Social media, a powerful tool, hungry for resources

There was a common theme in yesterday's Digital Media Academy: although social media channels are relatively easy and inexpensive to set up, in the medium and long term they require significant resources, and in particularly skilled individuals who communicate regularly and in message. For Benjamin Krause, J/P Haitian Relief Organization (@JPHRO), if you do not post regularly, others will do it for you on your social media channels, and perhaps distort your message. Targeting your audience is key to success. Beware of "free," it is often slow or too limited. The J/P Haitian Relief Organization uses social media for communicating and fundraising.

For Maya Brahman, Senior Communications Officer at the World Bank (@WorldBank), social media is education. In 2010 she launched the first major course on the Open Learning Campus, on the topic of climate change. She fully understands that the Internet is bringing a tsunami that will substantially change the world of education.

Kirstin Miller, Executive Director EcoCity Builders, showed us their amazing GIS platform. Over a basemap of key cities, they built several layers of information, such as demographics, water supplies, etc. One of the layers is social, open to input form users. The presentation of data is clever, intuitive and very user-friendly. It's an amazing tool for researchers, journalists, etc.

It was a great panel over all: social media as a funding and communication resource; as a powerful education platform, and as a tool for researchers and practitioners. But a key warning: remember to allocate sufficient resources and to be committed to the project.

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