Class of 2010 Social Media for Social Change Graduation

It was a great experience and witnessing how lives was reconstructed during the year’s Social Media for Social Change activities. People from different backgrounds and ages came to join this years session. It was wonderful to see how some of these graduates started their own blogs and even starting their own business with the skills they have acquired during the sessions. This year we had 35 graduates in total from the Mom3.0 and Reconstructed session.

Bloggers of year:

Gary Saaiman, Melanie Willie and Melissa Johnson – They were the most active on the Blogosphere and started their own blogs.

Micro Bloggers of the year:

Megan Hickley and Wendy Jefferies – These two ladies were the most active on the micro blogging platform. The team put Megan to a challenge she had to get 1000 tweets within 3 day but she did it in 7 days.

Social Media Enthusiast:

Vanessa Martin and Porchia Johnson – These two ladies came into our sessions not knowing anything about Social Media as they journeyed through we saw their growth and how to use Social Media to the max.

Social Media Socialite:

Jackie Biggs – Social Media Socialite was the Grand Prize Jackie Biggs was the most active and using all forms of Social Media tools that she has learned during the sessions. There was nothing that kept her from missing a class, with the prizes that she received and what she has learned will definitely be a endeavor worth keeping an eye on.

Well done to all the graduates of class 2010. Check out the pics of the graduation here



Nokia Supports RLabs Graduation

The power of Social Media never seems to amaze us and especially when we have global brands that take an interest in local communities. Last week I sent out a tweet asking for sponsors for the RLabs annual graduation. This is the day when we celebrate the work by our community members who persevered and completed their course in using Social Media for Social Change.

It was therefore with great excitement when moments later RLabs got a response from Nokia RSA via twitter (@NokiaRSA) who offered to sponsor our Mom 3.0 and Reconstructed Programmes. Nokia will donate two special prizes (Nokia C 6 handsets) that will go to two deserving students who showed the most improvement during 2010.

RLabs would therefore like to thank Nokia for these amazing prizes that will go to the community members who have showed that with hard work and perseverance anything is possible.


YouTube and Women

RLabs had another Mom3.0 Cafe Session on Saturday past. The ladies all came really early and were ready for the session. It was the continuation of Vlogging and Blogging.

Below is a video clip of Melissa Johnson, one of the younger moms:

This is a video clip of Francis Herbert, one of the older moms being interviewed by one of the team members:

The rest of the ladies updated their Facebook and Twitter statuses and checked their emails.

The women also blogged on the Mom3.0 Blog and viewed each others videos on YouTube. It is always good to read what they have to say about one another’s status updates and the encouraging words left as comments.

Source: Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs)


Older Adults growing on Social Networks

Over the past year we’ve seen an increase in interest from community members who are keen to be active on Social Networking sites. The Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs) have been running Social Media programmes for adults over the past 2 years and this year they’ve experienced high volumes of participants in all their classes. The interesting fact about this is that the members who were excited about Social networking were those who are 50+ and this is supports the research done by Pew Internet. According to a study by Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist:

“Social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older has nearly doubled—from 22% to 42% over the past year. While social media use has grown dramatically across all age groups, older users have been especially enthusiastic over the past year about embracing new networking tools. Although email continues to be the primary way that older users maintain contact with friends, families and colleagues, many users now rely on social network platforms to help manage their daily communications—sharing links, photos, videos, news and status updates with a growing network of contacts.

Half (47%) of internet users ages 50-64 and one in four (26%) users age 65 and older now use social networking sites.
Half of online adults ages 50-64 and one in four wired seniors now count themselves among the Facebooking and LinkedIn masses. That’s up from just 25% of online adults ages 50-64 and 13% of those ages 65 and older who reported social networking use one year ago in a survey conducted in April 2009. Young adult internet users ages 18-29 continue to be the heaviest users of social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, with 86% saying they use the sites. However, over the past year, their growth paled in comparison with the gains made by older users. Between April 2009 and May 2010, internet users ages 50-64 who said they use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn grew 88% and those ages 65 and older grew 100% in their adoption of the sites, compared with a growth rate of 13% for those ages 18-29. (See image below)”


The full report can be downloaded here.


Geeky Moms using blogging to share their stories

Over the weekend we had our Mom 3.0 session and as per usual it is great to see how they are using Social Media to share their life stories. In the group of about 30 moms the most senior blogger in the group is our 69 year old Grandmother. What was exciting to see is that the session was managed by one of our Graduates Monique Ross (She’s the Geek) who has been doing some amazing things in the technology space by also encouraging other women to use Social media to share their stories. Most of these women have NO formal education and NO computer literacy. Some of the topics that the women will be covering in the RLabs Social Media for Social Good training are:

– Email and Web Literacy
– Social networking
– Micro-blogging
– Blogging
– File-sharing sites
– Instant messengers
– Social Bookmarking

We will be following closely how these women develop over this year and looking forward engaging with them on the various Social media platforms.


RLabs’ Mom 3.0 programme impacting lives of Women

Over the last few weeks RLabs started their Mom 3.0 programme that saw many women being impacted by being empowered to share their stories with the world. The Mom 3.0 programme is a follow-up to the Mom 2.0 programme with a short description below:

“Mom3.0 café sessions are hosted for women from the community who are housewives, unemployed, been through divorce and abuse and have stories of hope to share with other women. All the women knew nothing about computers but were willing to take up the challenge to learn. Café sessions are run every alternate Friday teaching the ladies the use of New and Social Media to share their stories and they learn technologies such as GMAIL, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging Flickr, Youtube, internet research, Google docs, Google calendar and Skype.

Another initiative that emerged from the this project is a Social Media programme for young girls who come from broken and dysfunctional homes, orphanages and abusive backgrounds. Social Media is used as a tool to teach the young girls Life skills and giving them a voice to share their stories and to encourage other young girls.”

What also excites me is that the programme is currently being managed by last year’s graduates of The Reconstructed under the supervision of Terence Hendricks. Below is a video of one of the moms sharing more about why she joined the Mom 3.0 programme.


Women increasingly active on Social Media Sites

This morning the Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs) team had their weekly Social Media session with women from the community at a local coffee shop (Read ShestheGeek review of the morning here). The focus of the session was ensuring the understanding of how to maximise the mobile devices and how it could be used as a tool to contribute and engage with the rest of the world. However, what is interesting is how well the women of all ages have adopted the use of Social Media in their daily lives.

For many of these women blogging, being active on various micro-blogs and social networks are so important that most of their Social Media activities are via their mobile phones. With the training that RLabs have been offering over the past few years more women have signed up to Social Media sites than men. We’ve also seen the women on average being more active on these sites than their male counterparts. This is also indicated in an Infograph by the team at Flowtown showing the demographic of the top 7 Social Media Sites.


Social Media for Social Change – South African Edition

Below just a presentation to indicate some of the activities at RLabs and how we using Social Media for Social Change. These include Social Media training with mothers and women from Cape Flats community (Mom 3.0), ex-drug addicts and unemployed (The Reconstructed), Senior Mobile Sessions and Social Media for Teenagers. Other activities also includes the Social Media Surgeries where we bring Social Media to the people and our latest offering to address unemployment, The Social Media Factory. Through all these activities we’ve seen many people’s lives transformed and with already 276 community members trained in Social Media, we are looking forward to expanding these services to other areas in South Africa.