Monday, April 28, 2008

Workshop: Activism and Education Using Social Networks

As well as providing ways to stay in touch with friends and make new connections, social networking technologies are increasingly important for activism and education. This interactive workshop will look at social networks and other innovative avenues such as blogs, wikis, mashups, and virtual worlds - as well as the role of more traditional online communication mechanisms like email and discussion forums. It will cover these technologies and their larger implications; techniques for engaging others while dealing with challenges such as trolling, flaming, and privacy invasion; and a nuts-and-bolts introduction to utilizing these tools.

The Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Workshop on Activism and Education Using Social Networks will run in parallel with the concurrent sessions on Thursday, May 22. To accommodate those will be attending -- or presenting at! -- other sessions for different parts of the day, we're organizing the bulk of the workshop as a series of independent modules, covering different skills, and best practices for educators and activists. We'll also cover success stories, brainstorm challenges faced by attendees, and construct groups for CFP attendees to stay in touch as well as profiles and groups for several organizations attending.

Confirmed modules include Facebook and Promoting books (and potential books) on social networks. Other potential topics include mashups, screencasting, getting your site found on Google, and effective use of social network sites like Ning, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, and SecondLife. We're using the Modules page on the wiki to help organize this; please check it out for the current status -- and if you've got suggestions, please add them, either on the wiki or as comments on this thread!

One of our goals for the workshop is to make it valuable both for in-person participants and the 99.99999% of the world that will not be at CFP on that day. If technology allows it, we will set up the room so that people can participate remotely. Even more importantly, we'll be collecting information on the wiki, and encouraging discussions on various blogs and social network sites.

In the spirit of which, a couple of questions to kick things off:

  • what are some particularly good examples of educators and activists using social networks?
  • what skills or techniques do you think are important -- and are there any good online references?
Other topics welcome, of course. And please forward this on to others you think might be interested!

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