“Most decisions made after 2 in the night are usually crazy” (as we know from #HowIMetYourMother). Well, on that day, it was about 2:15 am when my first alarm went off. I generally hate alarms, except for on days when I have to wake up for a cricket match or shoot some hoops or drive far away. In this case, it was the third scenario. As we were heading out to the hills for our first out of station #SocialSurfing workshop.
#SocialSurfing has been quite the adventure- we managed 36 workshops across India in its 1st phase, presented the outcomes in New York at the 60th Commission on Status of Women, made a documentary in Varanasi. All these together added to the movement on cyber literacy, if not leading it.
Our workshops focus upon Cyber etiquette, online safety, Social Media for Social change, Counter Speech. We discuss these ideas through interactive workouts and the aim is to share ideas with young minds, about the beauty of social media and how to curbs its beasts.
Social Surfing is an ever developing module (like modules should be in my opinion) which is highly customizable depending upon the participants and their contexts. As we have a pan India, or rather a global mission, one cannot have a one size fits all approach.
Coming back to my early morning drive. I pick up Arnika, #SocialSurfer numerouno, who has been the master of logistics and ensures that we achieve rather impossible tasks. Off we are to “AMB”, about 400 kilometres from Delhi. It was 4 am in the morning and Delhi streets were still quiet, except for boys dressed in orange carrying the holy water back from Haridwar on foot. We complete the next 400 kilometres in about 4 hours, courtesy our #SocialSurfing wagon (a MahindraTUV300) zipped the highways smoothly. The discussion during the journey revolved around details of the workshop, which exercise should we begin with and how to ensure that we keep the energy level super high.
In the excitement to start off our first workshop, I guess I pressed the metal to the pedal a little too hard, as we reached 2 hours prior to the workshop. Going through the workshop in our minds, we had chai and some aloo ka paratha to keep us occupied.
On arriving in the campus, we were treated with a pleasant surprise, as Amb was starting its #BetiBachaoBetiPadhao campaign from the university. It is a cause very close to our hearts as it’s a campaign CSR has been associated with from the very beginning.
On reaching our venue, only to play into Murphy’s law, as there was no electricity and no projector. Having done workshops across India for the last 9 years, has prepared me for absolutely any kind of last minute changes, but a social media workshop without social media- now this was going to be fun.
Good thing about #SocialMedia is that young people are highly interested in it, which makes life easier for a trainer. We started off our workshop with a quick workout, #SocialFence. A tragedy of our education system is that it tries to mold students into a preset vision, whereas I believe education is the process of unleashing thoughts and discovering horizons for yourself.
It’s always funny when you ask students to ‘draw’ as most college students have not heard that term for over a decade. I reminisce the beautiful kindergarten days when drawing was the most fun activity to be done in the class room. We provide them with food for thought to guide their imagination, to look into social media, their lives, their campus and let the inner Picasso flow.
Once they have completed the drawings we place them all in a row and highlight the similarities. Usually we witness some social media icons, some phones and laptops. But one striking similarity is that everyone draws within the borders, which helps us explain how workshops are intended to push your vision beyond the present psychological borders.
With the initial ice broken, we move to our next workout, #SharingTheVision, which is a fun exercise, as what one needs is a slinky, and you stand on a the teachers desk (a rebellious act I always wanted to do), hang the slinky and ask the students how will it fall.
- Option 1: All of it together (like things do)
- Option 2: Top first, bottom stands still in mid air (against gravity)
- Option 3: Bottom goes up then pulls the top (anti gravity)
Getting students to raise hands for each, we ensure they focus on the slinky, giving it a loud countdown, we involve the students. (Option 2 is the right one). Through this we explain, how it is important to envision your aim before you achieve it & our aim at #SocialSurfing is to create a safe, sensitive, oriented towards social good online space.
These were followed by the #Hurdles and #Bullring workout (both we will highlight in detail in the upcoming blogs). All together an awesome start to #SocialSurfing2.0. Off we were with many thoughts to Mandi our next social surfing workshop location.