Monday, December 2, 2013

Why do you teach social media to village folks?

That is a question a friend of mine has been asking me for quite some time now. At Iringa Living lab, one of our key programs is social media training. We teach people in our community how to use these new technologies so they become part of the global village. But my friend was not convinced with my answer. So I have been thinking how to explain it better.

Then the following analogy came to mind. Imagine this big mansion, with all kinds of good things inside (even the bad of course), and every individual can access a key to enter and take advantage of whatever is inside the mansion. But for some reason, some individuals do not know where to get the key. Yet, if given the key, some may make use of the opportunity to enter the mansion and get whatever they want.

To me that’s the world of internet (the mansion). Every individual has the right to become a netizen.  And there are endless opportunities of being a netizen. Challenge is, there are many people who are not aware of how to become one.

As Iringa Living Lab, we empower our community to access the opportunities on internet. And we have learnt, through our friends from Rlabs Capetown, that when you teach social media to people who hitherto didn’t know how to use it, you have actually given them the key to the “mansion”.

Of course, as my friend rightly points out, we also have a role to show them around the mansion. Otherwise they will have the key but fail to move around the rooms of opportunity. And yes, at Iringa Living Lab, we have embraced that challenge. Social media is not the end in itself but a key to open the door to endless opportunities.

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