Naureen Aqueel

Technology makes a difference

Posted on: July 7, 2009

An edited version of this article was published in CIO Pakistan, July 2009.

The current humanitarian crisis in Swat has given the online community another chance to rise up to another round of digital activism to mobilize support for a cause. The current campaign of the Pakistani blogging community to mobilize support for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) has earned accolades in the international media.

The Pakistani blogging community in the past few months joined hands to spread awareness about the plight of the IDPs and to call for action to mobilize monetary support for the refugees. Popular Pakistani blog Teeth Maestro has like always been playing a prominent role in the campaign. These bloggers or citizen journalists aim to make a difference by appealing to the national and international community for support.

The blogs have featured posts highlighting the conditions of the IDPs and those providing updates about relief operations in IDP camps. Teeth Maestro, for example, also posted links to real-time Twitter updates on the issue.

The campaign to mobilize support for the IDPs is thus not only limited to bloggers. In fact, including the new media into the picture, one can see social networking communities like Facebook, Orkut and Twitter also playing a commendable role in the campaign. Furthermore, mobile social networking platforms like Chopaal, an initiative by students of LUMS university to provide a web-based SMS service that brings together people of similar interests and keeps them updated on each others activities, is another player in the field. Chopaal set up a group called “IDP” in an effort to quicken the notification process for volunteer opportunities for its members. So, now volunteer opportunities and efforts to mobilize support for the affected citizens of Swat were there right at your finger tips. In this day and age, this leaves no chance for anyone to plead ignorance—it’s time to get out and act!

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