The backpack is filling up … what to take and what to leave behind? Every time the same debates in an attempt to pack small, but I can tell you, whatever – I’m not going to look like the only picture I could find on sxc.hu of a woman with a backpack!
Over the last few weeks, we’ve fought our way through snow, rain and wind, and I’ve hovered in front of my woodburning stove… part of me thinks – what is life going to be like next week… aside from hot and a great contrast to what I’m becoming used to “oop north”! I’m not sure that I can anticipate … but definitely open to the possibilities!
Some of the things I’m still thinking about:
- We’re truly going to see for ourselves – we can’t all go, but we can allow Tearfund givers to ‘see for themselves’ – through our lens – to see where our ££ are going.
- I truly hope that the community gains something from our visit to, and that it’s seen as a joint journey … rather than us visiting a former colony!
- For many of us, all we’ve ever seen of Africa is the sad images of swollen stomachs … but this trip is about stories of a community that has been transformed – largely through its own efforts – with support from Tear Fund. We all need to work more collaboratively and I’m excited to see that in practice…
- We’ve sometimes had debates as to whether to digital should be as much of a human right as food and water .. how will this trip sway my views?
In all of this, the power of digital is in allowing us to share stories. Social Media in particularly relies upon networks of networks, and each individual share/comment, etc. is to be treasured… as each gives us an opportunity to share with a slightly wider audience. (We often talk in terms of Twitter – if you have 500 followers, and someone with 5000 followers retweets you — then your potential audience has grown to 5500 – actual audience will be much smaller, but the law of statistics…)
So, as we prepare to head off, camera in hand… what questions would you like to ask of the people living there? Do we go deep, or look for one of those ‘whiteboard’ type “The Bible means…” type content? We can then put some of those questions to them!
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.