Social media have turned the information and communication world upside down. Africa is not the most prominent continent when it comes to social media use, but penetration is increasing rapidly. Fashion, sport and pop culture in Africa are all making use of social media, but so is development. Particularly for complex issues that require inputs from various people and organizations such as climate change. As social media are on the increase, the African climate change community needs a guide to tap into social capital.
AfricaAdapt, a knowledge sharing network on climate change adaptation, commissioned the Knowledge Management and Information Services team (KMIS) of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) to develop a social media guide that would specifically look at climate change adaptation issues and investigate sources that promote African knowledge on the subject.
The ILRI team developed this guide with colleagues at AfricaAdapt to:
- Explain what social media are and why this guide might be helpful
- Emphasize how social media can help promote African knowledge about climate change adaptation
- Look into various needs and profiles of social media and how they can complement each other
- Address doubts and pitfalls behind social media use
- Remind readers that social media are best used in combination with other media and approaches such as face-to-face
- List various useful resources on social media, in Africa, around climate change adaptation (or any combination thereof)
The guide was developed on a wiki (a collaborative website) to facilitate multiple inputs in the process, and to allow the guide to be updated more easily in the future. The full guide is available at: http://socialmediaguideafrica.wikispaces.com
This guide is part of a broader series of guidelines that the network released to support African practitioners and researchers involved in climate change adaptation work.
Social media have been widely used to support communication and knowledge sharing within ILRI and in its projects, hence our interest in using this guide in our own work.
The guide is a resource that can hopefully inspire other people and organizations to consider taking advantage of social media to enable endless possibilities to connect, engage, share and learn.