This social media guide aims at promoting African knowledge (in particular about climate change adaptation).
This is the background to the guide, explaining the purpose, structure and caveats of this guide.

This guide is a promising step forward to bridge some gaps regarding awareness about social media for climate change adaptation. Nevertheless, it is only one initiative among many and it is somewhat limited in its scope. It was also compiled in a couple of weeks, limiting the scope that could have gone into this very broad topic.
This section is a word of caution to help readers and users make the best use of this guide while managing expectations.

This guide will:

  • Offer a theoretical overview of the field of social media for African knowledge about climate change adaptation;
  • Provide a number of references which we have found useful based on a number of criteria (recent sources, trustworthiness of the information sources and credibility, free of copyrights etc.);
  • Offer some practical guidance on how to get started with social media;
  • Provide a number of useful additional references to extend reading about the topic beyond the key resources;
  • Give some ideas about how social media can work in combination with other approaches that favour social learning in Africa;

This guide will not:

  • Solve all your problems: each problem has its solution; Some resources and ideas featured in this guide might address your specific needs but other requirements may require other kinds of information and resources. We acknowledge this limitation and hope you do to. In addition, this guide has been compiled with a specific set of target audiences in mind and may thus not be adapted for everyone - e.g. it is not written for policy-makers or for farmers;
  • Pretend to be exhaustive: it is far from covering all resources about social media, about African knowledge or about climate change adaptation. Instead we provide a selection of resources which seems to provide the most useful picture considering the specific objectives of this guide;
  • Give you a step-by-step recipe to make social media workin no time:
    • Social media are very much about 'giving it a try' and 'being shaped by the medium' rather than following a standard approach (because again every problem has a different solution). We do not believe in cookbooks for social media and offer a word of caution against such expectations here;
    • The focus of the guide is to inform readers, not to guide them methodologically in setting up their online presence on these various social media. Training and/or coaching on social media might be required to work practically, although the 'How to get started with all of this?' sub-section might offer some guidance.
    • Finally, using social media with good results takes time. Building a blogging practice takes years, managing and refining one's Twitter network takes months, getting a good hang of wikis takes weeks etc. There is no promise here that a reader will be able to 'get it right' straight ahead.
  • Remain up-to-date very long: Social media change very rapidly and this guide might be rather accurate at the time it is released but will become out-of-date in a matter of months or even weeks if it is not continually updated - the ongoing maintenance of this guide beyond its current mandate is unclear at this stage.

Accepting these limitations will make the use of this guide all the more useful, practical and enjoyable. Social media are a journey in themselves. A journey that aims at promoting African knowledge about such a diverse and profound topic as climate change adaptation calls for a cautious and patient approach, but the fruits can be reaped soon enough and keep on multiplying when keeping track of the objective and keeping the motivation, discipline and playfulness that are central to the success of using social media.