ISLAMABAD - Participants of a workshop on social media on Saturday said that social media has become the most powerful source of news updates and an important resource for mobilisation of collective action and implementation of social movement across the world.

A training workshop was arranged by Individualland Pakistan in partnership with Freidrich Norman Foundation (FNF) on the concept of 'Citizen Journalism and Social Media' at a local university. Media persons from print and electronic media, bloggers, students of journalism and human rights activists were amongst the participants of the workshop. The aim of the workshop was to create awareness amongst the masses about the concept of citizen journalism and social media, find solutions to improve it and to make the people realise the role of it in strengthening democracy in a society.

The participants said that social media has become the most powerful source of news updates through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogger, Myspace, Linkedin and many others. Social media has been instrumental in supporting political and social movements by providing opportunities for political expression, symbolic identification for collective action, and information exchange, they said.

Farhan Khalid of Individulland Pakistan said that the most popular social media website in Pakistan is Facebook, which has over 8 million users in the country out of a global total of more than 1 billion. Twitter and LinkedIn have 1.9 million and 1.2 million users in Pakistan respectively, he said.

He said that citizen journalism is a growing phenomenon globally and with time, has surfaced as an important tool to strengthen democracy.–Staff Reporter  

A participant Awais Ahmad said that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) was one of the first political parties to launch themselves on social media and specifically Facebook. PTI chief Imran Khan's popularity has increased to a great extent because of social media and how he has been able to convey his viewpoint and party agenda effectively via the social media.

Following the PTI, the PPP, PML-N, MQM and most other political parties have started using the social media as an effective tool for getting prospective voters on board. Shaukat Ali Ashraf, coordinator Individualland Pakistan, speaking on the occasion linked the rise of this new branch of media to the catastrophe of 9/11, 2001 globally whereas in Pakistan, the dreadful earthquake which jolted Pakistan on October 8th 2005.