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:
- SMS for election monitoring, peacebuilding and strengthening democracy – A conversation with Ken Banks (podcast)
- Mobile phones for advocacy and social transformation
And these on mobiles supporting and strengthening socio-political transformation and peacebuilding:
- Mobiles and peacebuilding
- The PC is Dead ! Long live Mobiles !
Mediation from the palm of your hand: Forgining the next generation ODR systems
- Draft Paper on Mobile Phones and Activism
- Mobile phone futures
- Mobile talking: Cellphones, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights
- News and information through SMS – A second look at JasmineNewswires in Sri Lanka
- Strong Angel III – SMS, MMS, Google Maps mashups
- Cellphones for civic engagement