Earlier this month I went to work at IREX Georgia in Tblisi, on behalf of Small World News, to give workshops for their Gmedia initiative. The workshops were focused on digital advocacy, with participants from many different types of media, NGO's and even some independent individuals. They all came with a desire to learn more and further develop their new media presence in some form or another.
While some may have already been heavily using social networking platforms for communicating their messages, others were still developing a strategy about which platform to make use of and, of course, how best to do so. So with my years of experience in this field, a curiosity to learn first-hand about the Georgian context, and with the support of an enthusiastic crew at IREX Georgia, I set out to address their needs.
Our sessions were centered on, though not limited to, three particular tools:
1 " Blogs, the origin and inspiration for so many of today's social media applications.
2 " Facebook, the rapidly expanding, regularly used social networking tool which happens to be very important in Georgia.
3 " Twitter, how best to use twitter to communicate your message as well as engage others even in a context where it is not the dominant application.
Beyond using these three as the pillars of the workshop sessions, we spent a lot of time talking about specific cases, and what could be learned from them. There was also ample time set aside for individual consultations with those who wanted help with their projects or organizational web strategies for advocacy and outreach.
Structuring the work this way gave me plenty of time to first get to know participants concerns. I got a feel for what was old news and what was new and interesting to them. When I finally did get to sit one-on-one with some participants, it was a chance to make an immediate impact as well as watch them use the things they had just learned in the sessions. Yes.. a bit of satisfaction on the trainer's part.