On Thusday, TweeSurfing turned two workshops old, as CSR team members, along with Ms. Mahima Kaul (Head of Policy at Twitter India) headed to Amity University’s Noida Campus.
TweeSurfing is our collaboration with Twitter, to promote online safety and counter speech, so as to enable a safe and positive social media experience. After a successful workshop in Coimbatore, it was time for Delhi NCR to be acquainted with the intricacies of Twitter.
The workshop began with a the Social Fencing exercise, which sought to essentially make everyone understand how straight-jacketed our thinking tends to be, and how mental blocks often come in the way of effective communication.
Following this, the need and importance of Twitter as an effective and easy social media tool was discussed, and some fun facts were discussed- such as when Twitter started and why 140 characters is the maximum limit for a tweet.
This was followed by an interesting “obstacle course” activity, for which a volunteer was asked to come forward. Bowling pins were placed in a straight line, and he was asked to walk to the other side, without touching any of the bowling pins. Once done, he was blindfolded, and asked to repeat the same activity, but unknown to him, the pins were now removed. Still he walked carefully, thinking that the pins were there. The activity was conducted to give the message that sometimes earlier obstacles, cease to exist, but due to the metaphorical blindfolds, we are not able to go past them, and continue to work in previous ways. In a similar manner, stereotypes and old practices, might have been relevant earlier, but we need to remove the blindfolds, and see their relevance in today’s times. Thus, it was reiterated that all social media privacy settings are constantly updated and revised, and it is important for users to be aware of them, and go through their settings on a regular basis.
This was followed by the Tanagram communication exercise, where eight participants were divided into two groups of four. One group was given a picture, and one was given the tanagram blocks, and the first group had to verbally express what it is that the second group is supposed to make with the blocks. This seemingly simple exercise was done so as to explain the importance of clear and effective communication, especially in context of social media.
Next up, Mahima from Twitter, went on to discuss some interesting cases where Twitter has proved to be extremely helpful, such as the Chennai floods and Assam floods. This was followed by an interesting discussion on counter speech, and the need to be more sensitive online. Recent case studies were then shown to the participants, and the importance of counter speech in effective online communication was delineated.
To end the workshop, a final activity was conducted. This was related to the four pillars of online communication – Block, Engage, Mute and Report. Eight volunteers were asked to come forward, and they engaged in an interesting activity, wherein verbal instructions had to be given effectively by one partner to the other, to ensure that the ball at the centre wouldn’t topple over. The idea behind this was to explain that these four techniques are ways to engage in online communication, and they need to be used in tandem to ensure a safe and enjoyable online experience.
The workshop, highly interactive and engaging in nature, was a huge hit with the students and faculty alike, who felt the need to be more active on Twitter, and use it for their personal and academic interests.
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