How NOT to Celebrate Mercy



Just yesterday I tuned into the Celebrate Mercy Webcast- Hope after Hardship. As usual the webcast was very beneficial, however my experience differed from the first time that I viewed a Celebrate Mercy Webcast. I'll share why these two experiences were so different, along with some lessons I learned along the way.

The first time I viewed a Celebrate Mercy Webcast we made it an event. We chose the group viewing option and invited a few sisters over for a potluck and webcast just before Ramadan two years ago. We set up a big screen and projector, relaxed on the couches, ate good food, did a gift exchange and most importantly got the opportunity to talk amongst each other about what we were learning. It was a really nice experience.

This time, I viewed the Celebrate Mercy trailer during Ramadan and was immediately impressed and interested in watching. However, I never picked a time, so yesterday morning as I'm scrolling down my Twitter feed I see an announcement that there was going to be a 1 pm showing, and in my excitement knowing there were only a few shows left I immediately signed up.  It wasn't until after I pressed send on my registration form that I thought to look at what other times were being offered. Other times that weren't smack dab in the middle of a Sunday afternoon when both of my kids would be on 100.  Ma sha Allah, what's done is done, I thought why not take them to the park to let off some steam so by the time the webcast rolls around they'll be calm. That's a great idea in theory if you don't leave for the park only a half hour before your scheduled broadcast time. I finally arrived home about an hour or so into the webcast, but the funny thing about kids is they require feeding.  Needless to say I missed a big chunk of the webcast, but ma sha Allah since the event is anywhere between 2-3 hours I still got to catch about 8 speakers.  Even once I settled in I still felt like I was in catch-up mode and didn't really do as much interacting in the chat or on social media as I had the first time.

That brings me to my first three lessons:

  • Make it an event, there are benefits in gathering for the sake of Allah, as well as benefits from being able to discuss what you are learning with others and share your "aha" moments
  • Plan ahead to eliminate distractions & set the stage for learning (aka babysitters)
  • Take the time to look and see where other folks are checking in from, participate in the trivia and say salaam on the chat, it lends to the feeling of being a part of a global effort
Even with the best laid plans there are times when prayer time will come in during your webcast, people will have to use the bathroom or you'll have technical difficulties. During yesterday's webcast, once I finally tuned it, everything was going smoothly up until Anse Tamara Gray's video was up. After telling the moderator via chat that I was having some issues on my end, and refreshing, and refreshing and refreshing, I finally got everything rolling again. The problem was that the slide had changed and the group was on to a new speaker. I reported back to the moderator that my issue was fixed but sadly not in enough time to catch Anse Tamara Gray's video. At first the moderator replied in the group chat that they were happy I worked out the issue and sorry that I missed the video. A few minutes later however I got a private message from the moderator with the link to the video that I missed, suggesting that I watch it after the remaining broadcast had ended so that I didn't fall behind. 

Which brings me to a few more lessons:
  • Accept that you just might miss something, and try to derive the benefit from the portions you catch
  • Keep the tabs open! The way CM runs is that when it's time for each speaker instead of playing the video live on the main screen, the screen features a play button which takes you to the video in a different tab. If you click on the play button, and the new tab/window pops up you can take care of whatever needs to be taken care of and come back and watch it a bit later. 
  • Communicate with the moderator, and have patience with tech issues. 
and last but not least 
  • take notes
The way Celebrate Mercy is set up you don't have lifetime access to the videos like you would if they were on YouTube. Which makes it even more important that if there is something memorable you try to capture it. I lean toward handwritten/drawn notes but some people take notes by tweeting what they'd like to remember. One thing I noticed about the current webcast is that for the most part the speakers made it really easy to take notes because after relating the story, they wrapped up their talks with what we can extract from it, basically handing you the take-home message on a platter. 

I did in fact take notes which you can find here on Flickr. Ma sha Allah after reading this post the folks at Celebrate Mercy offered me a do-over and I finally got to see the speakers I'd initially missed.  I'll update the Flickr page when I'm able to post the second set of notes from the webcast, in sha Allah.

There are seven more showtimes left and I highly recommend you catch one, you can find the listings here. Also, consider donating to Celebrate Mercy the costs to put on something of this quality and magnitude is substantial and every dollar helps. 

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