"The Women's Annex initiatives are tapping into that resource, empowering these women to take on a meaningful role in contributing to their society."
WA: Can you briefly tell us about yourself and your background?
BR: I am the founder and inventor of SocialToaster. Prior to starting the company I had started an ran a high-end boutique web consulting firm that grew to be one of the largest in the mid-Atlantic region. I actually started that firm while I was still a student at The Johns Hopkins University, where I earned degrees in Computer Science and Biology. My role with that firm including acting as an outsourced CTO/CMO for many of our clients, which really gave me an opportunity to understand the convergence of technology and marketing, and provided me with the background necessary to create something like SocialToaster.
WA: What inspired you to create SocialToaster as an engaging platform? How does it work?
BR: The inspiration came from an interaction I had with one of my employees one day. I used to publish a technical blog to help establish us as a though-leader in the industry. One day one of my employees came to me and asked me to make sure to let him know when I posted to the blog, because he enjoyed reading it. I thought to myself, "of course I should let my employees know when I publish something", and then asked him if he'd be willing to share a link to the blog with his friends on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. He said that he would be happy to do so as long as he thought the content was interesting, but that posting to all of those networks would be a bit of a chore. And thus the core idea for SocialToaster was born. Our platform is designed to take the work out of the sharing process, enabling a brand to easily promote its content through loyal fans and followers. We use game mechanics to keep these "Super Fans" engaged and participating, and to then provide them with various rewards and incentives for their participation.
WA: How do you think social media platforms like SocialToaster can elevate youth empowerment in developing countries like Afghanistan and help them establish their own brand?
BR: Social media, in general, is a great equalizer. It provides every person with an opportunity to connect and engage with an audience, without requiring the costs associated with traditional broadcast media. Tools like SocialToaster empower brands, small businesses, and even individuals, regardless of age, to take advantage of this audience at scale, helping to drive specific actions that help to build their brand in a meaningful, word-of-mouth manner.
WA: How do you think the Women's Annex initiatives as a social platform can elevate the concept of digital literacy?
BR: The Women's Annex is really a ground-breaking program. While the world at large recognizes that women have as much, if not more, to contribute to society than men, in places like Afghanistan they are an under-utilized, under-appreciated, and ignored resource. The Women's Annex initiatives are tapping into that resource, empowering these women to take on a meaningful role in contributing to their society. In the Information Age, one of the key ways to do that is through the promotion of digital literacy, which these initiatives focus on.
Fereshteh Forough - Film Annex Senior Editor