NetSquared Spotlight: Net2 Istanbul

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NetSquared Spotlights are a series of interviews focused on the work of our amazing NetSquared Local Organizers around the world. Our local organizers are volunteers dedicated to helping create local opportunities for learning, sharing and using technology to make a difference. Each spotlight we will ask questions that profile our Net2 organizers' approach to community organizing so that others can learn from their experience. 


For our latest NetSquared Spotlight we are featuring organizers from the Net2 Local Istanbul, Turkey group (#Net2Ist ): Derya Kaya (@deryaka), Ayşegül Güzel (@aysegulguzel), Mehru Öztürk Aygül (@mehruaygul), and Mert Nuhoglu. Thanks to Derya for not only answering the Net2 Spotlight interview questions, but for sharing a handout of notes and observations that came out of a past Net2Ist Social Media Surgery.


You can find find out more about the #Net2Ist Local events at, or Like them on Facebook or follow along on Twitter



Introduce yourselves! Tell us who you both are in less than 140 characters each. 

I am a development and communications specialist with 6 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. 


Why did you each become a NetSquared Local organizer? (What inspired you to organize local NetSquared events in your community?) 

I met with Aysegul who is the founder of the group in Turkey and started to attend meetings. I enjoyed the way that the group works and how it enables the exchange of information and networking between people, so I wanted be a part of the team. 


Do you have co-organizers? What are their roles? How did you find them? 

We are four young professionals from different backgrounds. Aysegul Guzel (@aysegulguzel), Mert Nuhoglu (@mertnuhoglu) and Mehru Aygul (@mehruaygul) are the other co-organizers. We do not have a detailed job division among the team; we decide it on a monthly basis when we brainstorm about the topic, speakers, and logistics. 


What’s your local social-web-tech scene like in Istanbul? 

There is a missing link between technology professionals and people who are involved in social good. On the other hand, increasingly the nonprofit sector, social entrepreneurs and activists see the positive value that social technology can bring to their work. I think the recent uprisings of Occupy Gezi was also a revelation for many people to see how social media and technology tools are critical to coordinate people, access the information and communicate effectively. 


What do your local participants really want to know? What are the most popular topics? 

All the events on social media and social media surgeries were very popular. Participants would like to get some applicable and practical information and exchange ideas. 


What’s the hardest part of the job? 

Lack of time! All co-organizers have very busy schedule and it was a challenge to organize the events periodically and find a good and free-of-charge location.


Tell us about the best NetSquared Local event. What did you learn from that experience? 

I very much enjoyed and impressed by the social media surgery we organized with the support of a social media consulting company. The crowd was very much motivated and had so many good questions. We ended up with tons of practical information that we can integrate to our work. Mehru translated the outcomes into English and shared it through a wider network of NGOs in Balkan countries. 


What’s the coolest thing that’s happened at one of your events? 

We receive credentials from our participants about how the people they met at Net2Ist events were important to them. The contacts turned into partners and supporters and helped them with thriving their campaigns and projects.


How do you measure the success of your events? (What do you consider a successful event? what does success look like?) 

We talk to participants after the events. Rather than the number, we also concentrate the quality of the discussion and the outcomes. Each month we make an evaluation over email after the meeting and discuss what went well and what can be improved. 


How do you envision your NetSquared Local events evolving over time?  

We hope to become a hub of information and a pioneer for social technologies. We would like to put more effort on a common blog and social media. 


How do you spend your time when you’re not organizing NetSquared Local events? (Do you have any side projects, other groups, other things you are working on that you want spotlighted?) 

I am currently in the US for 10 months on a Fulbright fellowship but I used to work full-time at a women’s NGO and run voluntarily an international environmental campaign in Turkey. 


What’s each of your change-the-world philosophy? 

My philosophy is that change is neither easy nor fast, but there is always a way to contribute to it.