Impassion Afghanistan has opened registration for its flagship event – the Afghan Social Media Summit (ASMS). This annual technology conference, now in its third year, covers current trends, best practices and issues in the fast-growing social media space of Afghanistan.
In past years, the three-day event has attracted an extensive line-up of industry experts and practitioners from Afghanistan and around the world.
“ASMS is a cross between the world-famous ‘TED Conferences”’, an “unconference,” and a hackathon,” explains Ben Bruges, programs director at Impassion Afghanistan.
“We aim to bring together over 1,000 participants and speakers from all over Afghanistan and abroad to Kabul with the goal to connect and develop the burgeoning Afghan social media community,” he adds.
And it is indeed a burgeoning community. According to recent reports, internet users in Afghanistan have grown from 9% in 2013 to 12.3% in 2014. Nearly 1.3 million of Afghans are on social media, and over a million just on Facebook – a popular social networking platform. As these numbers steadily rise, an event such as ASMS could help pave the way for a productive use of technology for development.
“Social media has played an important role in drawing attention to social issues, especially women’s issues,” says Faiqa Sultani, a Kabul-based artist and an avid social media user. Sultani was a participant at the Summit last year and is also a contributer to Paiwandgāh.
“Take, for instance, the case of Farkhunda. Social media was used to bring accountability in her case,” Sultani elaborates, citing the case of the young woman who was wrongly accused of burning the Koran and beaten to death by a mob in Kabul, earlier this year. Several videos of the attack went viral on social media and were used to identify the assailants.
“Social media has empowered women in many ways. Even those women who are without education and confined to their homes, have access to social media,” she adds.
In fact, the impact of social media is a recurring theme at the Summit every year. Eileen Guo, co-founder of Impassion Afghanistan, stressed on the importance of this influence in her opening remarks last year. “Social media is more than just the platforms themselves. The impact of social media is perhaps even more important than the technology,” she had stated.
Watch the entire clip here:
The Summit is already gaining traction on the Twitterverse. Afghan social media users are tweeting about the event and on impact of social media, using the hashtag #ASMS2015:
— Esmatullah Zeerak (@esmatzeerak) September 1, 2015
— Daud Hamidi (@DaudHamidi) August 30, 2015
— Matin Yaqubi (@mateenyaqubi) July 5, 2015
Much like in past years, #ASMS2015 will also feature tech demos, exhibitions, panel discussions and interactive workshops offered by some of the leading experts from Afghanistan and abroad.
“Our staff has worked hard to put together a truly spectacular event that informs, educates and exposes the Afghan netizens to the latest in the world of social media and technology,” says Ahmad Shuja, managing partner at Impassion Afghanistan.
“Many of the speakers are highly sought-after international stars in their fields and will be speaking in Afghanistan for the first time.”#ASMS2015 is co-sponsored by the Embassy of the United States and is supported by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, and Ministry of Information and Culture. Our broadcast media partners are Shamshad TV, and the print and online media partners are Pajhwok Afghan News.
If you are a social media enthusiast in Afghanistan and wish to attend the event, register for the #ASMS2015, here.
Disclosure: Paiwandgāh is a project under the ‘Afghan Social Media Summit’ operated by Impassion Afghanistan