A recent Reuters report states that "Afghan social media war steps up with new campaign". I was puzzled since only 2 million out of 30 million Afghanistan population have internet. But Social Media has surprised everybody when it comes to its intended use. Without a bullet, the mighty words typed from keyboard are influencing today's society. Afghanistan, which is re-building is no exception to this rule.
Not sure if the new Afghan generation got a chance to see this video by Film Annex Founder/CEO Francesco Rulli talking about social media strategies. It is a worth watch and has lot of insights into Social Media.
With so many ideas flowing in, Social Media influence in the upcoming Afghanistan cannot be denied. Here is an interesting Interview with Journalist, Angela Shah - Social Media, Afghanistan, Women's Empowerment
While Afghan journalists are still fighting for press freedoms and media laws, the major use of Social media has been by the people who are between the military and the government. The normal people who want calm and bright future have got a medium to voice their opinion. On Another front troops and militants have used social media to spread propaganda and claim victories.
A common method of showing displeasure with the government has been suicide bombings or riots which get the life to a standstill. Though all have a right to show their opinion, it does not mean that the livelihoods of millions of Afghanis get affected. The poorly trained Afghan security establishments are not strong enough to manage/save its citizen. The young media-savvy Afghans have vented their frustration out through social media tools to express their dismay at the destruction bought by the riots.
Since the 2001 ousting of the former Taliban government by U.S.-backed Afghan troops, Afghans have access to better phones and communications. But still majority of population live in simple homes. Previous Taliban government banned internet saying it had anti Islamic material. But today even the militant group understand the power of social networking and frequent promote their messages through various social media sites.
Access to internet seems to be a distant dream still for lot of Afghanis. While Internet cafe use has sprouted in towns and cities, the use of social media has mainly been confined to issues, which are more difficult for mainstream media to confront without provoking a backlash. Some groups within Afghanistan are also launching campaign to encourage government officials, rights groups and aid organizations to widen the use of social media. Such campaigns also sought to dismiss any negative conceptions of the Internet among the conservative Afghan Society.
Though it is difficult to say if Social Media can Change the Face of Afghanistan, It is for sure bringing some more awareness. With the role social media already played during uprisings across the Middle East, Social media could definitely help million of Afghanistan to safeguard political and social freedoms.
Mick Gibson is digital native with over 13 years experience in all things
web. He shares his experience on Social Media and Retargeting in the below video