I usually meet friends or colleagues who tell me that they do not like to have accounts on social media networks or use web 2.0 tools as they find it a waste of time (Which is what they think I do by the way..). But is it really so? For me, the answer is definitely NO since I am using these tools everyday, and these are helping achieve my personal and professional goals. Looking at the benefits I am getting from them and how they are making my life easier, I really believe that people who are not using these tools are losing a lot, which is the reason why I encourage people around me to use them. It is also true that there are some negative aspects of social media and web 2.0 tools, like people may hack your profile and use the information you have put in a wrong way. But it is all about adjusting your privacy settings and allow only people you know and trust to view information on you and your activities.
The primary use of facebook for me was for networking and keep in touch with people I have known as friends and colleagues. Then I started to use it as a platform for me to share my ideas and information on agriculture and other works in which I am involved or interested about. By joining pages that are of interest to me (For example FAO, CTA, YPARD, e-agriculture, AIESEC etc.), I am updated about the work they are doing and get information which I use in my professional life. By creating a page for the department I was leading in AIESEC (ICX UoM), we were promoting the projects on which we were working (providing internships) and sharing our experiences. This page was also a means for me to make announcements and also motivate my members by sharing inspirational and motivational videos from youtube. The facebook page that I have used and was successful was for the first project for which I was the team leader. The name of the project was Red Ribbon Initiative (it was on HIV/AIDS), and we were promoting the project and its activities on the page. After each event, we were uploading pictures and videos to show our work and it was clear to all our stakeholders about what we were doing. We can also use facebook to do so much more: Creating polls (to know opinions of people on a specific subject), writing notes (to share your thoughts on something), Tagging people in photos, comments and status, Organise events and invite people, share pictures, videos, news and other links.
|Page on Facebook to promote project and events|
Following people, networks and organisations which have the same interests as me enables me to be updated about what is happening around me and I can contact them to share my opinions or ideas through tweets. One simple example is that I have written a blog post about environment and want to share it with organisations/people working on this subject, I will share the link along with their twitter name and they will know about what I have written and may share it with their network. What I like most about twitter is that you get all updated information about what you are interested about and keep learning new things everyday.
A clear example of how I use blogger is this blog itself. I created my first blog in 2008, but started writing in 2010. At that time my blog just a private one and I was sharing my thoughts on it. Then after my training on web 2.0 tools in March 2011, I decided to make my blog public and be more specific about what I was writing about, since I wanted to share my experience in agriculture and youth leadership with others. Moreover, my blog was a way for me to track my activities, reflect on my experiences and see how I can improve in the future. Blogging has now become a part of my life and I feel like “suffocated” when I don’t write for more than a week! Today I am glad that my blog is getting visits from at least 10 different countries in a day and I’m also getting emails from readers who appreciated what I have written about and some were asking for more information. The point is that there is no limit on where your post may reach or how it may be useful to someone living in another part of the world. It is free to use Blogger and some companies use it for promoting their products and marketing them. This can be applied to agriculture as well; Suppose someone is producing pickles, jams and wants to find a market to sell them. The company may put information about their products on their blog, along with information about the company etc. and they may receive orders online and establish a new relationship with their customers.
There exist so many websites and blogs which we like to read and consult, but it takes a lot of time to go to each one of them and it is not really practical. Instead of going to search for information, today it is possible for information to reach you! This is done through RSS feeds. To get information to your website or your home, you simply have to import the RSS link and you will get the information updates on your websites. One example of RSS is the right side-bar of this blog where there are links to news from various websites (e-agriculture, CTA, FAO, WFP etc).
The video below, gives a better idea about RSS feeds:
Very often, we need to send a heavy file and it is not possible to send them by emails (Pictures or a video for example). To solve this problem, I use Drop-box to share my files. This can be done by creating a folder (into the drop-box folder), put my file in the folder and share with the person I want. Drop-box can also be used for back-up of files. Whenever I’m travelling or going somewhere, my file is secured in my drop-box and there is no risk of virus affecting them as it may be the case when using flash disks.
|My Drop-box folder|
When leading a team or working on a project, it is not easy to meet team members physically very often as some may live very far and it’s time consuming. Skype enables me to be in touch with my colleagues and friends over the world. We may consult each other at any point in time and group conversations are also possible. In AIESEC, skype is a very important tool since interview of interns is done online and many team meetings are done in the evening on skype since most of the members are students and busy with lectures during the day. Skype is also a means for me to promote events, internships and other messages that I want to share on my status. From my personal experience, this method has proven to be very effective where promotion of event or internships are concerned. Skype also allows its users to share their screen (sharing a Power-Point presentation for instance) and send files to each other, which makes it easy to collaborate remotely.
When I want to organise a team meeting or training, the best way to choose a date and time is by using Doodle scheduling. It is finalised when most members are free together and depending on the attendance, two sessions on different days are organised so that all members are able to attend.
|My Google Documents|
|The most recent wiki I created|
|My YouTube Channel|
The video below gives an over-view on the social media revolution:
Thanks for reading this post till the end. Are you also using these tools? Or, do you have better ones that you are using? Share your experience! 🙂