In the past few years, I have been a part of many different types of online discussions. More recently there has been an upswing of Tweetchats. Today, any well organized meeting, conference, or discussion is complimented by some kind of common hashtag, Twitter, or Facebook presence. It helps the event gain exposure and fuels conversation with people who may not be able to attend in person.
On Thursday, May 16 the Guardian’s Global Development Professionals Network hosted the online discussion/debate, How can social media change how development is done? People were able to participate through comments on the actual post or using #GlobalDevLive participants were able to post questions and make comments via Twitter.
Social Media as a Global Community
Peer-to-peer versus dissemination. Graphic facilitation by The Value Web.
Though the conversation only lasted about an hour, took in nearly 200 comments on the discussion forum page and over 450 tweets. There were nine panelists including myself that were from all over the world and with many different development backgrounds. So much was shared through the forum and through Twitter, it was overwhelming how important social media has become to the development community.
One participant wrote, “In terms of development, social media has an unrivaled capacity to empower the individual. Nothing promotes freedom of speech like social media.”
Powerful thoughts and words were littered throughout the page about how social media will give a voice to those without a voice. One panelist, David Girling agreed with a participant and stated that social media has the ability to change development, “It has, can, will and it should.”