Speak Out Online Conference
SPEAK OUT – an online conference on advocacy has closed but its effect will be ongoing.
This joint venture between The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission and The Salvation Army Ethics Centre of the Canada and Bermuda Territory has been both exciting and effective.
The three streams of teaching and the storytelling element gave biblical, theoretical and practical exposure to the topic of advocacy within a social justice framework.
The basic foundational document to Speak Out was ‘Jesus and Justice’ and this valuable resource will be an available tool to the understanding of social justice.
The presenters to Speak Out have created a significant package of teaching material that will provide a resource to The Salvation Army through its varied on-going dissemination.
Groups used wide-ranging and creative ways to access and maximise exposure to Speak Out. At least one territorial headquarters and one officer training college used group access to the site for training purposes.
Speak Out proved to be a cost effective way to engage in an international forum. The interactive nature of the website allowed for some robust and relational interaction between presenters and delegates.
Much has been learned from this experience and the ongoing use of this medium and the site itself is being considered. The following statistics reveal a very effective access and use of Speak Out.
By the end of the week there were 565 registered delegates. More than 600 others also viewed pages on the Speak Out website. On average, everyone who visited returned more than once.
The website drew traffic from more than 60 different countries. In order of the number of delegates or visitors from each, they were: Canada, United States, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Great Britain, Kenya, Japan, Bahamas, Fiji, Pakistan, Norway, Philippines, Netherlands, South Africa, Russian Federation, Hong Kong, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Dominican Republic, India, Ghana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Poland, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Portugal, Bolivia, Chile, Germany, Denmark, Indonesia, Zambia, Jamaica, Ireland Taiwan, Guyana, Singapore, Peru, Botswana, Greece, Tonga, Luxemburg, Morocco, Romania, South Korea, Mexico, Ecuador, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, Austria, Argentina, France, China, Czech Republic, Belgium, Nigeria and Bermuda.
The videos on the website were watched 1700 times. Almost 50GB of videos was served from the remote server and 25GB of information including media was downloaded from the website, making a total of 75GB of data transferred.
The most popular pages were the forums and chat rooms. Apart from these and the home page, more than 20,000 presentation pages were viewed by visitors and delegates. The presentations ‘Jesus and Justice’ and ‘Why Social Holiness’ were each viewed more than 500 times. None of the presentations attracted fewer than 100 viewers. Attached to those presentations were 33 different papers for downloading in various formats.
Sadly, not everyone found it possible to join the debate. The interactive elements of the website could not be fully explored without a broadband connection. For others, language may have been a barrier. Much has been learned by the organisers that will enable the content of the website to be more widely accessible during the next conference.
Report by Lieut-Colonel Geanette Seymour, Deputy Director