LinkedIn, Google and Twitter. ways to cut down business cost I was surprised that only a few organisations use Slideshare as it is a fantastic tool for sharing information.

The management of social media is still mixed with a variety of roles responsible across charities including social media managers, the digital team, marketing team and other various departments.

I won’t go into too much detail here as you can download the  2012 Charity Social 100 Index for FREE. It’s an interesting read.

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Top 10 International Development Blogs

Here is a list of my Top 10 International Development blogs. I am particularly interested in blogs with social media and international development content, however there are some multi-author blogs listed that often have relevant digital and social media articles.

1. My Heart’s in Accra
Ethan Zuckerman is an academic, blogger and internet activist. He is a senior researcher at the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society and on the board of directors for Global Voices: a global community of citizen media authors. Please also take the time to watch some of his TED lectures. They are superb!

2. Social Media for Good 
As an academic interested in social media and international development this is one of my favourite blogs. It has lots of practical advice on how to improve communications in international development using digital and social media. It is an excellent resource with regular, well researched posts.

3.  Global Voices
Global Voices in an online global community of bloggers who report on citizen media from around the world. It was founded in 2005 by Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca MacKinnon, has over 500 contributors and is translated into more than 30 different languages. Its goal is to give voices to those not usually heard in the international mainstream media. A superb source of information, often with articles on social media

4. Social Media for International Aid and Development
A great blog on social media and international development with lots of practical advice.

5. DEV Blog
Come on I have to include the DEV Blog as I am the editor 😉 This is a new mulit-author blog from the School of International Development, University of East Anglia. The School is a leading global centre of excellence in research and teaching in international development.

6. DFID Bloggers
This is a multi author blog from the UK Department for International Development. There are a mixture of group blogs and individual blogs, many from the field.

7. Poverty Matters
The Guardian’s Global Development Blogosphere. It pulls together blog posts from several partners including DFID, ODI, Global Voices, From Poverty to Power andTexas in Africa etc etc. The great thing about this blog is that it has a wide audience and therefore you get lots of comments. These comments can often be more interesting than the actual blog post.

8. From Poverty to Power
Written by Duncan Green who is a strategic adviser at Oxfam GB. He is also the author of the book ‘Poverty to Power’ which is where this blog started. Duncan uses his blog to discuss and debate issues from the book. The new 2nd edition was published earlier this year in October. I would love to interview Duncan one day….

9. Chris Blattman
Chris is an assistant professor of Political Science and Public Affairs at Columbia University. His research examines the causes and consequences of poverty and violence. He is an avid blogger writing about many aspects of international development.

10. Blood and Milk
Alannah Shaikh has worked in international development for over 10 years. Alanna believes that international development should be “efficient, effective and evidence based”. Her posts are eclectic ranging from careers advice to marketing. I like this blog because it offers lots of practical advice.

Image Credit: Kristina B

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Top 10 tips for making an NGO video

I’ve made a lot of videos over the years, from talking heads and infographics to user generated videos and flashmobs.  Here are a few tips for making a video that I’ve learned along the way:

1. Firstly you need to define your objectives. I know that sounds obvious, but is video really the right medium to achieve your goals. What is your budget? Where will you be showing your video? Who’s going to be in charge of managing the video production? How will you measure the return on investment?

2. Content is Queen. To make your video work you need to try and get inside the heads of your target audience. What is the purpose of your video? There are many types of video: talking heads, raising awareness of a humanitarian issue, fundraising, user generated content, documentaries, developing brand awareness and so on. A lot of charities use celebrities to highlight issues. Is this right for your NGO and what will it achieve?

3. Be inventive. There are thousands and thousands of videos which have been produced by NGOs. How do you cut through and make your video shine? If you want to see some examples of great video sign up to the dailydogooder – it is a great place to start if you need some inspiration.

4. Optimise your videos for search engines. Videos on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo often appear on the first page of the search engine results page (SERPS). In addition In addition YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world. It is important to add useful metadata such as file names, titles, tags and descriptions to ensure your videos are found. Getting your videos to the top of search engines involves many variables such as number of views, number of comments, number of shares, ratings, back links etc. Also make sure you follow the conversation and respond to comments.

5. Ensure that your video ties in with your NGOs digital media or social media guidelines. Does your organisation have standard assets such as title bars, intros and outros.

6. Make sure your video portrays your brand’s tone of voice and is informed by overall corporate objectives.

7. Making a viral video. Viral videos can quickly get your brand concern out to a wide audience, but there is no guaranteed way to “make” a video viral. However just look at the success of Kony2012 by Invisible Children. This was achieved by a relatively small organisation with no previous success with viral videos. Their seeding strategy was key to their success. They already had half a million followers. Luckily along the way Oprah picked up about the campaign and tweeted several times and from there the seed was truly sown. They also targeted “20 culture makers and 12 policy makers”. But at the end of the day, the video was beautifully made and it had compelling content.

8. Plan, plan, plan. A storyboard however basic will save you time and money. Videographers will be charging you by the hour. You are paying for the time – use it wisely. Please don’t waste it on carrying equipment from one place to another very often.

9. Measure your ROI and learn from your mistakes. Consider where you want your videos to be viewed. Most OVPs come with great analytics tools. YouTube statistics include number of views, demographics of viewers, geographical data etc. You can download stats into spreadsheets if you want to analyse the data further. It’s important to view these stats, but you must relate these back to your objectives in order to measure ROI.

10. Be creative.

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Welcome to Social Media for Development

I set up this blog in Novemeber 2012. I have worked in marketing and communications in the public and non-profit sector for around 20 years. Recently, I have gained a lot of experience in digital and social media marketing with several successful campaigns under my belt. I love the immediacy of social media and I love how creatively people use it.

I’m relatively new to the world of international development and am collating articles, case studies, musings, blogs etc about the role of social media in the global south. I have been fascinated, moved and amazed at how people have utilised social media tools to affect change in their communities. This is happening all over the world. With 6 billion mobiles accounts, many of them with internet access, the world will witness more change in the future.

I am also intrigued by NGOs who use social media creatively. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Save the Children’s First Ever Non-Stop Global Tweet Chat and I followed the Kony 2012 campaign with great interest

So in a way this blog will be used as my research tool in a way. I will share stories about how social media is being used in developing countries and hope that people send me more examples. I also hope that my next post will be more thought out haha. Like I said I love the immediacy of social media and needed to post something in a short amount of time.


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