Sunday, October 10, 2010

Careers, Immigration, SIA and SEO

As it stands thus far, I am pretty much where I started with this job hunt. Or at least that's how it feels. It's been a roller coaster ride of late, what with trying to tap into a million (slight exaggeration) different avenues to try and get somewhere with this whole networking business.

I feel I need to be fair though, as I do often tend to forget the good things. Working in the Gulf for the past year has blessed me with many things I know I couldn't have achieved elsewhere. To be honest, if my heart was in it, staying on here for a few more years could probably do both my career and my bank account, wonders - alas, it is not for me.

I've realised that my job hunt has been a rather one dimensional journey. This entire time I've been searching for a journalistic niche - mistake. Firstly, the journalist market in the UK is beyond saturated as it is, making it near impossible for a non-citizen to break into said field (you'd think having the same queen would help - not so much). I've also faced issues with breaking into broadcast because of my lack of experience; a vicious cycle to say the least.

The cherry on top of this career icing is the fact that British immigration law states international sourcing of employees as a last resort for positions that can not be filled by citizens/residents of the UK. My current role as editor does not help distinguish me from the hundreds of struggling scribes in the Kingdom.

What to do? Oh yes, I remember, I HAVE ANOTHER DEGREE.

See, I'm not really a journalist to begin with. I never took any journalism courses, neither is that my degree title. I am a 'media' graduate, i.e. I hold a BA in Media and Cultural Studies. This means I studied the counter effects, nature of and reactions to the media at large, how it functions and its effects on the public.

My degree also entails an inherent look at culture and the different ways in which world societies represent themselves and deal with the mass feed of information delivered to the millions of internet users, television and radio audiences and newspaper readers worldwide.

Combined with my post graduate degree in Social Change and Development, I am equipped to pretty much take on the marketing/human resource world by storm (what? I get to talk myself up, okay?). Social media is often used as a tool to publicise a brand/product/service etc, and successfully so for many cases.

What we don't see enough of is the use of said tools to source the effects on users of these social networks. The integration of basic Social Impact Assessment principles (SIA) with these tools can pretty much eliminate the need for physical cases of SIA.

Having stemmed from the original Health Impact Assessment model (HIA), SIA was initially nurtured for implementation in cases of physical development, such as the impact of new civil infrastructure on a certain minority or face lifting national landmarks, such as the damming of the Narmada River in India.

SIA has come a long way since then, with basic principles adaptable to the ever evolving technology, marketing and even media industries. The core goal is through the monitoring of target societies, negative effects can be minimised prior to the implementation of technology schemes, marketing campaigns and even media releases.

The concept of SEO is pretty much the technological, i.e. emotionless, equivalent to SIA. As one of my TED Talk heroes, Jonathan Harris, would say, it is up to us to ensure that this technology, this "planetary meta-organism" that is the internet, is transformed into a space we want to inhibit. It is up to us to make it as human as possible.

That's the skinny folks. This is the new - potential - career path. Mind you, if a television network offered me a position, I'd hardly refuse it. Spread the word!

p.s. Did I also mention that Im trilingual (English, Arabic and conversational French)? Yeah, just getting that in there. Ahem.

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