Last night, jhr (Journalists for Human Rights) hosted its first ever tweet-up at the Cryptic Canvas Art Gallery. Now I already know the first thought that just ran through all of your minds: “What the hell is a tweet-up?”. Well, it’s a social gathering that gives the local online community the chance to come together and meet face to face…and if you’ve read any of my previous posts here at blogUT, you’ll know I’ve written a few posts about events like these.
As the co-organizer of #tweet4rights, let me give you the low down on what the whole night was about. The premise behind #tweet4rights was to educate jhr’s online followers, many of whom are avid users of Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, of how they could use social media as a means of sharing and promoting Rights Media – media pieces that create societal dialogue on human rights related issues. The whole idea for the event emerged with the realization that more and more ordinary citizens all around the world are using social media tools to reach out to a global audience to report on and expose the rampant human rights violations that are occurring every day. In the past few months, examples of this have been taking the headlines of major news sources (does Iran or China ring a bell?). The use of social media as a tool to raise and spread human rights awareness is becoming so much more prevalent these days that in 2009, a study by the Committee to Protect Journalists reported that for the first time, more online based reporters were arrested and detained that traditional mainstream journalists.