FrontlineSMS on Facebook

FrontlineSMS Facebook Group

Ken Banks, whose life and work I admire a great deal, recently emailed me about joining the FrontlineSMS Supporters Group on Facebook. I am yet to be convinced that Facebook is, beyond the hype, truly capable as a serious collaboration and socio-political activist site, but I along with others have had to ditch initial scepticism in the face of the exponential growth of users on Facebook (and its multi-billion dollar valuation and Microsoft stake).

All this aside, what grabbed my attention the most was what Ken told me in his email:

“I believe there is great potential in leveraging the Facebook community to connect them directly with NGOs in the field, rather than via a head office in London, New York or wherever. I have a number of plans on how to do this, some of which are pretty exciting and innovative”

He goes further in a recent blog post on the FrontlineSMS Facebook group, where he avers:

Maybe one key advantage of Facebook is that once you’re registered you can show your support for multiple causes or interest groups with a couple of simple mouse clicks.

This thinking seems to be in line with a recent article in the New York Times on how social networking technologies such as Facebook are helping to alleviate poverty.

What do you think? Fact or fiction?

Having started my own Facebook Group on ICT4Peace I’ll be looking forward to Ken’s ideas and innovation on how best to leverage communities of practice on Facebook and also to the development of FrontlineSMS, that I’m very keen to deploy in the field in Sri Lanka in support of a number of initiatives ranging from Citizens Journalism to human rights monitoring and reporting.

Also read these posts on FrontlineSMS:

And these on mobiles supporting and strengthening socio-political transformation and peacebuilding:

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Quick take - The new FrontlineSMS « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace) - May 13, 2008

    […] written on FrontlineSMS on this blog before, so I won’t go into details about what it is and how great a programme I think it is. […]

  2. Tolerance and the Internet: Scenarios by 2020 « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace) - December 29, 2008

    […] Social networking combined with mobiles helped Barack Obama become the President of the United States. If that isn’t a cogent example of how the Internet can help strengthen tolerance and celebrate diversity, I don’t know what is. Amnesty International uses some viscerally compelling web videos that are a cinch to integrate to social networks to promote advocacy against human rights abuses by the world’s most powerful countries / democracies. And while most, if not all, social networks (e.g. MySpace, Facebook) are walled gardens, initiatives that are opening up these networks to federated identity management will redefine the way we organise virtually. Yes, it’s true that social networking brings out the worst in us, but who is documenting the rise of Facebook as a serious platform for serious work? […]

  3. Internet and Web based Citizen Journalism in Sri Lanka « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace) - February 25, 2009

    […] http://ict4peace.wordpress.com/2007/11/03/frontlinesms-on-facebook/ […]

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