Illegal drug trafficking and the violence it spawns can splinter a community and silence its members. But you can fight back! Use social media to unite your voice with others' – and make the power of one the power of many. For more information please visit: "www.movements.org":http://www.movements.org
: Know the law in your area. If your country does not permit or value free speech, consider the risks before voicing your opinion.
Step 1: Create a watchdog group Create an online citizen watchdog group to monitor your local community. Use a variety of media: a blog, videos, photos, a Twitter feed, comments, helpful resources and links, and whatever else will serve your needs best. Your site will provide friends and neighbors with a virtual meeting place where they can share information and air their concerns.
TIP: Create a group on a social-networking site to supplement your watchdog site -- or, if creating a stand-alone site isn't possible, use your group page as your central site instead.
Step 2: i-report Report acts of violence via social media as they're happening, a process called i-reporting. Post a photo or video from your cell phone; update your social network and Twitter status; and text or e-mail your friends, other watchdog organizations, and the press. Do so anonymously if necessary, and if it's safe, alert the authorities, too.
TIP: Consider an online crime map, such as the one hosted by the group Iluminemos Mexico, which allows people to report the location where crimes have been committed.
Step 3: Create a support network Create an online forum for victims and their family as a support network. Sharing stories and information will help them feel less alone -- and might lead to innovative solutions to common problems.
Step 4: Recruit Cast a wide net to reach a diverse audience. Encourage respected community members, students, artists, NGOs, nonprofits, and local business leaders to participate in your watchdog group, follow your Twitter feed, and join your social-networking page. They'll bring a variety of talents and perspectives to the conversation, and their online presence will send a powerful message to the criminal elements in your community: We are united against you.
Step 5: Protest Organize mass events. Start an online petition, or stage live or virtual protests against drug violence. Determine the action that will make the most impact on your situation, and whether it's safer to carry it out in person or online.
TIP: Be prepared for those you are protesting to use the very same social-networking sites to spread misinformation and try to undermine your cause.
Step 6: Share your success Let one success lead to another. Share the methods behind your most effective grassroots online efforts and follow like-minded groups to learn from their achievements. Now, watch your world change, one person at a time.
FACT: The organization SOS Mexico, which began in 2008 to combat violent kidnappings, allows people to submit videos, comments, tips, and photos to their web site and social-networking pages, turning every citizen into a security monitor.