This past Thursday I presented my very first webinar, The Digital Duel: Resistance and Repression in an Online World, which looked at the emerging role of digital tools, new media, and the Internet in waging nonviolent struggle across the world. It also looked at how repressive regimes are also using these same tools to censor and clamp down on dissent and civic mobilization.
With this webinar I also wanted to utilize some social media strategy prior to the presentation. So in addition to simply promoting the webinar via various networks – which is very one way mode of communication, not really leveraging the power of social media – I also posted a question on Facebook and sent an email out to all the registrants asking them to respond. The question was: “what do you think has more power in a conflict, a gun or a video camera?” I got a lot of great responses that I then incorporated into my presentation
This strategy worked well for a couple reasons. First, as a webinar presenter I know little to nothing about those who have registered. All we ask for when they register is their name, email address, and in what country they live. So, reading their responses prior to webinar gives me at least a little window into what they are thinking about this topic already or what kind of experience they have using digital tools and the Internet. Second, the responses helped me better organize some of the points I wanted to make. Third, during my webinar I acknowledged several of the people who responded to the questions, which I think is a nice way to incorporate others into the presentation, even if we are thousands of miles away from one another.
I helped set up ICNC’s academic webinar series last February of 2010 and have coordinated and facilitated over 1o webinars since then with scholars and topics such as like Dr. Les Kurtz (Backfire), Dr. Stephen Zunes (Nonviolent Movements in the Islamic World), and Dr. Erica Chenoweth (Civil Resistance Quantified), Dr. Cynthia Boaz (Media Frames of Civil Resistance), Dr. Lee Smithey (Collective Identity). It has been is a great way to connect learners from across the globe.One of my main goals with this webinar was to generate some interest in the topic and hopefully connect with others who are studying and/or practicing in this field so that I could gain further insights and knowledge from them.