Day one of the three day (or for some women’s activists: four… not so sure what constitutes “women’s activist” in this sense) “Movements Rethink” meeting, organised by HIVOS, is starting with an hour long part about social media (youtube, blogs, etc.) and this meeting. Lots of talk back about consent and all that.
To tweet or not to tweet, to facebook or not to facebook, to share or not to share… it is always a bit of a contentious issue. Personally, to me it is how you do it, how you write about things on blogs, and making sure you don’t misquote, or get consent in reproducing or in case of pictures and using names. But in many ways blogging is a personal journey to me, it is part of a broader, growing, internet knowledge base that cannot (and perhaps should not) be policed…
Personally I feel that many aspects of social media are still inaccessible, that participation in such spaces is determined by socio-economic circumstance and class. Smartphones just aren’t available to everyone, and sufficiently fast internet in a.o. South Africa isn’t really all that common. Some parts of this are slowly changing, with even somewhat cheaper phones being able to access facebook and some parts of the internet; still, it is important to me to realise that what I write is more difficult to access to some, and that my decision to use this as almost my sole medium has a certain impact. I do remember the paper zines I used to produce, photocopied small black and white magazine like publications that were very much based in the copyleft spectrum, and actually reminds me a bit of current day blogs and internet based social media.
The facilitator put forward that for today there would be no live tweeting and blogging; an interesting decision, especially considering that there are quite a few ICT activists and fervent bloggers in the group. Personally I like the live feedback online at meetings, as it opens up the space and put a certain collective ownership to it, instead of keeping control with organisers; something that just feels very… “democratic” (?) But the other side is concerning privacy, concerning confidentiality, and where to draw the line; considering the topics at this meeting, it’d be interesting to see where such discussions lead us. The middle ground was agreed upon; specifically that no names or direct quotes would be shared, only personal reflection and personal opinion of the meeting, and to make sure that no direct linkages can be made to individuals (considering safety issues, understandable).