SocialSurfers are up to their old tricks once more! This week our great team went to the Campus Law Centre at Delhi University to preach safe and social surfing to law students, on their beautiful, green and gigantic campus.
This time we were faced with a slightly older crowd, who looked very polished, as much in their look as they were in their responses and comments. Clearly these weren’t freshers. These students had ideas.
Talking with law students was definitely an interesting change. Seeing them try to come up with solutions at every point we would make was challenging, but awesome. They made comments, they had proposals, and questions, for most of Arnika’s talking points. This time, the workshop had such a good discussion and the students were so engaged in giving their opinions and their concerns on issues of security, safe access, and empowerment through education that we didn’t even have time for them to present their campaigns! Knowing that we communicated with Facebook and that we were interested in their feedback as consumers, and as law students, to later tell Facebook their suggestions and concerns, certainly got their attention.
Much of the discussion was geared towards “access as empowerment”, and the role of social media is playing in society, particularly in the political and social spheres. Monday, the day of the workshop, happened to be 3 days after the Paris attacks, which turned out to be a turning point in my personal use of social media, and a way to illustrate our point with the students. Having someone else explain to a group of people the anxiety and fear you feel waking up to Whatsapp messages asking if your loved ones are safe before knowing the events- the feeling of desperation when you realize you’re in a different time zone unable to call your loved ones- the rush when you try to compile a list of every person you know and love in Paris (which is many) to try and contact them- was disturbing. However, it showed just how important of a role Facebook had played in my life on Saturday. Having the option to click Safe and display that status to your friends on Facebook provided me the biggest relief I have felt in my life. It gave me a comprehensive list of all the people who had marked themselves as safe from the attacks. Even I who live in Paris, had been marked safe as a friend, to make sure those who might not know I was in India, could be made aware I was alive. It proved news finds you nowadays, when you wake with Whatsapp, and that it replaced many other forms of communication including phone calls. Social Media is here to stay; it is an integral part of our lives so we better know how to use it.
Overall, we had a very productive discussion and some chole bathura to end the session with a bang!
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