Sep
17
2010

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Fellows Friday is a weekly series on the TED Blog that profiles one TED Fellow each week. We have asked the Fellows to answer our question below to share their knowledge and advice with other social entrepreneurs, innovators, and changemakers who are coming up with big ideas that can change the world.

Blogging about her personal life helped Sanjukta Basu find her voice. Despite Indian social mores restricting women’s self expression, Sanjukta has opened up her heart online, empowering others to do the same. Compelled by the transformations social media created in her own life, Sanjukta develops strategies to make the voiceless’ stories heard.

Stephanie: There are many aspiring social entrepreneurs out there who are trying to take their passion and ideas to the next level. What is one piece of advice you would give to them based on your own experiences and successes?

Sanjukta: I’m also just starting out so I’m not sure I can give any great advice, but I think that if we want to become social entrepreneurs, we have to start talking in a very social language. Our language has to be extremely basic, jargon-free, and free from words that we usually use in context in the online world. An informal organization, giving late-night rural education for villagers, wouldn’t know what a blog is. They wouldn’t know what Twitter is. They wouldn’t know the word. But they can still use it if I contextualize it. So the language we use has to be very basic. We have to bring back human connection. We have to really be available for a face-to-face conversation.

Also one has to keep in mind a lot of sensitive topics. For example here in India, there are a lot of funds and concepts coming from foreign agencies and lands, particularly the First World. Sometimes there is friction in accepting them. There is a sense of “Why should we try to be like the First World? This is the Euro-centrism of the First World. They are trying to make us like them.” It’s very political. I really think this has to be addressed when we start working with certain political groups in the social sector. Not that they are anti-social media, but it is an issue that has to be handled with high sensitivity.

Read the rest of Sanjukta's Fellows Friday interview here.

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