During our course of global world studies with doctor Maha Bali we were introduced to the Soliya platform. At first I thought this was one of the activities that I would complete just for completion. The Soliya platform in general made me change my mind. There were four conference calls of two hours (which I thought was a bit too long) in which more or less 8 students from around the world taking the same course met to discuss different topics.
The topic of the first conference we had was chosen by our two facilitators but we then got the chance to chose the topic of the next session.
The opportunity Soliya gave me to communicate with people I am not related to in any way was really nice, a pleasure i’d even say. It made me realize that communicating virtually on Soliya was actually way more difficult than talking on other online communication platforms and this -I think- is due to the fact that in other online communication platforms one choses who he talks to because he knows them. For example, in platforms such as Skype and Messenger I get to add/confirm requests of my friends so we could then be able to talk as we are already friends. Solyia is different on this point as we had no idea who we were talking to and getting to meet. It wasn’t as easy as I thought. I believe that when meeting a new person or new people it is easier and more natural for several reasons.. First of all when you say something on Solyia, you have no idea who you’re exactly talking to as there is no eye contact whatsoever. The other thing is that whenever you talk to anyone in real life you see a certain face expression to anything you say which was barely the case on Solyia.
This brought me to realize that being someone sociable because you don’t feel shy around people doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be easy to talk to anyone virtually. I have always been known as someone who is quite sociable which didn’t make it easier for me to communicate with my group. We got more laid back after a couple of conferences which would’ve happened if these meetings had happened face to face.I assume this because I learned during these 4 weeks that I’m not as good of a communicator as I thought I was. At least virtually.
To be able to foster the face to face communication I believe people should get to meet each other after having been through an experience like Solyia’s. No matter how comfortable the Solyia sessions were, we never go to actually know about the people we were communicating with because our talks were mainly about topics more or less related to the course. If people from this same group got to meet after already talking virtually would show them how different it is to actually talk to someone in person.
Virtual communication could also be fostered in her own way. I believe the idea of Solyia is really nice, it is quite new and the concept behind it is very interesting. However, I believe it could have been encouraged more if people were put in groups based on a certain common topic of interest such as laws in Egypt, Football whatever wide topics people could choose from. The fact that every one in a certain group has the same interest , it automatically breaks the ice and people start discussing and arguing happily with interest in the topic.
To conclude my reflection about Solyia , I would confidently say that also the platform could get more perfectionized, it is no doubt an experience that one should try. It is new, innovative and quite interesting.