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Using Technology for Social Change

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October 15, 2009

BOSTON - From Facebook to Cable Access, communication technology has made its way into the hands of anyone who has the will. Now that most people have ways to get their message across to the masses, a number of media professionals and community organizers will share ideas about how to use new media effectively for social change at a conference in Boston this weekend.

Topper Carew, a filmmaker and consultant to the Boston Neighborhood Network, will be speaking at the event. Carew's recent film aimed at encouraging Boston's inner-city youth to end the cycle of violence was successful in sending a positive message. He says kids are bombarded with violent images in the media, and it's time for citizens to take matters into their own hands to effect change.

"It's not going to change until we begin to take hold of this new media, and begin to use it in our toolboxes, in the interest of empowering people, in the interest of a different kind of messaging."

Jason Pramas, editor and publisher of Open Media Boston, an Internet news publication, says that in order for nonprofits or individuals to successfully engage the public by using social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook, there needs to be involvement on a daily basis.

"You also have to be having conversations with people; it can't be just a one-way thing where you're throwing out information. You've got to encourage people to talk back, and you've got to also respond to them when they push content your way."

The Grassroots Use of Technology conference is on Friday and Saturday (October 16th & 17th) at Northeastern University in Boston. Information is at www.tsne.org

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA