Our biggest assignment for the young leadership program in Sweden was to come up with ideas for a social media networking solution for 2010. My group, The Frozen 5, contained a Palestinian human rights activist, a Swedish journalist, a Syrian architect, am Egyptian media teacher, and me – Jordanian web developer/blogger.
Inspite of the horrible lengthy debates that took place between us, and the hardship we faced trying to communicate between each other, we were able to deliver an excellent idea, nice prototype and wonderful presentation at the end of the program.
What would we do to help increasing freedom of expression as a social media networking solution that isn’t already out there on the web?
It was a challenging question. We started thinking of what draws us to the internet, and what is the common trait of us – the young leaders participants of the program -. The answer was simple and clear: It is OUR PASSION to defend our VALUES. Isn’t it the same thing that we all share? Isn’t it what made blogging popular?
And so, the idea of creating a “facebook” based on values popped up. A social media network solution where people gather based on their values or issues they are interesting in.
Ofcourse, that was not enough for originality. We needed more, and so we asked ourselves. How do people communicate their values now on the web? What forms of debates are taking place? We looked out there and found message forums, email groups and blogs! All work in a linear form, where someone post a topic and people reply. There is no real HEAD to HEAD debate anywhere on the internet.
That is how the Debate Arena emerged! A place where two people (for now) can go head to head in debating a certain issue/value (see climate change scenario image below). I have always wished to go head to head against Qwaider (:P). Two people challenging each other while having all the resources that they can gather to support their views, and they can invite their friends to support them right below their debate. Supporters (like in blogs) can add comments, they can add videos/images/audio that would help the argument of each contender. And finally, they can vote! A voting that would decide the winner of the debate (if they want a win/lose debate). The winner gets a small icon indicating his win in a debate of a certain issue along with the number of votes he got. Eventually active people in different issues would be collecting many winning icons that would distinguish them as leaders in that area.
We also introduced the friendly arena module which would work as a group arena where people sharing the same values would group themselves, add group feed, and check out which group members are engaged in a debate so that to go and give support.
The project wasn’t meant to stop at this stage. They asked us to think of a potential sources of funding and methods of developing it. We haven’t yet started searching for funding. Today the Swedish Institute Project manager of the program – Wonderful Sweed Javeria – sent us an email telling us that she started looking into this issue to help us (Thank you Javeria).
I personally think that no one would develop this better than people of itoot/ikhbis/watwet…etc. I so admire your work people. I don’t know how much money we would need, and if you would be interested working on this. Maybe I would have to contact Ahmed Humaid? I am just too excited about this project and can see a lot of potential to it.
I personally believe that social arena would grow to help future generation of leaders to emerge.
PS: Don’t steal this idea! 😛