In 2008, we started using social networks in Tunisia. I was studying mass media and communication and I was working as a freelance journalist with a well-known Tunisian newspaper. I remember once, I have published an article about social networks. I said that Facebook is a huge database for the United States. One has to mention that the Internet was invented by the Pentagon.
In 2011, the Revolution took place in Tunisia. Some thought that it’s a Facebook. Nothing has been scientifically proven. Since that date, I became interested in social networks but my point of view was different. Although, I believe that these social networks, which are owned by the United States, can be beneficial to other areas (economy, culture.etc.).
From 2011, I started doing research about social networks. I subscribed in most social networks, just to determine the specifics of each network and observe the behavior of people, whatever the field of use of these digital social networks … I created Facebook pages and groups… I tried to read all books (published all over the world) which talk about this issue… and I tried to build online relationships with experts around the world…. And I remember when I presented my master to Mr. Renaud De La Brosse (a French researcher), he appreciated the topic because it has never been treated. My master thesis was talking about the use of social networks by politicians. I wanted to know if politicians’ Facebook pages are considered as an area of democracy and free speech. I analyzed the behavior and reactions of users. My Director of Research has also encouraged me. So, I got my master’s with honors and I had the price of scientific excellence from the University of Manouba. Moreover, my research document was composed of more than 400 pages. The jury thought that this was a PHD dissertation.
I have got a doctoral scholarship from the Ministry of Higher Education to achieve my PHD in Montreal University (Canada) but I haven’t found a Research Director for the September session. I was obliged to wait until the February session. Meanwhile, I gave up my job as a communication consultant and public relations at a communication agency and I joined the Central University as an educational coordinator of journalism and communication department, a university teacher and Communications Officer. I use social networks to teach (http://fr.slideshare.net/BelNou/un-modle-denseignement-dun-cours-en-ligne)
At the same time, I was active in community life. So as a member of the Tunisian Social Media Club, I has organized with friends many workshops dealing with topics related to social networks. I have been even involving my students. As a case in point, the workshop about social TV.
I felt underpaid in my new job. So I enrolled in the Tunisian PHD program. I chose to analyze the experience of television on social networks. This time, three approaches have heckled me: the sociological approach, the economic approach and the legal approach.
At the end of December, I presented to my boss a communication strategy for 2014 in which I talked about social networks. He appreciated my report and told me that he intended to create a community management service of which I will be responsible. No university in Tunisia has a community management team and even companies work with the agency of communication and marketing. At first, the launch of such service was not easy because there aren’t people who have degrees in this field in Tunisia. The minority who works in this area are graduated of universities of marketing, communication and business. And then I prepared a training program for new recruits.
The service of the community management was composed of twenty community managers. They provided content on social networks of the University. You have to know that the Central University has nine official Facebook pages, a twitter account, a Linkedin account, a Google + page and a YouTube channel. It has also unofficial Facebook pages.
- Facebook Pages
- Twiter account
- Linkedin account
- YouTube Channel
On social networks of the Central University, you will find the news of its schools (6 schools). The service also covers instantly some events. And the service provides content for the university’s websites. It has 6 websites.
At the end of each month, the service provided a final report consisting of four parts: Internet monitoring, social networks, claims and proposals.
The service cooperated with the web service, graphic service and audiovisual service. But each person working at the University represents a source of information. And community managers have learned the art of photography and editing. The end of this experience was in December 2014.
Meanwhile, I organized several workshops to convince people by the importance of social networks. I launched in April 2014, the first call in Tunisia about New Media literacy. And I even started scientific research. The Last one was presented in Toulon (France), in June 2014. The topic was on the role of social networks in spreading the Turkish series « Harem Soltan / The magnificent century) as an example. And I have contacted the community managers of social networks of this famous series in different Arab countries. So, whenever any approach interested me … I tried to get more information on it.
Then, I considered the community manger team as a focus group which would allow me to propose a plan to develop this field.
To organize occasional workshops about social networks is interesting but I am more interested in scientific research. A minority of people in Tunisia has an idea about this job and a minority also knows that they are being manipulated on the Net. I want firstly to teach people the best use of social networks and how to take advantage but I also want to know the right way to influence the public opinion on Internet and how to use digital social networks.
This is my story with social media.