Middle East and North Africa Group Invitation Program 2012 - Leadership in Nationand Community Building
Date & Venue:
, 2012 (Day 4), Japan Foundation, Tokyo.
Topic of the day:
The Role of Social Media and Social Networking Service (SNS) in Crisis Response andReconstruction.
Mr. Daisuke Tsuda, journalist, writer and social entrepreneur.
“I do what I think and whoever wants to follow will follow”.
This must have been our favorite quote onthis day, which we found to be relevant to leaders today who have to respond swiftly to the rapidchanges and crises taking place in different countries for different reasons. Today on our fourth day inthe JPF MENA Leadership program, we listened to Mr. T
suda’s presentation on Social Me
dia and theimportant role it played in light of crisis response to the tsunami that hit Japan last year. While hereflected on this topic and explained his observational studies, we could see many clear similarities withthe situation in the MENA region, specifically during the revolutions in Tunis and Egypt and the activitiesof the civil society that followed. Main similarities were as follows:
How instant-communication tools brought people together faster to support each other,
How the tools assisted in rescuing people in danger or at risk,
How social media was the fastest in providing news and information, which was at times morerelevant than formal sources of news. This had also promoted cross-media cooperation,
How social media allowed communities to quickly deliver the same functions of thegovernment and institutions and how they soon became autonomous and self-dependant,
How leaders can use twitter and such tools instrumentally to provide many channels of communication and always be reachable. Queen Rania in Jordan for example is very active onTwitter, and she has been applauded for many initiatives that use social media such as previousYouTube competitions that she launched to promote tourism in Jordan,
Other similarities were found in the way social media drew international attention to theirrespective crisis and crowd-sourcing different types of support.This brings back memories of the revolution in Egypt that was catalyzed by social media and Facebookpages such as
Kollena Khaled Said
, and many other groups. Also attendants from Jordan rememberedthe use of social media in successful campaigns against destructive development projects such as thewell-known case of the twitter-led environmental campaign against the Military Academy constructionplans in the Bargesh Forest in northern Jordan among other many examples. The idea of the cross-media cooperation phenomena was also very similar to many examples in the MENA region such aswww.7iber.com:a tool for bloggers and citizen journalists in Jordan that largely feeds on its activity ontwitter and Facebook.