Despite the noise and trepidation of technology, people around the world still have time for the kind of online storytelling that reaches people at a deeper level — so what makes creators resilient to the challenges inherent in using their platforms for socially-impactful messaging?
This was the challenge that our Head of Community Practice, Kosta Lucas, was tasked to help answer in mentoring creators from Google Australia’s YouTube Creators for Change initiative, as he attended the two-day intensive training camp in Bangkok.
Representing over 12 million subscribers, the Creators for Change Ambassadors in Asia were chosen to take part in the Google-led programme in partnership with UNDP and the European Union, aiming to counter online hate speech and create positive online content in order to advocate for global empathy.
Content creators are rarely given the chance or space to engage with and share the challenges and difficulties present in using their media platforms for any form of social good. In the Australian context, there was a notable lack of clarity about how they could use their platforms for social good — but they had an intuitive or emotional need to want to do so.
In the pre-briefing, and from previous experiences, it became clear that there were many anxieties about using social media for social good, such as fear of backlash and alienating followers, uncertainty about their ability to create positive impact and/or curb other negative influences that cause hate and division.
Delivering an intensive workshop
To begin, Kosta started off a session by co-facilitating a conversation amongst creators, other experts and Google Australia staff about what challenges they experience when speaking out.
In anticipation of the expectations that were raised in the previous session, Kosta developed and delivered an intensive workshop on the link between media, violence and the role of counter-messaging, and thus expanded what it means to be impactful and successful.
To conclude, Kosta co-facilitated a conversation with the same group that allows them to place themselves in this new understanding of the environment they operate in. Once the participants were successful in pitching their idea to take to production, Kosta was assigned as a mentor to a group of content creators to guide them through their process.