Past Meetup

WEBINAR - Strengthening Civil Society Through Social Media

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At times of financial restraint and when Governments are looking at how civil society can be recruited to deliver on their own agenda then how can we ensure that the many associations that make up civil society can protect their independence. Can social networking help create a network of mutual independence that strengthens the countless groups that are the social glue of our civil society? This is the topic of this webinar.

How do we develop social networking so that groups can have an influence and make a difference? Is it sufficient to just set up a meetup site or a NING site for example and then hope that it will take off into cyberspace and be successful. What more do we need to do to reach wider audiences and particularly vulnerable and marginalized groups that do not always join into existing online communities?

In this webinar we will look at how one umbrella group NatCAN (The National Community Activist Network) has used social networking to involve community and activist groups through the NING platform and they will discuss how successful this has been and what more needs to be done. Joe Taylor of NatCAN will present this part of the webinar

David Wilcox will then discuss how successful this approach is in reaching out to marginalised groups and other audiences and the importance of developing a strategy that goes beyond online communities.

He will look at the importance of texting, sharing photos, and increasingly, tweeting, using Facebook and Google Plus to compliment online communities.

In this environment then what are the skills necessary to be successful.

Probably the most important roles may well be those of information aggregators, online-offline organisers, social reporters etc doing a mix of making sense, joining up, helping others to engage, and working across networks rather than just on individual platforms.

How do we develop this new network infrastructure, what mapping is necessary and how do we find and enable the facilitators and orchestrators of this environment so that it can be successful?

In developing this webinar we are working with TSRC (Third Sector Research Centre), which offers third sector organisations and policy-makers access and input into robust research, aiming to bridge the gap between research and the third sector. They have developed a project around what they term “below the radar groups” the many community associations that form the social glue of our civil society.

You can find more about this on their website here (http://www.tsrc.ac.uk/Research/BelowtheRadarBtR/tabid/450/Default.aspx)

And also on their Briefing Paper on “Exploring below the radar; issues of theme and focus." This can be found here ... (http://www.tsrc.ac.uk/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=vldWeMIp%2bEU%3d&tabid=524)

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