Social Media and Community Engagement

Social media can be a powerful tool for community engagement and collaboration.

It enables groups to:
  • Spread information
  • Reach a wide audience
  • Provide interesting and thought-provoking visuals
  • Collect more data (e.g., through sharing or advertising surveys)

Examples of social media for collaboration and engagement include Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

Utilizing social media to communicate is directly linked with your knowledge mobilization strategy that should be in place when engaging with communities. It is important to ensure that you build a social media plan that is integrated with your KMb strategy and makes sense for the work you’re doing and the knowledge you are aiming to mobilize.

Barriers and Conflicts to Social Media

Social media is not the only way to communicate with your audience and it is important to note there are barriers and conflicts that can arise when utilizing social media to engage with communities. Taking into account the ideas of power relations, white saviour complex, confidentiality and privilege when communicating via social media is critical.

Social media can also be used to highlight these false narratives. Below we highlight one account that is doing us that!

  • In order to raise awareness of the white savior complex, one Instagram user created a satirical profile for Saviour Barbie, also known as “the doll that saved Africa.”
  • Barbie’s posts include photographs of herself saving the children and wildlife in the country of Africa.
  • These posts are intended to point out mistakes that individuals may make during community engagement work.

Click here to take a look at the account. What thoughts and questions does this page raise for you?

 

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Building Sustainable Communities: Creating Connections for the Future by Ryan Plummer; Amanda Smits; Samantha Witkowski; Bridget McGlynn; Derek Armitage; Ella-Kari Muhl; and Jodi Johnston is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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