As a Social Media consultant I often write about the how, what, why and tips and tricks to make your experience more rewarding. As much as I love doing that, Social Media is much more than that – it represents a fundamental shift in our lives – a shift that can be compared to the impact of the printing press or the industrial revolution.

With the help of many friends I co-organized an event yesterday that brought the struggle of the Syrian people into our small city of Kelowna, BC.

Social Media is a revolution in the way we communicate

Wikipedia: A revolution (from the Latin revolutio, “a turn around”) is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that take place in a relatively short period of time 

Social Media is more than Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

Social Media connects; it empowers and enables us to collaborate in real time. Never before in history could ideas and opinions travel with such ease. Never before was it as difficult to suppress the flow of ideas. Oppressors can try to block Facebook or Twitter but you can’t turn the clock back on the way we share thoughts and ideas.

News doesn’t break anymore – it tweets. Real time mobile social media tools empower us – they take us from being willing consumers of edited news feeds to being citizen journalists. We become the news source for journalists.

This communication revolution enables us to know about the atrocities committed in countries like Syria. It makes it much more difficult for dictators to kill their people quietly. Social Media makes it much easier for freedom fighters to connect to their supporters and us.

Social Media is about communication – it does not hinder communication but facilitates it!

Last night we organized a very special event talking about what is going on in Syria and the role Social Media plays in the fight for the freedom for the Syrian people and supporters here in Canada. With the help of Skype we invited 4 knowledgeable experts into the Bohemian Cafe in Kelowna.

  • Yaman Marwah a Syrian activist living in Ottawa who told us first hand about the struggles of the Syrian People
  • Jeanne Remko a student at SFU Vancouver whose parents are Kurdish Syrians and who is very involved in the continued protests in Canada, supporting the fight to remove Assad from power
  • Dr. Bessma Momani associate professor of political science at the University of Waterloo. Her family in Syria is clearly afraid. Dr Bessma shared insightful analysis of the political changes that need to occur for lasting change in Syria
  • Omar Alghabra a former MP and community activist in Mississauga Ontario offered his insights on Canada’s role in Syria and his view of a constructive replacement of the Assad regime without military intervention
  • Adam Jones, Associate Professor of Political Science at UBCO moderated the discussion with intelligent questions and insightful comments

Find more information about the experts here: [button variation=”blue” url=””] Read More [/button]

We all learned a lot about the struggle in the daily lives of those living in Syria as well as the fears of those with family and friends in the country. We learned about the role Canada plays or could play and discussed the future of Syria after the Assad regime is finally removed.

Most interesting for me was the role Social Media tools play in the support of the Syrian Spring. The unfiltered news and video footage jumps over regulations enforced by a military state. These reports supplement the reports that official news media can report from the country. Social Media tells us the story of the average person in Syria.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube also help in organizing the support here in Canada and community organizers like Yaman successfully use them to raise funds and awareness.

The Twitter #hashtag was #SyriaKelowna. I created a summary collection of some of the evening’s highlights (thanks @michelerule for tweeting  from the event on my behalf) [button variation=”blue” url=””] Storify [/button]

The evening was very rewarding for me in many ways. I was able to learn about the situation in Syria first hand and I was able to see the impact Social Media tools have. A lot of lives are spared, a lot of struggles heard because we now have the tools to tell the important stories.

What is your take on the impact of Social Media in situations like this? Please leave a comment to discuss!

 Thank you so much for your help in the event: Okanagan Institute, Alya Ramadan, Michele Rule, Cate Eales, all the panelists and the Bohemian Café, Kelowna, BC

Published by Frithjof

Digital media strategist, coach, community manager and CEO of BlueBird Business Consulting. Blogger, podcaster, content creator and teacher with a passion. Favourite quote: “To succeed in the business of the future we have to become the very people we are trying to reach” ~ Brian Solis

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