Resources & Tools
ILO in Lebanon is hiring for the Project: Action Programme for Protecting the Rights of Women Migrant Domestic Workers (WMDWs) in Lebanon. Below are links to the vacanies. The deadline is July 4.
which will serve as a regular mean of communicating LCPS policy research activities and outputs. In each issue, we will provide our readers with a brief synopsis about our roundtable discussions, our current research projects, conferences we organized and participated in, grants awarded, and upcoming initiatives.
You can check out the first issue April / May 2011 here.
Lawyer Nizar Saghieh and his team have launched a great new resource: the Legal Agenda (Al Moufakkira Al Qanouniyya), which is a monthly publication that carries the philosophy “Don’t leave the law to the legal people.”
You can check out Issue 0 here. Their website is coming soon.
A new resource from Violence is Not our Culture, this toolkit was inspired by the workshops held in Asia and Africa for the partners and members of the Violence is not our Culture (VNC) campaign. While this toolkit has been designed primarily for the local partners and activists of the VNC campaign, this can be a resource, too, for human rights activists who are keen to develop their online activism and want to know where and how to to start.
We are pleased to announce the publication of Strategising Online Activism: A Toolkit. The toolkit is available for free download and distribution. Click here to download the toolkit!
Through this toolkit we hope that campaigners will acquire the following skills:
- An understanding of why and how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be appropriated by women’s rights and human rights groups in their advocacy skills through their use of online tools, including networking and mobile tools for advocacy and campaigning
- The ability to develop an advocacy / communication strategy
- Knowing what social neworking is and the various spaces and tools they could use in their online activism
- An understanding of online privacy and security issues relevant to building their online activism.
So you’re interested in Twitter. Welcome. Here is a guide to help you through your first couple of weeks. It will seem odd and pointless at the beginning but I promise you it’s worth it.
First, register an account. Pick a cool username but keep it short. You will one day be identified by this name in public and in front of your friends, so make sure it is something you actually like. You can always change it later on, but that’s not advisable. You want to build a recognizable handle for yourself.
Go to settings and make changes to set up your profile. Pick a photo to go with your handle. One of your face would be nice, unless you wish to be anonymous, then a cartoon of your face works just fine. Then write a bio. You only have 160 characters so stick to adjectives that describe you. People will read your bio to decide if you would be interesting to follow. Be honest. Don’t repeat your location because that shows already. Here is a good example from @footnem (which is how we refer to Fady online and how we will soon refer to you, by your @username).
Passionate about Tech, Photography, Music, Football, F1 and an Adrenaline junkie extreme sports lover. Living in my own Matrix Universe.
From his bio, you can tell that @footnem will be tweeting (writing updates) about tech, photography, music, football, and formula one. You can also tell he will be quoting the Matrix often and making existential remarks. Do like him and write up a bio that describes you. Then change your background and color scheme into something cool.
And now for the big moment: your first tweet. Most likely, it will look something like this:
Hello twitter! Umm.. what do I do now?
This is really stupid. Why am I here?
Tweet tweet… (or some other joke variation on how you feel like a bird now)
Congratulations. You have shared your first tweet with the world. Except no one is listening… yet. We will get to that part. First, some notes about tweets.
Twitter is a micro-blogging service, which means that you can send little updates in the form of 140 characters at a time. You will learn to be brief with practice. Think of it as writing headlines rather than sentences. Tweets are linked to each other automatically using a system called hashtags. A hashtag is any word preceded by a # sign, such as #Lebanon #tech #love, etc. When you hash a word, it becomes an automatic link to all other tweets that include the same hashtag. It is like a keyword or a tag. For example, if you click on #Lebanon here, it links you to all tweets that are tagged with #Lebanon. Of course, the hashtag must be related to your tweet. Here is an example:
Just watched Blue Valentine in Empire Sodeco and I highly recommend it! #movies
Relationships among tweeps (that’s what we call people on twitter) exist in the form of following. You will see on your profile a list of people you follow and people who follow you. Start off by following some people you find interesting. Here are some good people to start with:
- @funkyozzi Liliane, prolific tweep who also runs some popular blogs
- @sdarine Darine, our Lebanese twittersphere (that’s what we call the twitter universe) mayor
- @aymanitani Ayman, cool guy who is one of the top social media experts in Lebanon
- @mich1mich Micheline, probably the sweetest Lebanese tweep out there
- @UxSoup George, funny dude and techie
- @DanyAwad Dany, friendly tweep who writes mooshy things in Arabic
- @naeema Naeema, bundle of positivity and sunshine, also a designer
- @krikOrianM Mher, great guy and talented photographer
As soon as you start following people, twitter will give you automatic recommendations. Follow those too. Start off with 30-40 people to follow and you will soon find more that interest you. Once you follow people, their tweets will appear in your timeline. They will get a notification that you have followed them and they will most probably then check out your profile. And if they find you interesting, they will follow you back.
Interacting with Other Tweeps
Now it is time to interact with your twitter community. There are two ways to do this: by talking to a tweep and by retweeting what they post. Talking to tweeps is public and anyone can see your tweet (unless you send a direct message, which is private). You do this by simply mentioning the person’s username in a tweet. For example:
@meetsamer hello, how are you today?
Samer (very smart dude you should also follow) will then see your tweet in his “Replies” or “Mentions” timeline. This grabs his attention better than if you just tweeted something without mentioning him, since he can’t possibly read every single tweet in his timeline because he follows hundreds of people. He will then probably click on “reply” and answer you in a tweet. You can also tweet to multiple people in the same update. For example, some tweeps like to say “saba7o” to their twitter friends in the morning like this:
RT: @cedarseed: The latest volume of Malaak is now out in bookstores!
Always give credit to tweeps if you are re-posting something they have said or linked to. Twitter is big on giving credit where credit is due, so don’t go plagiarizing tweets. Always mention where you got them from or else no one will like you.
The most interesting part of twitter (besides meeting cool new people who will eventually become your friends) is the sharing of news and links, which is unmatchable anywhere else. Twitter is a terrific source of news because you are getting links recommended by actual people. To share a link on twitter, simply copy and past the URL into your tweet. For example:
Check out these beautiful designs by a young artist: http://little-miss-pixel.blogspot.com/ #lyrics #graphics #art
Most links, however, are too long to fit into your 140-character limit, so you will need a URL shortener such as bit.ly. Most sites that provide a link to tweet their articles will do this automatically.
That should be enough for you to start out on Twitter. It’s very intuitive so you will quickly get the hang of things. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me (@nmoawad) a tweet and I will be happy to help! You can stop here now or you can continue for more useful tips.
Other Useful Tips
Lebanese Tweeps (#LebTweeps) are also an active community offline. They organize regular tweetups, which are hangouts for people on twitter to meet in person over coffee or drinks or a planned activity. You will read about these when they come up on your timeline, so make sure to join one. The community also (un)organizes a GeekFest which is a cool event that brings us together to learn about techie things through peer presentations.
If you’re worried about your tweets being exposed publicly, you can opt for privacy (protected tweets) in your settings. That way people need to request to follow you before they can see your profile and tweets.
What is #FF?
#FF is a hashtag for “Follow Friday” and is a twitter tradition whereby every Friday, tweeps recommend others that are interesting for their followers to check out. It’s a good way to get introduced to other tweeps and to also share your appreciation for the people you follow. Here is an example:
#FF @migheille for geeky updates and quirky reflections on life with the slowest internet connection on earth
What is +1?
Sometimes tweeps retweet something with a +1 (or + whatever digit) before it to show their approval of what is being said. For example:
+100 RT: @joellehatem: Smoking should be banned in all public places in #Lebanon!
Direct Messages (DM)
You cannot send a direct message to a tweep who does not follow you. But you can mention anyone in your tweets, whether they follow you or not.
Twitter clients are software applications that are an alternative to the twitter website. Two popular examples are TweetDeck and HootSuite. I personally use Echofon, which is a FireFox extension that I find lightweight and easy to use. But you might want to stick to Twitter in your browser for now and then experiment with clients when you have gotten the hang of it.
News Sources, Businesses and Organizations
There are many Lebanese and Arab news sources on twitter that tweet links to their websites, such as: @naharnet @al_akhbar and @nowlebanon. You can follow those too or you can choose tweeps that are very active news sharers such as @BeirutSpring. There are some businesses too but those aren’t very active, except for @AntoineOnline. There are also some active organizations like @nasawiya and @SMEXbeirut.
Lists compile similar tweeps together so that you can see a timeline of all their tweets on the same page. You can add multiple tweeps to a list and you will be added to lists too. Here is one of my lists: Lebanon, which includes 50 tweeps who are in Lebanon. You can use it to find more people to follow.
How many Lebanese are on twitter?
I’m not sure. There are many who live here and many who are abroad. I would estimate at least 500 active tweeps and maybe a couple of thousand if you include the ones who are rarely active. But the community’s growing every day.
Is everyone friendly on twitter?
No, just like in your offline life. Most people are very polite and friendly, but you will bump into a few bullies. Unfollow people who annoy you and if it gets to a point of harassment, you can block them from accessing your profile.
Live Updates & Citizen Journalism
Twitter is a great way to get quick bits of news across from an event. This works best if you have a twitter app installed on your smartphone and if it allows you to upload photos and videos.
There you go. Happy tweeting!
This post was originally published on the Young Feminist Wire here.
I spent the last weekend at an inspiring feminist retreat here in Lebanon where a group of 15 young feminists got together to evaluate and strategize their collective work. The group was diverse in its age range from early 20s to early 30s, in its level of expertise from experienced activists to newcomers, and also in its activism strategies from community workers to writers and researchers. It was, therefore, important for us to ensure that everyone had an equal space to express their views.
Besides planning our work for the next six months, we also really wanted to revitalize our energies and rekindle our team spirit because, like all groups, we were going through a bit of a rough patch in working together. And so one of our members suggested an idea that was brilliant in doing just that and I thought I would share it with all of you and highly recommend that you use it in your meetings or retreats. The activity is called Rounds of Appreciation, and here’s how it went.
At the end of every panel, we all took turns appreciating every speaker. In a few sentences, we each expressed what we value most about that person, be it her work or her personality, showing gratitude for all the great things she brings into our lives. It was a surprise to all of us just how much we were grateful for in each other. And to all of us, being appreciated meant so much more than any reward or compensation. We forget, often, as we go through our busy days, trying hard to hand in that article on time, or make it to that meeting, or follow up on that project, or respond to that sexist song, to stop and say thank you to each other. And so it was extremely touching and important to hear – especially from people who are our friends and fellow feminists – those words: I appreciate you.
It led to an amazingly positive retreat and framed all debates and discussions in a loving environment that has spilled over to the dozens of other members of our feminist community. Try it! And let us know how it goes. Also, feel free to share your own activist tools and strategies on the Wire so that we can learn best practices from each other.
Today, a bunch of us arrived in Cairo, Egypt in preparation for our meeting to design and launch a network of peer support for young feminists in the Arab world. Exciting!
I have big hopes set for this meeting (organized and led by women under 30) and for a new wave of young feminism that is of and for our region. The first thing I want to share with you is that we set out from the beginning to be a network that depends very little on money. Indeed, you can see it reflected in our choice of venue for the accommodation of our meeting participants, the Lotus Hotel in Cairo,which also housed participants of the Gaza Freedom March last December. We have grown accustomed, in the NGO world, to put our participants up in fancy hotel rooms and conference halls. This is the first time that I am actually spending my nights in a youth hostel that costs $25 a night for a double room. Who said we need to raise tens of thousands of dollars to hold a regional conference? Take a look at these simple rooms in the pictures. This is what a feminist meeting looks like!
Friends, Arab Techies & SMEX have teamed up to host a meeting in Lebanon on May 11 – May 15. The objective is for women techies to meet up, exchange skills & ideas, discuss collaborations, talk about tech from a gender perspective, and network. I met with @jessdheere last week and had previously met @manal two years ago, the two women working on this meeting & proposed that our new Take Back the Tech / Arabia program which we just launched at Nasawiya two weeks ago partner up with the organizers to support young women using technology for social change.
The agenda of the meeting is very flexible. Participants will be proposing different workshops they’d like to give / receive. It’s very open & we can ensure it turns out to be a kickass empowering feminist meeting! So please read more here and email email@example.com to participate. The organizers are sponsoring 30 female participants from across the Arab world. Join us! Feel free to contact me as well if you need to ask or suggest anything. The main criteria are:
- Techie (i.e. works with technology, not only internet technology but also communications, engineering, software, hardware, etc..)
- Interested in the intersection of gender and tech
- Able to come to Lebanon May 11 – 1
Yalla hurry up! They’re on a rolling deadline – as soon as the participants are closed, they will close.
Please forward to all of your friends who might be interested!
I just finished customizing the otherwise bland WordPress theme (Impulse from WPZoom.com) and SawtAlNiswa.com is looking good! Also check out my first post there, a photo I took in Hamra of a new slimming capsule for women called “Starvex.” True (and sad) story.
As you know, I am a little obsessed with WordPress and will be giving workshops and tutorials to friends & fellow activists. As part of building a Gender & IT program at @Nasawiya, the feminist collective, we are kicking off this Saturday, February 6 with a WordPress training. It’s free, you can learn more & sign up here.
Truth be told, the purpose of the training is to upgrade the nasawiya.org website to wordpress
The training is will take place at the IndyACT office in Mar Mikhael (call 01-447192 for directions) with a wireless connection for those of you who want to try out features during the workshop. To register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a little bit about you. We have 15 places available and priority goes to young women and young activists of both or neither gender.