The Social Network

16 November 2016

Feed the homeless, get some sound medical advice, or indulge in your love for reading with these local social media accounts.

From the Ice Bucket Challenge to the #nomakeupselfie campaign in 2014 which helped many cancer charities raise funds, social media has been used by many groups as a platform to gain awareness for their causes. Over here in Malaysia, several communities are breaking chains and doing whatever they can to make the world a better place. Here are three you should know about.

Street Feeders of KL
Formed in November 2011 by Gary Liew and a couple of friends, Street Feeders of KL (SFoKL) is a grassroots movement aimed at reaching out to the homeless and urban poor communities in the city through its feeding programme.

The leaders of SFoKL use the community’s Facebook group and page to create awareness about homelessness and poverty as well as communicate details about its events. But you’ll be surprised to know that the community’s social media presence is only a year old; prior to the creation of their social media accounts, they would spread news through word of mouth. Besides the public street feedings held every two weeks, SFoKL also organises feeding sessions for companies carrying out corporate responsibility programmes, as well as social events like pool parties, movie nights, dinners, and field trips. They’ve also participated in events such as Free Night Market, Open House, Mobile Street Shower, Make A Wish Day and more.

While based in Kuala Lumpur, some of the members of SFoKL have also been inspired to hold street feeding sessions in Poland, Italy and South Korea. According to Gary, SFoKL hopes to have a greater international presence inspiring people from all corners of the world to be the change they want to see.

Need some medical advice? MedTweet.MY is an official portal through which health professionals provide the public with current and accurate information on all things related to health. It sprouted from a humble Twitter ‘clinic’ established by Dr. Khairul Hafidz Alkhair in 2014.

At one point, he was receiving up to 200 questions a day, so the need for a team with more members was deeply felt. Many professionals from various specialties including dentistry, nephrology, optometry and physiotherapy joined Dr. Khairul’s cause. Hence, the formation of MedTweet.My last January.

In MedTweetMy, netizens may ask questions on Twitter and health experts will reply with information. The response has been rather encouraging so far, with many tweets often retweeted. Dr. Khairul and team aren’t just limiting themselves to social media either. In future they’re looking to publish Perang Melawan Mithos, which compiles most of the frequently asked questions they’ve received.

KL Book Appreciation Club
In 2013, Diana Yeong was looking for some bibliophiles to adopt the books her children had outgrown. Hence, she formed KL Book Exchange Club (KLBEC), a Facebook group for selling and buying books online. Two years after the inception of KLBEC, the community had expanded by great leaps and bounds.

Giving in to the members’ demand for a book club, Diana created another Facebook group where members could discuss everything related to books. Thus, the KL Book Appreciation Club (KLBAC) was born.

KLBAC holds in-person monthly book discussions. On Facebook, the administrators prompt members to recommend books of various genres to other members. These admins also run a weekly author spotlight where readers can discuss the works of the featured author. On top of that, KLBAC does reading challenges, bookmark exchanges and book chains. Recently, they created Readers of KL, a public Instagram profile aimed at encouraging others to read in public more often. Readers are free to email their submissions (typically a photo of a book they’re currently reading) with a caption discussing the book pictured.

The club has certainly come a long way since its early days – KLBAC now boasts a collaboration with Big Bad Wolf Books to promote the act of reading, while publisher MPH Distributors has offered several books to members of the group for review. Also in the works is a BuzzFeed-like blog that’s all about books and reading. Great things are in store for this community of bibliophiles.

By Zoe Liew
Images courtesy of respective groups featured.


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