Guest blog – Jere Sullivan, Edelman

You’re never too old to go online…

I remember my former boss Mike Deaver telling me a story about Ronald Reagan being approached by a much younger reporter during his run up to his presidency and being asked, “Don’t you feel you are too old to be in touch with the issues of the younger generation?” Masterfully, Reagan quipped, “I know a lot more about being young than I do about being old.” That bit of wisdom was completely embraced by the Elders – a group of senior statesmen and women including Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson who are campaigning on the issue of human rights. In concert with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and a celebration in concert with International Human Rights Day in Cape Town, South Africa, I suggested to Mary Robinson the need for them to connect with the social media sphere. It’s true that the Elders have a website and were launching an initiative Every Human has Rights — which is seeking to secure one billion supporters (a pretty lofty goal, but why not shoot for the stars.) to take an online pledge, but they were only engaging on the periphery. Mary completely embraced the idea and recognized the need to have their voice heard in the social media space as well as the traditional media space. She and two of her esteemed colleagues Graça Machel and Desmond Tutu, joined a conference call with a half dozen recognized human rights bloggers from Global Voice. The group not only delivered their position but also listened to questions and suggestions from the bloggers. I am a communications not a human rights expert, but I believe this move by the elders reinforced the point that social media has no age requirements attached to it. It also demonstrated that if you want to engage on issues of social relevance you cannot ignore the social media. You can listen to an audio recording of the conversation here (thanks to Preetam Rai).

[tags] Mary Robinson, Desmond Tutu, Every Human has Rights [/tags]

Categories Technology

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