This portal has been created as part of the international Digital YouthQuake project implemented within the Erasmus + Programme. The aims of the project are to increase the capacity of youth organizations/workers in the field of digital literacy and digital activism, foster their active participation in society as well as cooperation between 10 youth NGOs from Western Balkans, Western Europe and North Europe regions; to develop digital youth activism and reinforce digital promotion of youth policy and democratic values on transregional and European level.
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Youth, Activism and the Power of Digital Media

As more and more young people find themselves drawn to the world’s issues, the question of how to go about addressing them becomes increasingly important. One area that has proved to be particularly contentious is that of digital media. While there are plenty of arguments for the use of social and online platforms, there have also been various attacks on the efficiency of online activism.

In particular, many have debated the subject of “slacktivism” – the idea that most online activism is ineffective because of the limited commitment it takes to share media, sign a petition or post material. This article will highlight why this is an important issue for young people, how online media can be used for activism and the pros and cons of doing so.

How young people use the internet as an activism tool?

Young people are in a prime position to use technology and the internet as a tool – many of us have grown up with various forms of technology in the home and at school, we understand how to use social media to our advantage and the internet isn’t new or intimidating to us.

This isn’t to say that the older generation aren’t able to do the same things or even better - but for most young people, using several kinds of digital media on a daily basis has just become another aspect of our lives. Even the most skilled adult users have still had to adjust from a time before this became the norm.



When it comes to activism, we can quickly reach more people than ever before in a variety of different ways. From lower levels of action such as signing petitions or sharing an article to more time-consuming efforts like posting a blog or video, activists have an array of tools at their disposal. Spreading awareness and organising gatherings or events no longer has to take up a lot of time and resources, meaning these can be directed elsewhere.

Educational resources in the form of articles and videos are plentiful and often thorough (a good example is that of Laci Green, a feminist YouTuber who frequently creates videos covering gender issues, sex positivity and self-care). These platforms are useful for all activists in both self-education and posting our own media to help others.

'Slacktivism'?: the pros and cons of online activism

However, like all systems, there are of course limitations to online activism and some of its best qualities are also its worst. As anyone can post anything, not everything is properly researched, which can lead to a potential spread of misinformation, and even those that are produced carefully can suffer from hateful trolls among more positive commenters. (See our video below for a few ways to stay smart online).

Since the ALS Ice Bucket challenge and Kony 2012, there has been a lot of debate about whether online activism is even worth pursuing at all. Many lower level forms are dismissed as “clicktivism” or “slacktivism”, insinuating that there’s no real effect and that the use of online media is a fad that merely makes people feel good about themselves.

While this could apply to less effective actions such as changing your profile picture to show support or liking a post about an issue, I still think it’s somewhat misguided. I’m not sure people who do just these things consider themselves activists or get any great sense of philanthropy – we like things because we like them, not because the act of clicking a little blue hand is going to change the world.

Other higher level forms of activism, such as signing petitions, sharing media and asking others to donate to a cause (especially when you’ve already donated yourself) don’t deserve this ruthless dismissal. While they take just seconds to carry out, their full effect can be staggering. Petitions have existed for centuries, but websites like change.org have made the process far more straightforward and much quicker. Even if the petition itself doesn’t achieve the desired change, it will have taken less time and effort than a petition that took weeks to collect by hand that received the same result.

Sharing media can raise awareness, educate and motivate great numbers of people in ways that can’t be measured – there’s no knowing how many people might be deeply affected or who might be spurred into a lifetime of action from one person making a particular issue known to them.

Donations are also easier and safer online for both charitable worker and donor – people may be reluctant to give money on the high-street and collectors have to stand and be rejected for hours, but online the process is secure, quick and easily shared with others. And clearly, economic support makes a very substantial difference to those ultimately benefiting from it.

Opening up new channels for change

Those criticising online media often tell users to step away from the computer and go out to volunteer or donate, ignoring the fact that not everyone has lots of money to donate or time to spare, even if they care about the cause deeply. In addition to the points mentioned above regarding donation, online media can allow people to donate as little or as much as they feel able. Digital activism allows those with little time or spare cash a chance to participate in a cause they care about, without putting undue pressure on themselves. Causes are important, but self-care is too – activists can’t help anyone if they’re overly stressed or fatigued from trying to do too much.

Saying “step away” also indirectly dismisses those who are actually donating and volunteering offline, but are using additional platforms to reach a wider audience in more efficient ways. Online activism often goes hand in hand with physical activism, as real passion for a cause leads us to find as many ways to help as we can. It also allows people who want to support multiple causes the chance to help each on different levels (for example, I care about gender-based violence, LGBT+ issues and animal rights, but much of my time goes into the first one – online activism allows me to support the other two as well).

Not everyone can - or should - be an activist

Finally, not everyone has to be an activist. Obviously, improving the world would be a lot faster and easier if every single person wanted to spend their lives working on an issue. But not everyone does and that’s completely fine (probably better than fine, there would be chaos if everyone upped and left their day jobs!). Activism should be pursued out of passion and determination, not guilt.

Youth in particular are already facing unprecedented levels of anxiety and depression from mounting pressure in social and educational spheres. Adding more onto that by saying “Oh, and you have to save the world too” can only end badly. Digital activism, on any level, has allowed us to shed the mentality that we’re just individuals who can’t have any real effect because the world and these issues are just too big.

Activism at its core has always been about bringing people together, knowing that a thousand voices together can achieve great things. Even if a person doesn’t want to spend their days actively fighting for a cause, they do a lot more by clicking “share” than doing nothing at all.

While there are a few downsides to the internet in general, the use of digital media can be immensely rewarding. No one is saying that online activism should replace physical activism and as long as we’re careful, the internet can be an endlessly useful tool to support the first-hand work that is already happening.

To dismiss online activism entirely is to dismiss one of the most vital and ever-improving instruments for change that we have in the modern day.

Source: www.youthforchange.org

“Digital Youthquake” project exports digital intelligence and creativity

by · October 25, 2016

From 8-16th of October one more youth exchange project has been organized in capital city of Serbia, Belgrade within a field of digital communication and content creation. Youth teams organized by NGO’s from Estonia, United Kingdom, Belgium, Latvia, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia worked in groups and individually, acquiring skills necessary in this era of information in order to promote work of each NGO successfully and make it way simpler. Latvian team was represented by Alīna, Marta and Beata from Social Innovation Centre.

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Project discussed functions and features of such internet communication tools as Facebook, Trello, Slack, WordPress, MailChimp, Canva etc. Participants have explored, discussed and even created by themselves own storytelling campaigns, that inspires, intrigue and promote projects shaped by them. The main idea of this project was promotion of digital intelligence and popularization of its tools within youth, as well as intercultural communication and sharing everything, that could be a source of new ideas and creativity.

Teams have not only worked on their new projects and promotion of them in social media, but also explored Belgrade and Serbian culture in general, showing great example of cross-country integration. “Digital Youthquake” project united together representatives from so different countries, and each country’s team got the opportunity to introduce its own culture and also main youth problems in their country, sharing experiences of problem-solving, as well as positive and negative campaigns. Or course, presentation of each country have been accompanied by tasting of traditional snacks, and also a lot of interesting things have been acknowledged about Balkan traditions and customs. Dancing, singing, games, movies and presentations of participants encouraged to use all kinds of creativity in creation of content in own projects.

During the activities participants have also visited a coworking space, home for NGO’s and simply youth centre “Gnezdo”, where discussion with the manager took place and project participants learned about problems of entrepreneurs and public organisations in Serbia, especially in Belgrade. The discussion revealed strengths and weaknesses of coworking spaces also in other countries of project participants, and, actually they are quite similar.

Latvian and team from other countries came back home with new creative ideas on how to improve teamwork in organisation, make it more effective and inspire young people to implement interesting ideas.

Source: Social Innovation Center

Top 10 Good Tech Habits Everyone Should Have

You’ve probably heard people tell you should back up your computer, or you should have more secure passwords. Good tech habits aren’t just for geeks—they can save you money, keep your personal information safe, and help you avoid frustration down the road. Here are ten tech habits everyone should have.

10. Regularly Audit Your Privacy Settings on Social Networks

You probably already know that social networks like Facebook aren’t the poster child for privacy. Unfortunately, the only way to keep your info private—short of quitting those networks altogether—is audit your privacy settings every once in a while. Learn what each of those settings does and tweak them accordingly. You might also check out sites like AdjustYourPrivacy.com to keep up with your privacy settings on all your networks.

9. Know When You’re Paying Too Much for a Product

Technology isn’t cheap, but it doesn’t have to be a complete drain on your wallet, either. There are a lot of myths out there that’ll cost you money—like buying expensive “gold plated” HDMI cables, or buying new gadgets when refurbished ones are just as good. Check out our list of money-saving tech myths for more, and never pay full price again.

8. Keep Your Desktop and Hard Drive Free of Clutter

If your desktop looks like the picture to the left, then it’s time to clean things up a bit. Not only does a cluttered desktop make things harder to find, but if you’re on a Mac, it can even slow down your computer. Once you’ve gotten that messy desktop under control, make it a habit of keeping it organized, and transfer those same ideas to the rest of your files and folders too. The easier it is to find what you’re looking for, the less time you’ll spend frustrated.

7. Avoid Getting Malware (and Spreading It to Others)

We all know viruses are bad, but many of us don’t know exactly how they work—which is crucial to avoiding them. Do a little reading on what a virus is and examine the most common virus myths, then install a good, free antivirus program on your computer (and get rid of any existing viruses while you’re at it). Also, even if you aren’t getting viruses, you could still be spreading them—so watch out for that too. Photo by Justin Marty.

6. Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

When you’re desperate for Wi-Fi, it can be tempting to connect to that open “linksys” network or the password-free network of a nearby Starbucks. However, doing so opens you up to all sorts of attacks. It sounds a little tin foil hat-y, but you really should be worried about your security. It doesn’t take any hacking experience to sniff out someone’s Facebook or other credentials, all it takes is a little evil motivation. And don’t think just because a network has a password that means it’s safe—if other users are on that network (besides you and your family members), they can access your data. Stay safe when you’re on public Wi-Fi by turning off sharing and using SSL whenever possible. Photo by °Florian.

5. Be Smart About Hoaxes, Scams, and Internet Myths

The internet is rife with scams, hoaxes, and other misinformation that you probably run into all the time without realizing it. Sometimes it’s harmful—like that fake bank email that gives your identity to scammers—while other times it’s mostly harmless, like a misattributed quote going viral on Facebook. Either way, though, you should try to avoid falling victim to these hoaxes, and help stop the spread. It’s actually very easy to identify these myths online, and just as easy to avoid getting scammed. Just remember: if something seems a little dubious, it probably is.

4. Know What Maintenance Your Computer Needs (and Doesn’t Need)

We all know computers take a little maintenance to run in tip top shape, but there’s no need to hand it over to some quack to get it done—most of it is easy enough to do right at home. Check out our list of maintenance tasks you need to do on Windows PCs and Macs for more info, or if your computer needs a little more help, read our guides to speeding up, cleaning up, and reviving your Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, and Android phone.

3. Use Secure Passwords

Even if you think you have a secure password, you might be wrong. Yesterday’s clever tricks aren’t protecting you from today’s hackers, and you need to be extra vigilant in this age of constant security breaches. Saving your passwords in a browser is pretty insecure too—so get a good password manager like LastPass and update those passwords for the modern age.

2. Back Up Your Computer

You’ve probably heard people say it a million times, and there’s a reason for it. You always think data loss won’t happen to you, but it happens to everyone one day, and having a good, up to date backup is the only way to avoid frustration down the road. Plus, setting it up is insanely easy and is something absolutely everyone can do, so you have no excuse: start backing up right now. You’ll be glad you did.

1. Search Google Like a Pro

If you’ve ever wondered how us tech geeks know everything that we do, here’s our secret: we pretty much just Google everything. With the right Google skills, you can find information about nearly any tech problem you’re having, and fix it yourself without anyone else’s help. Check out our top 10 tricks for speeding up and beefing up your Google searches to become a search ninja, and avoid frustrating calls to your resident computer tech for advice.

Source: lifehacker.com

UNESCO triggered debates on social media and youth radicalization in the digital age

"Protecting human rights online and offline and defending civil society and independent journalists are the solutions to solve radicalization in the long run, instead of censorship as a band-aid over the real illness," was the message delivered by Ms Rebecca MacKinnon at the workshop “Social Media and Youth Radicalization” convened by UNESCO at the 11th Internet Governance Forum, Guadalajara, Mexico, on 6 December 2016.

The workshop, attended by above 80 participants, was moderated by Indrajit Banerjee, UNESCO Director for Knowledge Societies. He shared the outcome of UNESCO's Conference “Internet and the Radicalization of Youth: Preventing, Acting and Living Together”, held in Quebec City, Canada, from 30 October to 1 November 2016.

The Director said the “Call of Quebec” outcome document urged stakeholders to question radicalization narratives online, and to respond through counter-narratives and education that emphasizes critical thinking, tolerance and respect for human rights.

Guy Berger, UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, pointed out the complexity of the issue of media and radicalization and presented initial findings from UNESCO's ongoing research on social media and radicalization.

The research has taken an evidence-based approach through an extensive review of diverse studies across multiple languages and regions.

It finds there is still little theorization of those complex issues of extremism, terrorism and radicalization. There is also no scientific evidence of clear causal connections between what happens on social media and the radicalization process, and the role of Internet is more of a facilitator rather than a driver of the radicalization process.

The research calls for a global dialogue based on a multi-stakeholder approach and a holistic solution which goes beyond protective responses like blocking and filtering of content, and focus on empowering young people both online and offline.

In the next six months, the research will be finalized and published.

Sofia Rasgado, from the Council of Europe, shared the good practice of a Portuguese campaign to decrease hate speech, cyber bullying and cyber hate, based on human rights education, youth participation and media literacy. Google’s William Hudson argued that content take-down and censorship are insufficient to combat radicalization, and he presented Google's ongoing counter-speech efforts to build a platform for true solidarity and understanding.

Barbora Bukovska, from Article 19, expressed her concern that the lack of definition of the concept of radicalization could lead to violations of human rights. She welcomed UNESCO’s promotion of positive policy measures, including various counter-speech methods, arguing that these are a more effective tool to fight the underlying social causes leading to radicalization.

From Ranking Digital Rights, Rebecca MacKinnon alerted that civil society is often under dual attack by governments and extremist groups, and pleaded that the protection of human rights online and offline and the defense of civil society and independent journalists are crucial to solve the problem of radicalization in the long run.

Participants raised a number of questions related to criminalization of hate speech, freedom of religious expression, balancing rights, personalized content, etc.

A common theme was that all stakeholders need to critically assess the problem of youth radicalization and join their efforts to invest in holistic and effective solutions that take consideration of human rights implications and gender issues, and which take counter-measures and youth empowerment actions.

Source: UNESCO

Study: How Digital Media May Change the Way You Think

New study shows that using digital platforms such as tablets and laptops for reading may make you more inclined to focus on concrete details rather than interpreting information more abstractly,

In a new study, researchers reveal that reading comprehension and problem solving success were affected by the type of reading platform, either digital or non-digital, used.

The study, published in the in the proceedings of ACM CHI '16, the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, was done in hopes to better understand if processing the same information on one platform or the other would trigger a different baseline "interpretive lens" or mindset that would influence construal of information.

"There has been a great deal of research on how digital platforms might be affecting attention, distractibility and mindfulness, and these studies build on this work, by focusing on a relatively understudied construct," said lead author Geoff Kaufman, an assistant professor at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, in a statement.

Reading

In order to determine if there is a relationship between reading platforms and construal cognition, researchers conducted four studies. More than 300 volunteers with age ranging from 20 to 24 years old participated in the studies. Each study was then joined by 60 to 100 participants.

In conducting their studies, researchers are careful in making most of the variable to be as constant as possible. For example, the same print size and format was used in both the digital and non-digital platforms.

In one of the studies, participants were asked to read a short story by author David Sedaris on either a physical printout (non-digital) or in a PDF on a PC laptop (digital), and were then asked to take a pop-quiz, paper-and-pencil comprehension test.

After analyzing the results of the test, researchers found out that participants using the non-digital platform scored higher on inference questions with 66 percent correct answers on the abstract questions, compared to 48 percent of correct answer of those using the digital platform.

On the other hand, participants using the digital platform scored better on concrete questions with 73 percent correct, as compared to those using the non-digital platform, who had 58 percent correct.

When the participants were asked to read a table of information about four, fictitious Japanese car models on either a PC laptop screen or paper print-out, and were then asked to select which car model is superior, 66 percent of the participants using the non-digital platform have reported the correct answer, while only 43 percent of those using the digital platform got the correct answer.

Source:www.natureworldnews.com

7 Good reasons for Digital Youth Participation

Are you not yet convinced that digital youth participation can be fruitful? In this article we show why utilizing digital tools is particularly effective and key to successful youth participation processes.
Good youth participation facilitates dialogue between different generations, encourages innovative ideas, strengthens democratic competences but also leads to more suitable policies and planning. Hence, the level of (digital) youth participation can be a location factor for municipalities.

Youngsters need opportunities to participate in politics, which go beyond the classical types of engagement. They need participation processes that are appropriate for their age group, their environment and lifestyle. Digital (media) tools offer various innovative ways to connect, discuss issues and take part in decision-making.

Why You Should Opt for Digital Youth Participation

1. More participation - irrespective of time and place

Developing opinions, discussing them with others and finally voting on them takes time. Many youngsters do not have the possibility or motivation to take part in formal offline participation after their busy day at school, university or work. Digital tools, however, can mitigate this issue by offering to take part whenever and from wherever young people would like to engage – online.

2. Greater transparency - open processes

Digital tools can comprehensively document the entire participation process: from general information and idea collection to voting and final implementation of the results. Hence, they offer an overview of the process – also for those people, who are not actively taking part. At the same time this transparency promotes understanding and trust in the political and administrative processes.

3. Better overview - comprehensible decisions

Good dialogues offer everyone the possibility to share their views on the issue at hand, this way creating a vast number of inputs, which need to be structured and evaluated. Many online tools provide search and filter options. Also the course of discussion can be documented and reviewed easily with the help of these tools. Hence, participants are enabled to keep an overview of the discussion’s development, which easier renders the preparation for decisions.

4. Youth-friendly - targeting the young audience

Almost all young people use digital media on a daily basis. They share photos, videos, information and opinions but also discuss issues. In light of this, it is simply logical to offer digital participation tools to utilize the digital spaces where youngsters are already engaging every day. This increases the acceptance of the process. Furthermore, using digital tools facilitates dialogue between political decision-makers, administrations and young people.

5. More political involvement - reducing barriers

With digital tools, youngsters can easily from anywhere become active in shaping their own environment. Particularly, those young people who are usually politically inactive are likely to be reached with low-threshold digital participation projects. These show them that political decision-making can be fun and that it is actually possible to change something. When experiencing this possibility to achieve something, they are more likely to also start to participate in other, more classical, ways of engagement.

6. A location factor - keeping pace with the times

Young people want to participate. Yet, decision-makers need to provide them with attractive, modern, digital opportunities and ways to do so. Thereby, decision-makers will benefit as they are creating a new location factor: they become digitalized and participation-friendly. Youngsters’ motivation will increase when they see that their engagement leads to results.

7. More participation – increasing the network

Digital participation processes can easily be connected with social media in order to increase their reach. Participants can share their arguments with others and motivate them to join and take part. In just a few clicks, friends and acquaintances will be able to participate themselves. Therefore, more youngsters can be addressed with digital participation tools.

Many thanks to jugend.beteiligen.jetzt for the permission to publish their German article in a translated version.

Source: www.euthproject.eu

Digital Media and the Art of Engagement

In the last couple years, new digital media publications have been popping onto the scene with intensity. We’ve seen print magazines and dailies frequently revamp, re-brand and work continuously to be more interactive, engaging and immediate.

Today we all participate in online experiences and interact with content that is up-to-the-minute, interactive, beautiful and personally relevant. There have been major shifts in reader expectations, journalistic tools and publishing business models.

These changes, aided by technology, have been driven by changes in reader behavior: we grab the iPad or smartphone when we wake up to browse the morning’s headlines, listen to podcasts of news shows and catch the replay of that clip everyone is talking about. And while there were obvious growing pains across the media landscape in the early stages of digital technology, the industry is clearly rebounding.

Success for these companies, however, is not judged by page views, number of comments or shares. These are some of the most respected names in the business — some hundred year-old companies and other young upstarts — that use technology to strengthen and fortify the relationship with readers and build trust in the brand. The media landscape has upped its game. So, what is working across this digital media landscape?

Most of us have read Harry Potter, and have imagined what the magical newspaper, The Daily Prophet, might be like with its waving people and moving pictures. Today with digital, we can experience articles, watch video clips — hear the sounds and see the highlights. Heck, we have options to listen to individually curated playlists to accompany our morning scans of the headlines. Yet, the brands that can match that incredible digital content with an equally appealing human element — they will be the ones who thrive.

Today’s news content is phenomenal in its own right and when it is paired with a card-stock mailed invitation to attend a members-only event with a publication’s award-winning photojournalist, an opportunity for a long-lasting reader relationship is opened.

Digital media winners won’t just provide news, they will develop relationships with readers and continually offer them unique opportunities to engage and feel a part of something bigger. As an example, once a new reader signs up, News UK — a British newspaper publisher and subsidiary of News Corp. — sends every new member a customized personal invitation to meet with the editor. Additionally, all members receive honest-to-goodness chocolates around Christmas and Easter. Think of the surprise and delight to once again feel such a personal connection with a daily paper.

There is also good plain fun to be had- people love to laugh. News UK’s paper The Sun used the power of social media to create a hilarious seasonal campaign. Called the “Hangover Hit Squad,” the staff literally delivered survival kits to those who complained of holiday hangovers on social media sites.

It is about relationships, but let’s not kid ourselves, it is also about economics. A bonded relationship between reader and publisher opens the doors for journalists to receive higher pay, for ad revenue to become a smaller part of the equation, and for digital subscriptions to enjoy same worth and price, if not more so, than their print counterparts.

Now content costs more than technology. Google, Facebook and other tech companies will always be ahead of the news company because they don’t have to pay for content. What is exciting in digital media is the emerging ability to create an entirely new ad model to not just economically support, but to enhance the overall experience. Ad models just got a lot more exciting with the introduction of the tablet. We’re seeing readers spend, on average, ten minutes longer reading the news on their tablet than they do with a print publication.

The model that is developing — how can we get the technology enhanced and make that truly interactive, yet non-intrusive, ad? Think of a newspaper, the best glossy experience — the ads are just as much a part of that as the articles. Cutting-edge, engaging digital advertising that flies off the page and delights the reader in a way black and white print ads just can’t — that’s the future. If we can crack that, the journalists are safe.

Good publications realize that journalism is a profession that should pay quite well, which makes news content expensive to deliver. With a free model, publications run the risk of creating a barren job market for good journalists. With the dissipation of quality journalism, the quality of content will go down, and along with it, the trust-powered relationship with your readers.

At the end of the day, people are willing to pay for great journalism — even more so if they are feel they are an intimately important part of the community. When readers are offered opportunities to develop relationships with editors, writers, photojournalists and staff or curate playlists according to what they are reading- they are significantly more engaged. So, while digital media is relatively new, the art of engaging people and creating community is a timeless art. The economics follow.

Co-authored by Tien Tzuo, founder and CEO of Zuora; and Katie Vannek-Smith, CMO of News UK.

Source: www.wired.com

Eat, sleep, protest, repeat - 5 ways teenagers can realise their inner activist

As I sat in a fancy hotel surrounded by adults, the question arose as to how big of an invitation has been given to teenagers to become involved in being creators of change. There were two other teenage girls in the room, also on work experience, in many ways we had invited ourselves to that discussion on how change happens. In a similar way, we must invite ourselves to be those creators of change – That’s the thing about us teenagers, we have a way of sneaking in places you’d never expect! Activism is defined as “Using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change”. Change is often a journey as, in my opinion, is activism.

So, from my modest perspective, here are five ways to begin that journey.

1. Educate yourself:

Learn as much as you can about the issues you care about. Read books, search websites and talk to other people. Think of yourself as a detective trying to find every piece of information you can, it will help you form your own opinions and make you more aware of other issues. Also, try to learn about what’s happening in the world at present, the news is a vital tool in your activist kit.

2. Get involved:

Even if you feel like you don’t know enough or that you’re inexperienced, everyone has to start somewhere. Join a youth group working on certain issues or even better, start one! Volunteer with a charity working on local or global issues. Even sign an online petition, or follow a Twitter page, social media is your best friend as a modern activist. Find out how you can get involved, once you make that step you won’t be able to look back.

3. Be Driven:

Find out about causes you’re passionate about and support them as much as you possibly can. If you don’t think there’s any sort of group or activists out there that are doing what you’re interested in make your own. How and why you become involved to make change is completely up to you. When you have begun to get involved, make sure to remind yourself why and stay motivated!

4. Talk to other activists:

Whether this means following a lifelong activist on Twitter, or simply talking to a local youth worker who is interested in the same issues as yourself, talk to other young people, tell them what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, get them involved. Finding out the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of others creating change is a vital part of learning for any activist.

5. Repeat:

As I’ve already said staying motivated is imperative in making any kind of change, but if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, this shouldn’t prove too difficult. Try find some time to stay on top of different projects that may be happening. It can be hard to balance but it’s so worth it when you realise you have the ability to make a difference.

I had never really considered myself to be an activist, sure I’m involved with youth politics, youth groups working for social change and the odd community project. But, an activist? I didn’t think so. What I learnt on my week of work experience with 80:20 Educating and Acting for a Better World is that in fact most of us are already activists, we just need a bit of a push sometimes. Do you only buy fair trade bananas? Consider yourself an activist. Have you ever signed an online petition that affected change? You’re most likely an activist. Ever done a project on human rights? Activism at its finest. In today’s fast paced world activism comes in all shapes and sizes, most of the time you don’t even realise it’s happening. Thanks to social media and our generation, everyday activism is a beautiful thing and I really hope it continues to shape and create change for many generations to come.

I will finish with one of my favourite quotes that a fellow activist shared with me.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world indeed it’s the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead

This blog is a reflection from Tara Hoskins having spent a week with 80:20 Educating and Acting for a Better World as part of her TY work experience in February 2017.

Source: developmenteducation.ie

How To Spot Fake News

Critical thinking is a key skill in media and information literacy, and the mission of libraries is to educate and advocate its importance.

Discussions about fake news has led to a new focus on media literacy more broadly, and the role of libraries and other education institutions in providing this.

When Oxford Dictionaries announce post-truth is Word of the Year 2016, we as librarians realise action is needed to educate and advocate for critical thinking – a crucial skill when navigating the information society.

IFLA has made this infographic with eight simple steps (based on FactCheck.org’s 2016 article How to Spot Fake News) to discover the verifiability of a given news-piece in front of you. Download, print, translate, and share – at home, at your library, in your local community, and on social media networks. The more we crowdsource our wisdom, the wiser the world becomes.

How to Spot Fake News

Download the infographic

Translations

  • Español (Spanish) [PDF] | [JPG]
  • Français (French) [PDF] | [JPG]
  • Deutsch (German) [PDF] | [JPG]
  • Русский (Russian) [PDF] | [JPG]
  • 中文 (Chinese) [coming soon]
  • العربية (Arabic) [PDF] | [JPG]
  • বাংলা (Bengali) [PDF] | [JPG]
  • Български (Bulgarian) [PDF] | [JPG]
  • Hrvatski (Croatian) [PDF] | [JPG]
  • Čeština (Czech) [coming soon]
  • Dansk (Danish) [PDF] | [JPG]
  • Nederlands (Dutch) [PDF] | [JPG]
  • Eesti (Estonian) [PDF] | [JPG]
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Source: IFLA

Social media activism in repressive environments

Activists in the global south talk about integrating social media and offline networks to campaign with limited internet access under repressive regimes.

Egyptians who ousted Hosni Mubarak in 2011 did not decide to occupy Tahrir Square after spending a day chatting on Facebook and Twitter. They spent years building alliances and an infrastructure that could stand up to the regime’s censorship and repression. Social media supported alliances and infrastructure–becoming the right tool at the right time.

Six years later, social media connects activists, organisers and NGOs seeking change around the world. In many countries, however, social media access remains a privilege. Smartphones, laptops and internet access can be very expensive. “You can buy a motorcycle or an acre of land for the cost of an iPhone 7,” said Philip Kabuye, IT support and research officer at Action Aid Uganda.

Repressive regimes are also pushing social network activism offline. People connect in everything from small businesses, houses of worship and informal gatherings of jobless youth.

Physical spaces are critical to campaigner networks. They’re often the only alternative for those living under repressive regimes. And as digital surveillance becomes normalised, organisers in the West find face-to-face networks an essential complement to their online communications. Integrated use of physical objects (think T-shirts, billboards and “pussy hats“) and social media symbols like hashtags become ways to extend the reach of digital campaigns in difficult environments.
We spoke with activists and organisers from several parts of the global south to understand how they see social media and offline networks working together in locations with repressive regimes and/or limited access to social platforms.

Circumventing censorship


Traditional media outlets operating under repressive regimes find it difficult to give their audience the whole story–if that is even their goal. Radio, television and print news outlets are sometimes state-owned. Larger independent media houses may experience intimidation. Their response is often self-censorship.

Governments find it much more difficult to influence social media–though it happens.

“The strength of social media is that you reach a large amount of people fast, often with primary information,” said Rachael Mwikali, a Nairobi-based feminist activist.
The fake news epidemic demonstrates that destabilising the truth can be an effective government (and campaigner) response. Hence, censorship is just one problem campaigners face when using social media. And shifting perceptions in social media (and offline) is a powerful tactic.

The power of the perceived reality


Famed community organizer Saul Alinsky wrote in Rules for Radicals, “The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself.”

On August 19, 2015, Ugandan activist Norman Tumuhimbise and fellow youth activists of the Jobless Brotherhood freed pigs around Kampala, the capital city. Attached to them was a note warning the government to put an end to its corruption, lest the activists take action to make the country ungovernable.

That night, Tumuhimbise disappeared. Friends worked tirelessly to advocate for his release. Their pleas fell on mostly deaf ears of embassies, human rights groups and journalists who feared the repercussions of covering such a story.

The Interparty Youth Platform, a coalition of youth from seven political parties, took matters into their own hands. While others were busy organizing a vigil to declare Tumuhimbise kidnapped and killed by the state, they published a simple graphic on Facebook: a red X over the victim’s face under the phrase “Dead at hands of a dictator.”

Late that night, Tumuhimbise was pushed out of a car near his home where he had been abducted. He suffered a week of torture and dehydration in a cold underground cell. The claim he had been killed was enough to push the state to prove otherwise.

“I think the posting of that graphic online helped save my life,” Tumuhimbise later explained.

Social media as trickle-down campaigning


“Using social media is expensive,” said Mwikali. “We use it for advocacy, WhatsApp group discussions and fundraising, but it is not accessible to people at the grassroots.”

Perhaps this is why, during the recent political transition in the Gambia, most digital campaigning to support incoming president Adama Barrow seemed to be concentrated in the capital of Banjul.

When 22-year dictator Yahya Jammeh was defeated at the polls December 1, he initially conceded to the victor. Jammeh reneged a week later, claiming the vote was rigged. This prompted young Gambians to share information on Jammeh’s coup attempt and their resistance against it using #GambiaHasDecided.

The hashtag assisted online coordination and flow of information in the heavily censored Gambian media. Youth took the hashtag offline, wearing it on their T-shirts.

Numerous young people sporting the #GambiaHasDecided T-shirt were arrested, but eventually released. The resolve of those wishing for an end to Jammeh’s rule seemed to strengthen every day. The hashtag itself is still trending.

#GambiaHasDecided

Photo via YouTube.

“Recently, lots of Gambian youths ventured through a deadly trip to get to Europe,” noted one Gambian activist who preferred anonymity. “They are now supporting their families. This has made many people express themselves without fear of losing their jobs. Social media has played a big role in this political event.”

Diaspora Gambians are using networks like Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp to collect contributions for cloth to be worn at Barrow’s swearing in. They are also distributing phone numbers to call should anyone want to receive a few yards of the cloth and attend the inauguration. The purpose of online activity is to organize offline participation.

Access to modern technology–and its use, including social media–is often concentrated in urban areas. Rural areas of Kenya, Uganda, and the Gambia have more direct ways of organizing, such as face-to-face meetings. There is little evidence that social media mobilisation will trickle down to rural Africans on a large scale, but it is certainly a starting point for young urbanites.

Using social media AND acknowledging its limited reach in marginalised communities is a good rule of thumb. Campaigners across Africa are using social media but few rely on it. The strongest efforts supplement upcountry outreach strategies with on-the-ground actions and outreach to carry messages, including face to face communications and physical objects (T-shirts are just one example).

Source: www.mobilisationlab.org

Why Youth Marketing isn't that Complex

Unfortunately, marketing to the youth demographic of our society is seen by some in our industry as an otherworldly skill that only a special few have mastered. With 90% of briefs that agencies receive targeted at this market, we need to have a much better understanding of this audience.

We are all guilty of being a bit too focused on the end goal, our KPI’s, meaning we are constantly looking for that magical ingredient - be that a social media platform, an influencer or a media partnership that will make all the young people instantly share your content online making it go viral, and making you look cool in front of your peers and clients because you 'get' the 'yoof' of today.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there isn’t an ingredient or hack or a preferred social media platform that you need to be on to make them interested in your product. What they want is for you to be is real.

How can you as a brand do this? Well here are my five key takeaways from Youth Marketing Strategy 2017 talks that will help you become a real brand and have a more meaningful relationship with your audience.

1. Master the art of conversation: Become a storyteller


Put simply, young people want brands to talk to them more. Don’t just attend a fresher’s fair or send them a voucher and then just forget about them, keep them engaged and keep talking to them.

This doesn’t mean you should start churning out content for the sake of it across every single channel. You need to ensure that your message and tone are right, and land at the right time, on the right channel for the right people.

A recent survey from Bam UK found that 24% of students weren't familiar with at least two of the major high street brands, but over half would go on to engage with them later. The first three months are key, as this is where their loyalty builds and sticks.

2. Don’t be a fraud – authenticity is key

Once you’re talking more to your audience, you need to ensure what you are saying is adding value to the conversation and to their lives.

Just as you would in real life, stop and think before you speak. Does your brand have the authority to speak about this topic? If yes then do it; if not, well don’t – it’s that simple.

3. Provide the experience


Part of becoming an authentic, real brand means connecting with your audience in the real world. This is a great way to get your brand message out, but also provide people with a really unique experience that they can connect with.

This doesn’t mean simply visiting a festival and that’s it. Ensuring there is a socially shareable element to the experience is vital. This generation has a FOMO (fear of missing out) and they want their network to see all the unique experiences they have had. So ensuring this has social currency is key to extending your reach organically.

4. Don’t jump ship


“According to the latest data in an industry report x number of 16 to 24-year-olds use x social media platform.” Cue all agencies and brands running onto said platform to engage with their audience.

There are so many channels out there and targeting an audience that is digitally native means you need to carefully consider what you’re doing. Any content (ads included) need to feel native to the platform, with the correct messaging. Don’t create a new social account because all the cool kids are there. Think about whether it’s a relevant platform for your brand and your message, and will this be an always-on strategy or only viable for a one-off campaign.

5. Relax


Brands need to relax the control over their content. Giving it the space to grow and evolve online by co-creation is vital to help ensure it lives longer, is relevant and resonates with the right audience.

Cancer Research understood this with its Stand Up to Cancer campaign and discovered that content created by a third party (creator/influencer) that they ‘hero-ed’ outperformed their own content. This was because the content created had an added layer of authenticity to it.

Although we keep talking about young people as some kind of an alien market, they aren’t. Yes, they are more digitally savvy than other demographics and more on trend. They are, however, still people who want and actively seek genuine and meaningful connections. Our responsibility is to ensure we do this not just for them but for all our consumers.

Source: digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk

Youth, Activism and the Power of Digital Media

As more and more young people find themselves drawn to the world’s issues, the question of how to go about addressing them becomes increasingly important. One area that has proved to be particularly contentious is that of digital media. While there are plenty of arguments for the use of social and online platforms, there have also been various attacks on the efficiency of online activism.

In particular, many have debated the subject of “slacktivism” – the idea that most online activism is ineffective because of the limited commitment it takes to share media, sign a petition or post material. This article will highlight why this is an important issue for young people, how online media can be used for activism and the pros and cons of doing so.

How young people use the internet as an activism tool?


Young people are in a prime position to use technology and the internet as a tool – many of us have grown up with various forms of technology in the home and at school, we understand how to use social media to our advantage and the internet isn’t new or intimidating to us.

This isn’t to say that the older generation aren’t able to do the same things or even better - but for most young people, using several kinds of digital media on a daily basis has just become another aspect of our lives. Even the most skilled adult users have still had to adjust from a time before this became the norm.

When it comes to activism, we can quickly reach more people than ever before in a variety of different ways. From lower levels of action such as signing petitions or sharing an article to more time-consuming efforts like posting a blog or video, activists have an array of tools at their disposal. Spreading awareness and organising gatherings or events no longer has to take up a lot of time and resources, meaning these can be directed elsewhere. [CT1]

Educational resources in the form of articles and videos are plentiful and often thorough (a good example is that of Laci Green, a feminist YouTuber who frequently creates videos covering gender issues, sex positivity and self-care). These platforms are useful for all activists in both self-education and posting our own media to help others.

'Slacktivism'?: the pros and cons of online activism


However, like all systems, there are of course limitations to online activism and some of its best qualities are also its worst. As anyone can post anything, not everything is properly researched, which can lead to a potential spread of misinformation, and even those that are produced carefully can suffer from hateful trolls among more positive commenters. (See our video below for a few ways to stay smart online).

Since the ALS Ice Bucket challenge and Kony 2012, there has been a lot of debate about whether online activism is even worth pursuing at all. Many lower level forms are dismissed as “clicktivism” or “slacktivism”, insinuating that there’s no real effect and that the use of online media is a fad that merely makes people feel good about themselves.

While this could apply to less effective actions such as changing your profile picture to show support or liking a post about an issue, I still think it’s somewhat misguided. I’m not sure people who do just these things consider themselves activists or get any great sense of philanthropy – we like things because we like them, not because the act of clicking a little blue hand is going to change the world.

Other higher level forms of activism, such as signing petitions, sharing media and asking others to donate to a cause (especially when you’ve already donated yourself) don’t deserve this ruthless dismissal. While they take just seconds to carry out, their full effect can be staggering. Petitions have existed for centuries, but websites like change.org have made the process far more straightforward and much quicker. Even if the petition itself doesn’t achieve the desired change, it will have taken less time and effort than a petition that took weeks to collect by hand that received the same result.

Sharing media can raise awareness, educate and motivate great numbers of people in ways that can’t be measured – there’s no knowing how many people might be deeply affected or who might be spurred into a lifetime of action from one person making a particular issue known to them.

Donations are also easier and safer online for both charitable worker and donor – people may be reluctant to give money on the high-street and collectors have to stand and be rejected for hours, but online the process is secure, quick and easily shared with others. And clearly, economic support makes a very substantial difference to those ultimately benefiting from it.

Opening up new channels for change


Those criticising online media often tell users to step away from the computer and go out to volunteer or donate, ignoring the fact that not everyone has lots of money to donate or time to spare, even if they care about the cause deeply. In addition to the points mentioned above regarding donation, online media can allow people to donate as little or as much as they feel able. Digital activism allows those with little time or spare cash a chance to participate in a cause they care about, without putting undue pressure on themselves. Causes are important, but self-care is too – activists can’t help anyone if they’re overly stressed or fatigued from trying to do too much.

Saying “step away” also indirectly dismisses those who are actually donating and volunteering offline, but are using additional platforms to reach a wider audience in more efficient ways. Online activism often goes hand in hand with physical activism, as real passion for a cause leads us to find as many ways to help as we can. It also allows people who want to support multiple causes the chance to help each on different levels (for example, I care about gender-based violence, LGBT+ issues and animal rights, but much of my time goes into the first one – online activism allows me to support the other two as well).

Not everyone can - or should - be an activist


Finally, not everyone has to be an activist. Obviously, improving the world would be a lot faster and easier if every single person wanted to spend their lives working on an issue. But not everyone does and that’s completely fine (probably better than fine, there would be chaos if everyone upped and left their day jobs!). Activism should be pursued out of passion and determination, not guilt.

Youth in particular are already facing unprecedented levels of anxiety and depression from mounting pressure in social and educational spheres. Adding more onto that by saying “Oh, and you have to save the world too” can only end badly. Digital activism, on any level, has allowed us to shed the mentality that we’re just individuals who can’t have any real effect because the world and these issues are just too big.

Activism at its core has always been about bringing people together, knowing that a thousand voices together can achieve great things. Even if a person doesn’t want to spend their days actively fighting for a cause, they do a lot more by clicking “share” than doing nothing at all.

While there are a few downsides to the internet in general, the use of digital media can be immensely rewarding. No one is saying that online activism should replace physical activism and as long as we’re careful, the internet can be an endlessly useful tool to support the first-hand work that is already happening.

To dismiss online activism entirely is to dismiss one of the most vital and ever-improving instruments for change that we have in the modern day.

Source: youthforchange.org

How a new wave of digital activists is changing society

Digital activism has transformed political protest in the last two decades. Smartphones and the internet have changed the way political events, protests and movements are organised, helping to mobilise thousands of new supporters to a diverse range of causes. With such activity becoming an everyday occurrence, new forms of digital activism are now emerging. These often bypass the existing world of politics, social movements and campaigning. Instead, they take advantage of new technologies to provide an alternative way of organising society and the economy.

We've become used to the idea of digital activism and social media being used to publicise and grow political movements, such as the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East and the anti-austerity movement Occupy. Activists, such as those in recent French labour protests, can now live stream videos of their actions using apps such as Periscope while online users contribute to the debate. In Barcelona, the party of new mayor Ada Colau drew up its electoral programme with the help of over 5,000 people, in public assemblies and online, including the formation of network of cyberactivists, SomComuns.



So-called hacktivist organisations such as Anonymous regularly attack the computer networks of the rich and powerful, and even terrorist organisations such as Islamic State . The recent Panama Papers follow similar revelations by Wikileaks and Edward Snowdenas examples of "leaktivism". Here, the internet is used to obtain, leak and spread confidential documents with political ramifications. The Panama leaks have led to protests forcing Iceland's prime minister to step aside and calls for similar action in the UK.

Quiet activism


All these forms of online activism are essentially designed to force change by putting political pressure on leaders and other powerful groups in the real world. But new kinds of digital activity are also attempting to change society more directly by giving individuals the ability to work and collaborate without government or corporate-run infrastructures.

First, there are quieter forms of digital activism that, rather than protesting against specific problems, provide alternative ways to access digital networks in order to avoid censorship and internet shutdowns in authoritarian regimes. This includes bringing internet access to minority and marginalised groups and poverty-stricken rural areas, such as a recent project in Sarantaporo in northern Greece.

But it also involves more unusual technological solutions. Qual.net links your phone or computer to an ad-hoc network of devices, allowing people to share information without central servers or conventional internet access. In Angola, activists have started hiding pirated movies and music in Wikipedia articles and linking to them on closed Facebook groups to create a secret, free file-sharing network.

Second, there are digital platforms set up as citizen, consumer or worker-run cooperatives to compete with giant technology companies. For example, Goteo is a a non-profit organisation designed to raise money for community projects. Like other crowdfunding platforms, it generates funding by encouraging lots of people to make small investments. But the rights to the projects have been made available to the community through open-source and Creative Commons licensing.

The example of the Transactive Grid in Brooklyn, New York, shows how blockchain – the technology that underpins online currencies such as Bitcoin – can be used to benefit a community. The Transactive blockchain system allows residents to sell renewable energy to each other using secure transactions without the involvement of a central energy firm, just as Bitcoin doesn't need a central bank.

These platforms also include organisations that help people to share goods, services and ideas, often so that they can design and make things in peer-to-peer networks – known as commons-based peer production. For example, fablabs are workshops that provide the knowledge and hardware to help members make products using digital manufacturing equipment.

Greater democracy and co-operation


What links these new forms of digital activism is an effort to make digital platforms more democratic, so that they are run and owned by the people that use and work for them to improve their social security and welfare. Similarly, the goods and services these platforms produce are shared for the benefit of the communities that use them. Because the platforms are built using open-source software that is freely available to anyone, they can be further shared and rebuilt to adapt to different purposes.

In this way, they may potentially provide an alternative form of production that tries to address some of the failures and inequalities of capitalism. Using open tools, currencies and contracts gives digital activists a way to push back beyond the louder activity of aggressive cyberattacks and opportunistic social media campaigns that often don't lead to real reform.

The internet has always allowed people to form new communities and share resources. But more and more groups are now turning to a different set of ideological and practical tools, creating cooperative platforms to bring about social change.

Source: phys.org

5 Online Tools For Activists, By Activists



Susannah Vila directs content and outreach at Movements.org, an organization dedicated to identifying, connecting and supporting activists using technology to organize for social change. Connect with her on Twitter @szvila.

Why are social networks powerful tools for causes and campaigns? Many times, people begin to engage in activism only after they’ve been attracted by the fun stuff in a campaign — connecting with old friends and sharing photos, for example. When they witness others participating, they’ll be more likely to join the cause. With socializing as the primary draw, it’s become easier for organizers to attract more and more unlikely activists through social media.

But once a campaign reaches its critical mass, activists might think about moving to other platforms made with their needs — especially digital security — in mind. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter will remain standard fare for online activism. But the time is right for niche-oriented startups to create tools that can supplement these platforms. Here are a few worth investigating.

1. CrowdVoice




Similar to the social media aggregating service Storify, but with an activist bent, CrowdVoice spotlights all content on the web related to campaigns and protests. What’s different about it? Founder Esra’a al Shafei says “CrowdVoice is open and anyone is a contributor. For that reason, it ends up having much more diverse information from many more sources.” If one online activist comes across a spare or one-sided post, he can easily supplement information. Furthermore, campaign participants can add anecdotes and first-hand experiences so that others can check in from afar. CrowdVoice makes it easier for far-flung audiences to stay abreast of protests and demonstrations, but it also helps organizers coordinate and stay abreast of other activist movements.

If one online activist comes across a spare or one-sided post, he can easily supplement information. Furthermore, campaign participants can add anecdotes and first-hand experiences so that others can check in from afar.

CrowdVoice makes it easier for far-flung audiences to stay abreast of protests and demonstrations, but it also helps organizers coordinate and stay abreast of other activist movements.

2. Sukey




During London’s UK Uncut protests this year, police used a tactic called “kettling,” or detaining demonstrators inside heavy police barricades for hours on end. In response, UK Uncut activists created a mobile app to help one another avoid getting caught behind the barricades. The tool, Sukey -- whose motto is “keeping demonstrators safe, mobile and informed” — helps people steer clear of injuries, trouble spots and violence. Sukey’s combination of Google Maps and Swiftriver (the real-time data verifying service from the makers of Ushahidi) also provides a way for armchair protesters to follow the action from afar. Users can use Sukey on a browser-based tool called “Roar,” or through SMS service “Growl.”

3. Off-the-Record Messaging


“Off-the-Record” (OTR) software can be added to free open-source instant messaging platforms like Pidgin or Adium. On these platforms, you’re able to organize and manage different instant messaging accounts on one interface. When you then install OTR, your chats are encrypted and authenticated, so you can rest assured you’re talking to a friend.

4. Crabgrass




Crabgrass is a free software made by the Riseup tech collective that provides secure tools for social organizing and group collaboration. It includes wikis, task files, file repositories and decision-making tools.

On its website, Crabgrass describes the software’s ability to create networks or coalitions with other independent groups, to generate customized pages similar to the Facebook events tool, and to manage and schedule meetings, assets, task lists and working documents. The United Nations Development Programme and members from the Camp for Climate Action are Crabgrass users.

5. Pidder




Pidder is a private social network that allows you to remain anonymous, share only encrypted information and keep close track of your online identity -- whether that identity is a pseudonym or not.

While it’s not realistic to expect anyone to use it as his primary social network, Pidder is a helpful tool to manage your information online. The Firefox add-on organizes and encrypts your sensitive data, which you can then choose to share with other online services. It also logs information you’ve shared with external parties back into to your encrypted Pidder account.

Source: mashable.com

Digital and Online Activism



Increasing accessibility and the ability to communicate with thousands of citizens quickly has made the internet a tool of choice for individuals or organisations looking to spread a social message far and wide. Independent activists the world over are using the internet and digital tools to build their community, connect with other similar-minded people outside their physical surroundings as well as lobby, raise funds and organise events.



Simply put, digital activism is where digital tools (the internet, mobile phones, social media etc) are used towards bringing about social and/or political change. Examples of digital activism are scattered throughout the '80s however, things started to really snowball with the advent of web 2.0 and the dot com boom. The introduction and rapid growth of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter from 2004 onwards helped buttress digital activism to the point where entire campaigns can now be run online (sometimes with little to no offline component) and still have a wide reach. But is reach enough? Many argue that digital tools alone do not suffice when it comes to galvanising people towards creating change. According to online activism think tank Meta-Activism Project, digital activism should serve six key functions: shaping public opinion; planning an action; sharing a call to action; taking action digitally; transfer of resources.

A good timeline of digital activism around the world can be found here.

The Tools


The tools used by digital activists are vast and the list changes constantly in line with the rapid general evolution of technology.

  • Online petitions. Websites such as Change.org and MoveOn.org are hubs of online activism, where people can communicate with others worldwide regarding their cause. MoveOn.org initially grew from a small petition that two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs sent to some family and friends in the late ‘90s, asking for their support in telling the White House to “move on” from the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal to more pressing issues facing the country.
  • Social networks. Sites with high usage numbers such as Facebook and YouTube have proven beneficial in spreading a message, garnering support, shining information on a subject that might otherwise be overlooked by mainstream media. Protests in 2011 in Tunisia and Egypt against their respective governments were in part organised and promoted via Facebook.
  • Blogs. Essentially a form of citizen journalism for the masses, blogs provide an effective means of non-filtered communication with an audience about any topic and have been used in numerous online campaigns.
  • Micro-blogging. Micro-blogging sites such as Twitter are used to help spread awareness of an issue or activist event. Twitter's hashtag function, which allows people to have their tweets contribute to a multi-user conversation by typing a keyword or phrase preceded by a hashtag, is used frequently as a digital tool for spreading a message. The Chinese equivalent to Twitter, Weibo is subject to scrupulous government censorship however people circumvent this blockade by using code words when writing about issues that might be government-sensitive.
  • Mobile phones. Controversy surrounding the 2007 presidential elections in Kenya led to the introduction of Ushahidi Inc., a company which developed a piece of software that allowed people to send texts and pictures of violence following the elections which were plotted geographically on a Google map. The software has since been used to plot activity in disaster zones following earthquakes in Haiti and New Zealand and flooding in Australia and the USA.
  • Proxy servers. As a means of circumventing government intervention when it comes to online protesting, many people employ proxy servers, which act as intermediaries between a user and a site, thus essentially circumventing national restrictions on any site. In 2009, student protesters in Iran took to social media to voice their concern over the contentious reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This led to a cat and mouse game of the government trying to identify which media were being used by the protesters to communicate (social networks and then eventually proxy servers) and shutting them down.

  • Getting the Message out There


    One of the biggest benefits of using digital tools for positive change is the ability to connect with a large community and, if applicable, globalise a campaign's goals. The interconnected nature of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter lend themselves easily to information sharing, meaning an activist can post a slogan, picture or details about an issue, share it with friends, plug into likeminded online communities and distribute info through their networks in a much less time and energy-consuming way than more traditional methods of going door-to-door or standing on street corners and asking passersby to sign petitions.

    In 2012, a protest erupted over new legislation against online piracy being passed into US law, which many argued fell to heavily into the realm of censorship. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) were put forward as a way to curb online piracy and halt infringements on intellectual property yet the tough sanctions they proposed would mean that legal sites that had a section promoting the distribution of illegal material could face having their entire domain 'blacklisted' as opposed to simply being required to remove infringing content.

    A protest was instigated by activists before organisations like Reddit and the english version of Wikipedia caught on and joined in by 'blacking out' the internert, blocking access to their content completely or only provided limited access to users. Google, Mozilla and Flickr also joined the protest and a number of street marches were held throughout the US to protest the laws. According to Wikipedia ''...3 million people emailed Congress to express opposition to the bills, more than 1 million messages were sent to Congress through the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a petition at Google recorded over 4.5 million signatures, Twitter recorded at least 2.4 million SOPA-related tweets, and lawmakers collected more than 14 million names...who contacted them to protest the bills.'' Though the flashy web black outs were what drew the most attention (and probably caused such a large number of people to protest), it is the individual activists who kicked off the campaign who have been credited with its success, with Forbes stating: ''...it was the users who urged and sometimes pressured technology companies to oppose the bills, not the other way around. While the big companies eventually came on board, the push for them to do so came largely from activists using social networking and social news sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit, to build momentum and exert leverage, sometimes on the very companies whose tools they were using.'' The campaign, in part, has been credited with the proposed laws being reviewed and, for the moment, shelved.

    Beyond getting the message out there, digital activism allows anyone with access to the digital world a platform to make their case and call for change and it can be particularly beneficial to those who are often silenced or have no vehicle for their message. Writing about the blurring of offline and online activism that occurred in the US following the shooting of African American teenager Michael Brown, founder and director of the Meta-Activism Project, Mary Joyce, stated ''...just like any other kind of activism, digital activism is only necessary when conventional methods of addressing injustice fail. “[I]nternet campaigns calling for justice” are only necessary for those whom the existing system does not serve.''

    In April 2014, Boko Haram terrorists kidnapped more than 300 girls from a school in northern Nigeria. Some 50 girls managed to escape but 276 remained captured prompting an international outcry that was largely funnelled into a social media campaign to lobby governments to intervene. The topic #BringBackOurGirls went viral within a week, with people like activist Malala Yousafzai and US First Lady, Michelle Obama, tweeting their support. The rapid fire rate that the hashtag #BringBack OurGirls shot across the internet helped galvanise public support for the families of the girls while the case drew attention from the international media and heads of state offered to help Nigeria find and bring back the missing girls.

    Where digital activism enjoys the biggest success however, is when it is used as a complementary tool to offline action or is used as the introductory method to encourage people to engage in offline action. One of the other key attributes of digital activism is that it is, for the large part, a non-violent form of protest. Acts of cyber crime are certainly committed under the guise of 'digital activism' (for example, cases of cyberterrorism, malicious hacking and extreme cyber bullying of a company or organisation) however, according to a study by the University of Washington, these make up around two to three percent of total digital activism cases.

    Reduced to a Hashtag: Clicktivism and the Threat of Too Many Messages


    Generally speaking, clicking like on someone's Facebook post or retweeting a trending hashtag on Twitter requires less effort and less forethought than signing (or setting up) a petition or joining in a demonstration on the streets. Because of this, digital activism has come under fire with some arguing that much of the online engagement in issues is too reductive and passive, defining this new era of activism as 'clicktivism', 'slacktivism' and 'armchair activism'.

    Detractors of digital activism point out that it requires people to do the bare minimum to engage in a topic (while allowing them to score some virtual brownie points for their 'good deed'). Messages and ideals can get brushed aside in the push for more clicks, likes, impressions and page views when campaigning online and the information superhighway is now bumper-to-bumper with causes and campaigns which can make it difficult for any of them to achieve meaningful impact. Just like with traditional media, a lot of the time, certain campaigns and causes only start to gain momentum once a prominent individual or organisation picks up on it.

    One of the biggest digital campaigns in recent years took place in summer 2014 in support of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The campaign featured videos of people, including a number of global celebrities, tipping buckets of ice water over themselves before nominating three other people to do the same. As part of what was called the 'ALS Ice Bucket Challenge', challengees were asked to make a donation to the ALS Association or other ALS non-profit.

    The web-friendly nature of the campaign (the use of videos, the involvement of celebrities as well as nominating others to do the challenge, thereby ensuring the spread of the campaign) saw it weave through the web quickly with more than 2 million video uploaded to Facebook and over 3 million up in Instagram, dominating social media feeds as well as online and offline media. The challenge helped raise 220 million USD globally for ALS yet drew criticism from some about the fact that the serious aspects of the campaign (the disease) were buried under jaunty, jovial videos of people dousing themselves in cold water. Some iterations of the challenge meant that those taking part did not have to make a donation while a number of videos uploaded made no mention of ALS at all.

    Similarly, the efficacy of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign mentioned above has been called into question with the girls still in the hands of Boko Haram. An article by Al Jazeera highlights that despite the huge level of awareness raised about the kidnapping, little has been done to bring the girls back. In the article, protest coordinator Hadiza Bala Usman stated "People need to remember that 219 girls remain in captivity. We appreciate the fact that the media propelled a lot of support around the world, but that support has not translated into any rescue. For us, if whatever is said and done doesn't translate into the rescue of the girls, it hasn't really achieved anything." The reaction on social media to the girls' kidnapping was sharp and swift but attention dropped off as other campaigns and issues (such as the ALS challenge) took precedence. As stated in an article by the BBC about the ice bucket challenge, our mental budget for charity is finite.

    Co-creator of the Occupy Wall Street protests (which called for an end to social and economic inequality and challenged the amount of corporate influence on government) Micah White has argued that this passivity is undermining traditional forms of activism. In a 2010 piece for the Guardian, he wrote: ''The truth is that as the novelty of online activism wears off, millions of formerly socially engaged individuals who trusted digital organisations are coming away believing in the impotence of all forms of activism. Even leading Bay Area clicktivist organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to motivate their members to any action whatsoever. The insider truth is that the vast majority, between 80% to 90%, of so-called members rarely even open campaign emails. Clicktivists are to blame for alienating a generation of would-be activists with their ineffectual campaigns that resemble marketing.''

    The 24 hour news cycle coupled with the breakneck pace at which we learn of, digest and move on from certain issues can often mean that issues and campaigns can run hot across the web one day and vanish the next.

    Computer Literacy, Internet Accessibility, Censorship and Mobile Campaigning


    Of course, a number of factors come strongly into play here regarding who can get involved and how, particularly in parts of the world where access to the internet and digital literacy skills are low or where web activity is highly monitored and often interrupted by the government and authorities.

    To help circumvent issues around digital literacy and access to the web, activists use technology and media that has high penetration in some of these areas. For example, the number of people who regularly use the Internet in India hovers at the around the 90 million mark, which is quite low when considering India’s 1,2 billion population. Based on these figures, there are some who argue that precedence should be given to mobile campaigning in India (which has already had success when used during blood donation drives), given that 74 per cent of the population uses mobile phones.

    As mentioned earlier, many activists in China use coded language in order to dodge the heavy censorship laws in the country. In 2014, as the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests approached, officials placed strict limits and blocks on any online activity or searches relating to the anniversary or the event itself. To get around this, the online community went covert, employing actions such as wearing a black shirt, replacing the protest's date (June 4 1989) with May 35 in online activity and photoshopping giant yellow ducks over the tanks in the iconic Tank Man photo and spreading that online. This endless cat-and-mouse game, whereby censors try to keep up with the codes and ban them, could result in action and codes becoming so obscure that they have reduced impact, as a 2014 article in the MIT Technology Review pointed out.

    Measuring Success


    The success of online and digital activism can be difficult to determine. Mary Joyce, founder of DigiActive and Meta-Activism Project, states that overall success can be perceived if the activist’s initial campaign goal was achieved. However, in many cases of online activism, the goal of the online components may have been achieved (awareness building, mobilization of people) while the overall goal of the campaign was not. This trend leaves the field ripe for argument from critics of online activism to discuss the validity of it as a movement.

    The larger-scale campaigns get the attention of the media, however smaller-scale campaigns can be just as effective and often meet their goals. Examples of this include non-profit organisations using online platforms to raise funds for a cause or corporations withdrawing advertising or products as a result of online backlash and petitions.

    While digital activism has a lot to offer the savvy campaigner, it also does sometimes have limitations as to how much effective change it can generate. With this in mind, it is worth considering that all online activity should be coupled with offline activity in order to have greater impact.

    Source: reset.org

The 6 Activist Functions of Digital Tech





From the revolutionaries of the Arab Spring and Occupy Movements to nonprofits, bloggers, and political candidates, people hoping to change the world are using digital technology to do so.

It seems that every day we learn about a new tactic, social media tool, or argument about how technology has been over-hyped or undersold. The variety and complexity seems infinite.

I’ve been studying digital activism for the past six years, and during that time I’ve had the nagging sense that this variety is not infinite, that if we look at digital activism for long enough, we will start seeing patterns. What previously seemed like infinite applications will turn out to be a limited number of technological functions appearing in diverse contexts. Digital activism’s variety comes from context, not technical capacity. Today’s digital technologies are capable of a broad, but finite, number of uses.

So I’m going to make a bold claim, digital technology can only do six things for activists. These six uses can be carried out through a variety of tools (blogs, micro-blogs, SMS, websites, social networks, video, the list goes on) and in a variety of contexts (revolutionary struggle under a repressive regime, international social justice campaign, local advocacy, democratic political elections…), but there are still only six of them.

Activists can use digital technology to:

1) Shape Public Opinion


Collective resistance, protest, activism, advocacy: where do they come from? They come from a collective perception of injustice coupled with a belief that an alternative is possible. As social movement scholar Doug McAdam observes, in order for collective action to occur, “at a minimum people need to believe need to feel aggrieved about some aspect of their lives and optimistic that, acting collectively, they can redress the problem.”

What would make you feel aggrieved about your life? You’d need some information about your situation and maybe an explanation of why that situation was unjust. Social media is a great way to both generate and share this kind of information, especially when official news-generation companies (the mainstream media) are beholden to elites whose interests are different from yours or by a government that does not want to be criticized.

In China, many educated people get their news from Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. Though censors are quick to delete information that reflect poorly on the government, people use clever misspellings and codewords to talk about information that matters to them. Despite the government’s desire to downplay a high-speed train crash last summer, the news got through. All this information about government corruption and incompetence makes people feel more aggrieved, less contented with the status quo, more desirous of an alternative.

The people of China have not yet risen up to demand an alternative, but the citizens of Tunisia did. The causes of the 2011 revolution are of course complex, but the Internet played an important role in challenging the legitimacy of President Ben Ali by shining a light on his corruption and abuses. Starting in 2004, the website Nawaat.org, operated by a group of Tunisian expatriates, provided a constant stream of information about political injustices in Tunisia. They occasionally created funny or entertaining digital videos framing Ben Ali as a tyrant or highlighting a particularly egregious instance of abuse of power.In 2010, shortly before the revolution, Sami Ben Gharbia, one of the founders of Nawaat, also started TuniLeaks, a site to bring attention to State Department cables detailing Ben Ali’s abused of power.

In Egypt, before anyone went out to protest in Tahrir, the Internet played an important role in fomenting opposition to Mubarak and challenging his legitimacy. According to Ahmed Saleh, one of the administrators of the Facebook page We Are All Khaled Said:

The Internet offered an open environment that politicized the youths, allowed them to raise awareness on possibilities of shaping their future, diversified their perspectives, anonymized their identities, gave them the taste of free speech, and pushed them to see through the regime propaganda and despise it.

In a recent article in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that the Internet was a space for formative public discourse even before the social media wave hit. In 1991, Tunisia became the first Middle Eastern country connected to Internet. In that decade, before the rise of blogs, web forums served an important political function:

Such forums became sources of un-reported news, discussion, social commentary, and political debate, paving the way for the region’s bloggers. In countries where political discussion was taboo… web forums created new spaces, outside of society, where political discussion was relatively safe.

Digital technology helps the public shape public opinion. Anyone with an Internet connection can start a blog. Anyone with a smartphone can record and upload a video of police abuse. Not only can people act as citizen journalists, creating their own news stories, they can also educate and raise awareness of injustice by curating and re-broadcasting news stories to their friends using whatever social media platform they prefer, or even an old-fashioned technology like email.

The Internet can also be used to access foreign media and information. In China virtual private networks (VPNs) are a popular way for middle class Chinese to access news about their own country that is censored in China. However, it is important not to overstate the role that foreign information plays. The most powerful way to spread information is when the oppressed inform one another. The became agents of their own consciousness-raising.

User-generated content, the fact that people are sharing information with their friends and family, is different from past modes of mass information dissemination. In the past there have been brave journalists and television anchormen who have shared information with the public and fomented opposition to an unjust policy (for example Walter Cronkite’s broadcasts against the Vietnam War and Edward R. Murrow’s broadcasts against McCarthyism). However, while these broadcasts did make people feel more aggrieved, it didn’t necessarily make them feel optimistic about change. They felt aggrieved, but alone, in front of the TV set. What could they do by themselves?

Social media is different because the means of information transmission also creates collective identity and collective grievance creates optimism: it’s not just me that’s mad, my friends are mad too. Maybe together we can do something. If my friend shares a news item with me about a corrupt official I know that 1) he knows, 2) he is mad enough to share it, 3) he knows that now I know too. To badly paraphrase Clay Shirky, social media creates a situation where I know that you know and I know that you know that I know: we have mutual awareness of our mutual awareness. It is not just me and my friends sitting alone stewing about an injustice in front of our TV set, it is my friends and I talking about this injustice in a forum, or a chat, or on my Facebook wall. And that conversation just might turn into action.

2) Plan an Action


Changing public opinion is a slow, low-burning, and often decentralized process. It is uneventful, it occurs under the radar. This is how it is able to occur at all. Yet, sooner or later, if there are enough people (of even just the right people) talking about their dissatisfaction, they will decide to take action.

Of course, action doesn’t just happen, it requires some planning, even if only to decide what the action is and when it will happen. Digital technology is useful for this too. Digital technology allows for the decentralized many-to-many communication of changing public opinion and the centralized few-to-few communication of planning an action.

Yet social media, and the mass participation it facilitates, are also changing how the prominent members of a moment perceive their role. They see themselves less as leaders and more as specially-skilled peers accountable to the rank-and-file. Activists in Russia are using a private Facebook group not so much to plan the pro-democracy protests there, but to act as a braintrust. According to the The Economist:

The main role in organising the protests belongs not to political parties or even to an official steering committee, but to Facebook…. Ilya Faybisovich, a Facebook activist… helped a dozen journalists, activists and opinion-makers to form a private chat group that has over time evolved into the brain centre of the protest movement. One of them is Yuri Saprykin, editorial director at Afisha-Rambler… says the group’s role is not to lead the protesters but to “sense their demands and formulate them”.

Social media is making decentralized and leaderless movements logistically easier, since participants can be in constant contact. Research has shown that large groups can use social media to reach decisions in the absence of leaders (see Alix Dunn’s work on the April 6th Facebook group in Egypt – PDF). However, even when planning occurs as it always did, in a small group of committed activists, video chat, text chat, free international online calling, and email make coordination cheaper, safer, and easier.

3) Protect Activists


The Internet and mobile technology provide benefits to the age-old planning process: they provide anonymity. Pseudonyms, encryption, throw-away cell phones, onion-routing: digital technology provides real protection for tech-savvy people who want to operate anonymously. Hacker groups like Anonymous and LulzSec, as well as whistle-blowers connected to Wikileaks have by and large remained at large (with Bradley Manning the major exception).

No shield of anonymity is absolute. In the absence of anonymity protections, planning online in a repressive regime – or even self-identifying as a dissident – is arguably even more dangerous than doing so offline, since digital footprints are easy to collect and track remotely. However, for those who do know how to protect themselves, the online world provides a safe space for plotting.

4) Share a Call to Action


The 11 senators are pigs! S&@t, Estrada is acquitted! Let’s do People Power! Pls. pass

WEAR BLACK TO MOURN THE DEATH OF DEMOCRACY.

Military needs to see 1 million at rally tomorrow, Jan. 19, to make a decision to go against Erap! Please pass this on

Protesters demanding Estrada’s ouster in Manila


These are some of the text messages Filipino youth sent to one another in 2001 before the overwhelming mobilizations that forced President Joseph “Erap” Estrada to resign. This was one of the first instances of digital activism playing a central role in forcing a head of government to resign, and it is still one of the most dramatic. People forwarded these messages to their own social networks and the call to action spread throughout Manila. Approximately one million Filipinos took part in the demonstrations, which at times filled the cities largest highway with people as far as the eye could see. An estimated one million citizens participated. It was because of digital technology that this vanishingly low-cost mass broadcast was possible.

Of course, digital calls to action can be infinitely more mundane as well. You know those mass emails from non-profits asking you to sign an e-petition or donate on their website? Those automatically-generated status message that let all your Facebook friends know you just donated and gives them a link to donate as well? Those are calls to action too.

In fact, while people in repressive regimes run the risk that their calls to action will be censored (China blocks messages calling for mass “strolling”), people in freer societies face the opposite challenge: there are so many advocacy messages that it is difficult to be heard. Free speech is not just free as in “freedom” but also “free beer”: it is really cheap and easy to broadcast a call to action online, so many people do.

While it is now easier to broadcast a call to action, it is also harder to be heard. It’s a catch-22 that activists and organizations try to make up with through attention-grabbing text and images that inspire strong emotional reactions, ranging from amusement to outrage. But it’s far better than the alternative, where the only people with freedom of the press were those who owned one.

5) Take Action Digitally


Signing an e-petition, donating online, changing your Facebook status message or avatar image to promote a cause, emailing your Congressman, carrying out a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack: these are just some examples of digital-only activism tactics.

These kinds of actions that can be carried out entirely from behind a screen in your bedroom are the most controversial form of digital activism because they seem passive compared to more aggressive offline tactics (an argument famously made by Malcolm Gladwell). The tactics are known by various derogatory names: slacktivism, clicktivism, armchair activism. Some people even think that digital activism means exclusively digital-only tactics, even though it is only one of the five mechanisms.

People like Gladwell are skeptical that these tactics can make a big difference, and there is a basis for that skepticism. Gene Sharp, the most prominent scholar of non-violent activism, divides the tactics of non-violent struggle into three categories:
  1. Protest and Persuasion: Symbolic acts of peaceful opposition and acts to persuade the opponent to adopt one’s position
  2. Noncooperation: Withdrawal of some form or degree of existing cooperation
  3. Nonviolent Intervention: Methods that intervene directly in a given situation by disrupting or destroying established behaviors, relationships, or institutions (and creating new ones)

Most forms of digital-only activism tactics fall into the first category – protest and persuasion – which are least threatening to the opponent. Signing an e-petition, turning your Twitter icon green, even emailing your Congressman – these are all symbolic or persuasive in nature. They do not force a change in the situation.

However, there are three arguments in favor of digital-only tactics. The first is that they are a good first rung on the ladder of engagement. They do not demand much of the opponent, but they also demand little of the activist in terms of time and personal risk. You can sign an e-petition or join a Facebook group in a few seconds. If your only activism options were offline – attending a rally or meeting – maybe you wouldn’t get involved in the cause at all. However, because it is so easy to take that first step digitally, you will get involved. Then it is up to the organizer to convince you to keep moving up, becoming more involved in the campaign and having greater and greater impact.

The second argument of digital-only actions is that they are not all passive. When the company GoDaddy.com vocally supported SOPA, many customers dropped their accounts. Though this boycott (a form of noncooperation) could all be accomplished online, it hit GoDaddy.com where they could feel it: their bottom line. GoDaddy.com quickly dropped their support of SOPA.

Many instances of hacking, such as the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that shut down a website by overloading it with requests could be seen as nonviolent interventions that prevent the opponent from carrying out their online activities. The Cablegate scandal, in which Wikileaks and its collaborators stole and disseminated US State Department diplomatic cables online, was an act of nonviolent intervention in the foreign policy of the United States because it damaged the relationships of confidence that the embassies had with the State Department and that embassy staff had with representatives of other nations. Though conducted from behind a screen, Cablegate was hardly passive.

The final and most effective argument in favor of digital-only tactics is that they work. Even the lowly e-petition has seen some dramatic successes recently. Mighty Bank of America, which had $134 billion in revenue in 2010, removed a $5 monthly debit card fee because of a consumer petition. The multi-platform decentralized social media campaign to convince Komen for the Cure to re-fund a grant to Planned Parenthood to pay for mammograms for needy woman was also successful.

Digital-only tactics can succeed, but it depends on the opponent. Bank of America was facing major public outrage and it was relatively easy for their clients to go elsewhere. Komen for the Cure relies on public goodwill to raise money. Bad publicity means that donors will take their money elsewhere too. In both cases the context fit the tactic, though this is not always the case. Changing your Twitter icon green did not much help pro-democracy activists in Iran in 2009. Just as it would be foolish to only consider digital tactics, it would be foolish to reject these tactics out of hand. They key is to be aware of all your tactical options and make a decision based on the relative strengths and weaknesses of you and your opponent.

6) Transfer Resources


In the 2008 US presidential election, online micro-donations raised hundred of millions of dollars for President Obama and other candidates. New internet-mediated campaigning organizations like MoveOn.org fund themselves in a similar way. One of the greatest blows to Wikileaks in 2010 was when major credit card and payment processingcompaniesrefused to process donations to the organization. When a video of schoolchildren tormenting their elderly chaperone went viral in late June of 2012, a private citizen began collecting a vacation fund for her and $500,000 has been raised to date.

These are only a few examples of the ability of the Internet to act as a conduit for resources, specifically money. And, as the above examples show, these transfers can be important not only in funding new types of organizations, but in shifting the balance of power, either to an unlikely political candidate or away from an organization threatening state power.

Of course, it is not all good news. In his new book,The Moveon Effect, David Karpf explains how legacy nonprofits are experiences the problem of “analog dollars to digital dimes.” Their past fundraising methods of direct mail and membership dues are drying up, and they are not able to fill the gaps with online donations. New organizations the MoveOn, which do sustain themselves online, have much lower overhead – a permanent staff of a few dozen rather than a few hundred. Still, online fundraising is an important asset to digital activists and advocacy organizations.

1) Shape Public Opinion (Again)


Digital technology can be used to mobilize people to take action online or offline. But what happens next? What happens during the action and after? The value of digital technology does not end once the action occurs, it cycles back to the beginning: shaping public opinion of the action itself.

Activists choose an action because they think it will help them achieve redress of their grievance, either by convincing the opponent to change their policy or by removing the opponent’s power to enforce the policy, thereby opening a space for more sweeping changes.

However, very few campaigns are won through a single action, so while the long-term goal of the action is to seek a redress of grievances, the short-term goal is to help the activists mobilize for the next action by increasing their own power and legitimacy and decreasing the power and legitimacy of their opponent.

Surprisingly, power is heavily reliant on perception. The government of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali was not fundamentally different the day before and the day after Muhamed Bouazizi killed himself, but people perceived in his story, and in the video of his family members protesting at the local government seat, evidence that Ben Ali had stepped beyond a threshold of permissible action. His government had not killed a citizen, his government had created such despair that the citizen killed himself. Ben Ali’s legitimacy (right to rule) had taken a fatal blow.

When Bouazizi’s family protested his death in front of town hall, they recorded a video of it an uploaded it. A few Tunisians watched the video, were outraged, and shared it using social media. Well-connected activists sent the video to journalists at Al Jazeera. Forbidden from reporting from within Tunisia, Al Jazeera was eager to report on the regime. Reporting by Al Jazeera brought the story to a national and regional audience, where it resonated. People in other towns began to protest, and finally the protests reached the capital. Local media, which at first was beholden to the regime, broke ranks and began favorably reporting on the opposition.

After Ben Ali resigned, news of the successful uprising spread rapidly, on regional satellite TV and US-based social media, two media outlets least susceptible to the control of Middle Eastern governments. People in other countries in the Middle East, were previously aggrieved by their lack of political rights. That was old news. Now, however, because of the example of Tunisia, they felt optimistic that change was possible.

Just as social media was important in created a collective sense of dissatisfaction with the status quo, it was now building on that initial dissatisfaction, using a recent event to convince even more people that change was possible. It was the beginning of an information cascade, which occurs when people observe the actions of others and then make the same choice that the others have made. The Arab Spring can be viewed as one of the most dramatic information cascades in recent memory and social media was important both in disseminating information and in collecting information and images to be re-broadcast by other media outlets.

And If We Win?


Shaping public opinion, planning an action, protecting activists, sharing a call to action, take action digitally, shape public opinion again: digital technology helps activists throughout the change process from the first spark of consciousness that the status quo is unacceptable to the international ripple effects of a dramatic action. The next post in this series will dig more deeply this cycle of digital empowerment.

A question that this post does not answer is now digital technology can help activists hold power and govern. All these functions assume that activists are on the outside, pressuring and challenging institutions of power like governments, corporations, and influential non-profits. But what happens when the activists when, when they take power? Will digital technology change the way governments were or will the centralized and hierarchical nature of government swallow digital technology and minimize its importance? This is the question that is playing our in the countries that underwent the Arab Spring last year. The answer is not yet known.

Source: meta-activism.org

Rising of Facebook Activism: How Media Is Being Politicized



Right now, in the 21st century, everything is political. Even the private issues and the views become about politics, and the young people are the ones who can’t draw the line and are dragging politics into their daily life. This way, even the social media becomes a part of the political struggle and you can see more and more activists for something online.

The Structure of Facebook Activism Explained


  • Activists usually know too little about their passion.
    This is the biggest issue with the activism of any kind when it becomes popular. There are a lot of people who don’t take much time to engage in reading and studying the issue. They simply catch some popular mottos and use those a lot, so if you hope to have a constructive dialogue, it’s not always possible.
  • There’s a high level of radicalism.
    Indeed, when the issue becomes politicized, it gets close to the religious kind of fundamentalism and radicalism. Quite often you can meet the people on Facebook who will be pretty close to Westboro Baptist Church on the scale of tolerance.
  • A lot of people are leaning towards the left side of the spectrum.
    When we think on activism and radicalism, it’s often the alt-right movements that come to mind, but there actually are more of the left-wingers there.
  • Social justice warriors are not really advocating for justice.
    This is also quite true with many of the activists, you won’t see the open-mindedness and the readiness to compromise. A lot of people will heavily judge you if you don’t agree with them and it’s definitely not about justice. Most of those are really young and belong to millennials.
  • There is a lot of censorship involved.
    Facebook is not opened for the opinions of any kind and it bans, blocks and hides a lot of messages and posts. There were a lot of recent arguments involving Facebook and the pressure on the conservative news and groups. There are also bans on the things like hate speech and some unpleasant or offensive content for the people. You can set your own settings to block the things like that.
  • It allows a lot of people to engage in a dialogue.
    This is true, social media and especially something as big as Facebook brings a lot of people together. For the most part, without social media, they would have never met and there wouldn’t be as many of the political stuff on the board.
  • Grassroots movements are on the rise in general.
    It seems that it’s the common trend and you can’t run away from that. People love groups, people want to be social, people like discussing things, and with the Internet, it becomes even easier.


Activism, in general, is never the thing of justice and constructivism. It’s clear that more and more people and movements are using social media to get the audience they need and gain new members. It’s expected that the tendency will only grow with the time and it’s highly unlikely that it will stop. Facebook is a good platform for activism and it allows you to easily find the people with the similar interests and ideas, so the factions are impossible to avoid with the globalization.

Source: digiactive.org

Social Media Is Undeniably Giving Power To Youth Activists



Activism has no age.

Young adults are often told that they cannot enact real social or political change. They are too young, too inexperienced, too naïve, or too idealistic for the serious work of activism. But as the millennial generation has shown time and time again, young adults hold wide potential in the realm of activism and social justice work.

Their efforts have been significantly spurred by social media outreach, creating greater accessibility and garnering wider audiences than other movements in the past. Yet this, in turn, spurs the discussion of social media activism — is it enough to consistently re-post articles or re-tweet motivational hashtags? To show support online rather than in a rally? While the uses of social media are debatable, it has undeniably allowed young activists to incite changes that resonate on a large scale.

A recent example is the massive Boston Public School walkout in early March. Over 2,000 students walked out of classes and marched through downtown Boston to protest proposed budget cuts to the city’s school system. The proposed $20 million cuts would debilitate the budgets of schools across the city, forcing them to cut certain academic programs, extracurriculars, and even the free student MBTA pass. Middle and high school students alike raised their voices against these injustices, creating a demonstration that forced both Bostonian witnesses and the leaders of the city’s education system to consider the damages of the proposed cuts.

The Boston school walkout is one of many instances that shows the power of social media paired with youth activism. Protesters spread their message on Twitter using the hashtag #bpswalkout, summoning students across the city to walk out of their classes on Monday morning. While adults often cite social media as evidence of this generation’s narcissism and laziness, social networks can invaluably unite people in a common cause.



Social media has also been utilized by student activists at universities across the country protesting racism and a lack of diversity in higher education. At the University of Missouri (“Mizzou”), a student-led activist group known as Concerned Student 1950 issued a list of demands in October 2015, intending to address and dismantle institutional racism amongst students and administration at the university. A syllabus about the protest, institutional racism, and black activism was also created to be used in classrooms across the nation. After a graduate student’s hunger strike, a 30-student-strong boycott of the football team, and a myriad series of protests, president Timothy Wolfe announced his resignation and the university agreed to implement a series of initiatives such as diversity training for faculty and staff and the hiring of a Chief Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Officer.

The movement gained national attention and news coverage through its extensive social media presence, highlighting the power of determined students with a boundless online audience. The activists at the University of Missouri also inspired other similar protests across the country. Likeminded students in Ithaca College’s People of Color at IC, Yale University’s Black Student Alliance, and Brandeis University’s Ford Hall 2015, among others, have released similar demands and sparked campus protests against racism.

On a more global scale, consider Pakistani youth activist Malala Yousafzai. In 2013 she was shot by the Taliban on her way to school, and after recovering the attack she co-established the Malala Fund. An advocate for girls’ education and empowerment, at 17 she became the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize. She will continue fighting until every girl across the world has the opportunity to go to school. Her story spread extensively on social media with the help of hashtags like #StrongerThan and #BooksNotBullets.

Millennial activism is distinguished by its online accessibility. Yet its reliance on social media leads many critics to claim that young people engage only in “Facebook activism,” in which they share or re-tweet articles and posts but do not actually contribute to the cause. While this is a valid concern, millennial activism cannot be discounted based on its online presence.

As the past few years have shown, youth activists have a wealth of untapped potential to both identify pressing societal issues and encourage others to create change. Young people have the remarkable power to create dialogue on critical issues, and these conversations — often on social media — are the first step in enacting real change.

Source: theodysseyonline.com

Web Activism in São Paulo: New Political Practices



In September 2011, Ocupa Sampa, a Brasilian activist movement started to occupy Sao Paulo’s center, adopting the same strategy as 15M in Spain or Occupy Wall Street in New York. Analyzing the use of web activism in the organization of this movement, this essay focuses on the role of Ocupa Sampa as a possible precursor to the June Days, which started two years later.

In the last months of 2011, thousands of activists took to the streets in many parts of the world, occupying squares and other public spaces in political and cultural demonstrations that were original in many ways. In October the same year, Acampa Sampa was beginning in São Paulo, later to be called Ocupa Sampa, since it was not just a “camp”, but an “occupation” and a re-signification of the city. Young people responded to the 150 call, a global call to claim for real democracy: mobilizations were happening in many parts of Europe, the United States, the Arab countries and Latin America with the slogan: “We are not merchandise in the hands of politicians and bankers that do not represent us”.

A few days later, protesters were occupying the area of Vale do Anhangabaú, a degraded but traditional place for social and union movements located in the inhospitable city center, with a lot of movement during daytime but very little at night. The occupation was similar to the “acampadas” and “occupies” in the United States and Spain, gathering 250 tents and around 600 young people from mid-October to December, in an experience which was unique but of little impact on the life of the city during those weeks, passing almost unnoticed by the traditional media. However, Ocupa Sampa was an important milestone for the organization and mobilization of a basic juvenile public. The movement marked the beginning of new ways of action, of a new relationship with the city and a new sociability. The young protagonists of Ocupa Sampa also experienced the benefits of digital culture and online social networks for the movement’s visibility.

Other youth movements preceded and fed Ocupa Sampa: Movimento Passe Livre, Marcha da Maconha (Marijuana March) and Marcha das Vadias (SlutWalk). In May 2011, five months before Ocupa Sampa, the violent repression of the Marcha da Maconha (a strong movement for marijuana decriminalization, born in 2007) by the riot police of Policia Militar, brought five thousand people of all ages to the streets for the Marcha da Liberdade, under the manifest: “We are not virtual. We are REAL. A network made of flesh and bone people. Organized in a horizontal, autonomous and free form.” June 2011 saw the first Marcha das Vadias, a loud juvenile feminist movement with international connections, arising from a case which took place at Toronto University (a police officer blamed the victims for a wave of rapes). Topless activists got the movement to the front page of Brazilian newspapers, claiming that “the choice to go topless is legitimated and supported because we believe that politics goes through the body and to use the body to protest is a way to do politics and strengthen the women rights movement, mostly for the right to the autonomy of the body.”

But the core of Ocupa Sampa is Movimento Passe Livre (MPL), a national movement led in São Paulo by a group of college students living in the suburbs. To them, the struggle to re-appropriate urban spaces is linked with the public transportation issue that not only affects students and workers but also the whole city. Since 2003, MPL had been organizing many activities that gathered thousands of students in the streets of São Paulo, but without much visibility in this gigantic city.

In October 2011, young activists received a call through Facebook and Twitter for a global mobilization against the economic, political and social situation, in particular in Spain. They convened and camped at Vale do Anhangabaú, using social networks to mobilize hundreds of people. The use of digital and virtual devices contributed to boosting and decentering the political debate, broadening the possibilities of collective action, incorporating new individuals and questioning the vertical structure of political parties.

Amongst the claims made by Ocupa Sampa the struggle for the transformation of democratic institutions links it to the European and American demonstrations: in Spain, 15M called for real democracy; in the United States, it was the end of corruption. In São Paulo, the discussion centered on the importance of direct, participative and true democracy, enabling citizens to have a voice to decide about the questions that affect them in their daily lives. A young person from the Communication Commission pointed out:

We wanted to unlink the quickest way possible from these international things, we were not a franchise. This, here, is not Spain, much less New York, this is Brazil. (Indignant 9)

Ocupa Sampa participants reported social inequality, homophobia, police brutality (especially towards Blacks and poor youth), violence against women, real estate speculation and the lack of houses for the poor. They positioned themselves against corruption and the penal system that criminalizes social movements and criticized family removals for the World Cup constructions. Already, they questioned public expenses intended for the sports mega-events and the social impacts at the stadiums construction areas, such as removing low-income population without the means to have a decent housing. Politicians were scathingly criticized for using power to their own benefit. In the same way as in Spain, the collectives criticized the growing distance between politicians and population claims, under the slogan: “they do not represent us”

During the occupation, activists debated at the campsite, but also made intense use of social networks: mainly Facebook in which the collective had its own profile, but Twitter was also an essential tool to communicate information that had to be spread quickly. The campsite was an informational area on which discussions about political action on a global and local levels developed simultaneously, transforming the traditional roles of leadership. One of the outstanding issues of the movement was the emphasis on direct action: the movement valued the empowerment of individuals and of civil society in the political process. The use of digital media by these collectives had several advantages: it did not require great economic resources, it stimulated particiption as well as the search for collaborative solutions to specific problems. The creation of collaborative platforms for various queries, online petitions, the profusion of blogs and profiles on social networks are examples of new communication tools introduced by technology, leading to changes in political participation.

The occupation of Vale do Anhangabaú was very striking for the activists we interviewed, especially because of the daily coexistence with homeless people, street children, local drug dealers and crack addicts. This scenario meant that many conflicts unrelated to the camp arose and had to be administered by the activists. The encampment thus became an experience of sociability animated by all its participants. In dialogue with the first occupants of Vale do Anhangabaú, the activists incorporated them to the movement as they integrated their demands in the Ocupa Sampa agenda. During those weeks Vale do Anahangabaú changed. Besides hundreds of tents, activists hung banners, posters, debated, welcomed homeless people and street children, received food and equipment donations, built an organic mini garden on the street island, worked with the garbage, separated and recycled it. They organized themselves in working commissions, initially creating the Communication Commission, responsible for spreading the movement through online social networks and for articulating Ocupa Sampa with the global network movement. They also formed the Infrastructure Commission; the Cultural Activities and Workshops Commission; the Feeding Commission, the Organizing of Activities Agenda Commission; the Security Commission (protecting the occupation from neo-Nazi attacks); the Welcome Commission (in charge of presenting the movement to curious people and beginners) and the Direct Action Commission (which organized external actions).

If the activists occupied and faced the city, the emergence of Ocupa Sampa did not happen without the strong articulation of digital culture. To Castells (2013), social practices and network politics are increasingly combining themselves and manifesting in urban space, generating what the author calls autonomous spaces, fluxes spaces. To Castells digital culture enables the development of companionship and to Hardt and Negri, the communication fluxes favor the development of cooperative means of life, based on the development of dynamics centered on what they call the “common”, from which the various aspects of social life can be produced as a community to be shared communally.

Equipped with power generators, computers, 3G internet, cameras, microphones and megaphones the activists promoted in the occupied public space countless educational and festive events, open assemblies, art workshops and open lectures, most of them exhibited online and live. To Jesús Martín-Barbero (2004), the key is in the social uses of communication technologies. According to Castells (2013), the activists reposition and amplify the online communities’ characteristics that built the internet culture: the value of free and horizontal communication and “the autonomous formation of networks as an organization tool, collective action and meaning” (2003:32). They intensively used Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and the movement’s blog. There is a consensus between the interviewees on the fact that Facebook was fundamental to supply the occupation with all its needs; both the movement’s autonomy and its permanence on the square owe much to the solidarity network built through the publication of necessity lists on Facebook. Water, gas, food, 3G modems, ink, blankets and electric wires: in a space where money did not circulate, all requests through social networks were promptly attended. The online conferences with other occupation movements in Brazil and in the world, the live transmission of assemblies and public lectures produced “interactive convening mechanisms” (Moraes, 2007). Experiencing it for the first time, one of the interviewees commented on the importance of this experience:

Within a month of occupation we made our first video conference below Cha Viaduct, with 3G internet, and projected it so that everybody could see. It was beautiful! We contacted Tokyo, Taiwan and Madrid, all in English. The conference that impressed me the most was Taiwan, the guys are rough! […] The conference days were very emotional. You can observe a movement, the same as yours, from the other side of the world, through the internet. The days of the conferences were very emotional, the strength of the movement was amazing, everybody was there for the same cause; it means a lot of energy.” (Indignant 1)

The Use of Digital Media in Contemporary Political Action


The incorporation of digital media in contemporary political practices transforms the arena of debate in magnifying the number of participants, first and foremost because of the easiness with which the information moves and acts on public opinion and also because of the possibility to pressure public managers. Nonetheless the network organization stimulates the movement of ideas between different political actors, enabling the development of creative actions, something necessary to political resistance as affirmed by Hardt and Negri (2005).

A network which focuses on the capacity to inform and summon enables the decentering of politics and, as a consequence, produces an impact and resizes the traditional political structures. In this sense, the possibility of widening the discussion represents one of the most significant aspects of politics in a network. As an example, Benkler (2006) highlights the importance of social practices that use digital tools to establish conversation, collaboration and sharing in the network, opening new ways of social production.

Despite the fact that activists recognize the importance of social media in the occupation process, there are also very contradictory impressions about the importance of online social networks. An acting participant in the occupation asserted: “I spent my entire trajectory in the Ocupa totally alienated from the internet movements” (Indignant 5). Most of the interviewees recognize the importance of Facebook and Twitter to the movementbut they also point out their limits and recognize the conflict derived from there. One of the problems faced by Ocupa Sampa was the organization of the Communication Commission that, in the view of many interviewees, concentrated power: they had the biggest tent, it was very closed and involved few participants. Progressively, the enchantment and potency of social networks started to generate some conflicts, the most important was about the existence of passwords to the Youtube channel, the blog and the Facebook pages. There was therefore a tension and concrete difficulty to imprint a horizontal political practice, without hierarchy.

If in the beginning and during the occupation the use of digital tools excited the campers, little by little they became conscious of their limits. An active member of the Communication Commission mentioned his discomfort concerning the use of internet during the occupation. He already thought that the digital exclusion was (and still is) huge in Brazil and that the bet on online communication prevented the occupation from taking the whole city, from going beyond Vale do Anhangabaú to the suburbs, outside the protesters and sympathizers’ social circles:

We were very concerned with the internet publications, and we ended up losing political strength, because we focused too much on our social circles, on our equals in some way. This finally plastered us, because we did not get to the right people. There was no effort for a group of people to leave and go talk in the suburbs, even though what we talked about were problems that really afflicted much more those who lived in Paraisópolis than those who lived in Higienópolis.

As Martín-Barbero already stressed, we have been witnessing through these movements a re-territorialization process, a new appreciation of meetings in the urban space: “in large cities the use of electronic networks constructed groups, virtual at birth, just territorializándose, from connecting to the meeting, and the meeting for action” (Martín-Barbero, 2003: 379). However, this re-territorialization happens over a new basis, since it is about the collective construction and experimentation of a “new public space, network space, sited between the urban and digital spaces, it is a space of autonomous communications” (Castells 2013:16). Because of this, the perception of conflicts and powers in Ocupa Sampa related to the communication process of the movement. This new hybrid public space was being built through the encampment with the use of the networks.

The use of web activism in Ocupa Sampa reaffirms the intimate relation between online and offline life, between “real” and “virtual”. Online practices indeed accentuate offline practices, and there is no contradiction there. The importance of the digital technology appropriation aiming at contemporary political practices is mainly in their articulation with face meetings and the appropriation of urban spaces. There is a strong relation between the use of digital tools of communication and territorial local actions, between city and cyber city, between local and global in favor of young empowering and creation. In a connected and global society, web activism allows groups and social movements to cluster individuals with different goals and claims, to extrapolate digital social networks and to go to the streets. There are two moments, one is offline and the other is online. The online moment, where Ocupa Sampa began, articulated individuals and publicized the movement, the offline moment consists in occupation of streets and squares, face meetings, exchange, and collective advances. These are the moments when the movement reaches its goal.

From Occupy Sampa (2011) to the June Days (2013)


In June 2013, Movimento Passe Livre, an active participant in the two-month occupation of Ocupa Sampa, organized demonstrations that started the so-called June Journeys, a movement initiated in São Paulo against the rising price of public transport. Ocupa Sampa can thus be considered as a kind of laboratory of new social and political practices, since the intense use of digital media allowed the widening of participation and the inclusion of new subjects in the political debate.

At the center of the debate, the precarious conditions of life in São Paulo city articulated the claims of many collectives in the city: urban mobility is one of the main problems. Our data has shown that the demonstrations occurring in June 2013 were a result of a mobilization process developed during the previous years. In this sense, the “June Journeys” (Jornadas de Junio) of 2013 proved the intimate relation between online and offline life. Besides, we now know that the use of blogs and other social networks by activists are tools, rather than an end in itself, and that online practices accentuate offline practices. We also verified that there is a strong relation between the use of digital tools of communication and local actions, between city and cybercity, between local and global in favor of an empowerment of political subjects that are transforming social practices. Therefore, we consider Ocupa Sampa as one of the first laboratories of these new political practices.

There are possible explanations for this phase of intense social movements, which should be considered as a transition from traditional practices to new political practices. This new activism arises from a combination of several things: the practices of political actors in traditional organizations, networks with decentralized and collective practices, and groups that still have a hierarchy in dynamic discussion and deliberação.

Source: booksandideas.net

Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council



For too long, the views of youth have been absent from the federal policymaking process. Young Americans are constitutionally barred from being elected federal officials, and there is not a single American under the age of 24 on a Presidential Advisory Committee. We believe that this does two things. First, it produces inefficient and ineffective policy outcomes that could easily be remedied. Second, it dissuades young Americans from being civically engaged. Only 29% of young people believe they have a say in what the government does. That is a massive problem. Right now, we need young Americans to embrace their role in ensuring that the challenges of today do not become the challenges of tomorrow. That will not happen if the federal government does not give young Americans a seat at the table in the federal policymaking process.

Young Americans Have Great Ideas



The Millennial Generation has proven that the ideas of young people can change the world. In 2004, four college students launched a website that now has more users than the population of the 2nd largest nation in the world. Two years ago, a high school student designed a method to detect breast cancer with 99% accuracy. The federal government has underutilized this creative potential of young Americans. That needs to change. Our federal government needs a new source of common-sense, innovative ideas, and a Presidential Youth Council can be that source.

Source: facebook
Resources / Knowledge Database
Online Courses 2017
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The Art of Storytelling
Pixar
available on KhanAcademy
Powerful Tools for Teaching and Learning: Digital Storytelling
University of Houston System,
available on Coursera
Digital Storytelling:
Filmmaking for the Web

University of Birmingham
available on FutureLearn
Digital Marketing:
Challenges and Insights

University of Southampton,
available on FutureLearn
Fundamentals of Digital Image
and Video Processing

Northwestern University
available on Coursera
Innovating in a Digital World
Institut Mines-Télécom,
available on Coursera
Marketing in a Digital World
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
available on Coursera
Ethical Social Media
The University of Sydney
available on Coursera
Digital Marketing Channels: Planning
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
available on Coursera
Digital Marketing Channels:
The Landscape

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
available on Coursera
Public Relations Campaigns
National University of Singapore,
available on Coursera
Making Sense of the News:
News Literacy Lessons
for Digital Citizens

The University of Hong Kong,
The State University of New York
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About
This transregional informative-educative portal is dedicated to youth policy, with particular emphasis on digital media literacy and activism. The Portal comprises of the online training course based on the agenda and experiences gained from the Training course held in Belgrade in October 2016, articles themed around digital media and youth activism and e-resources that are useful for finding information on the topic and staying up-to-date with the latest trends.

The portal has been created as part of the Digital Youthquake project. The project is implemented in partnership of the following organisations: CDER, lead partner (Serbia), Youth in Free Initiative (Albania), Youth Volunteers (Bosnia and Herzegovina), MTÜ Noortevahetuse Arengu Ühing EstYES (Estonia), Social Innovation Centre (Latvia), Centre For European Progression (Belgium) Center for Intercultural Dialogue (Macedonia), Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro (Montenegro), Youth Work Europe (United Kingdom) and Timok Youth Center (Serbia).



Training Course in Belgrade

About the Training Course

The “Digital Youthquake” training course was aimed at creative communication skills, collaboration and innovative thinking. The aim was accomplished by providing digital literacy and transversal skills (technical, practical and analytical) for 29 youth workers from 10 partner NGOs. Trainees improved their digital literacy and became skilled in using tools such as Canva, Facebook, Blog, Newsletter, Trello, Slack, Google tools; learnt graphic design, storytelling and tools for creating surveys, cloud collaboration, agile project management; enhanced skills for teaching the youth on digital literacy and activism.

One of the most valuable overall impressions was meeting young people and establishing collaboration with foreign youth workers.

Partner youth NGOs have improved their human resources and ICT capacities; reach high proficiency in digital media practice. They have set up new digital media and online tools or improve existing ones and established new partnerships.

Outcomes

The TC contained several main parts:

1. Digital Media Literacy

The introductory part of the training course covered the topics dedicated to exploring levels of digital media literacy in Europe.

2. The Power of Storytelling and Graphics

Participants learnt top elements of storytelling; how to design a great story that will reach out to their audience in a way they will remember and be able to retell it. This part of the training also covered designing effective social media posts and blog graphics based on foundational graphic design principles.

3. Youth Activism Through Digital Media

Technology and the use of digital media has changed the way youth participate in activism. During the course participants have learnt and explored the ways digital media influences youth activism and vice versa.

4. Developing joint projects online

By using Trello and Google tools the participants developed 3 projects in accordance with E+ guidelines. They were split in 3 teams: 1 participant from each NGO. This set grounds for practical learning how to use Trello and Google tools for collaboration. Training course trainers supervised the workflow.

5. Fusion of effective online tools

Participants learnt how to get the most of the online tools by using them creatively and in connection with one another.

6. Team building, cultural and relaxation activities

7. Strengthening cooperation among partners

Training course was held using different methods of non-formal learning which simulate real life cases and stimulate creativity and interaction.

TC Working methods

The TC was implemented by different working methods and techniques of non-formal learning – hands-on workshops, discussions, practical work (social media power-ups, making a blog), watching digital media content, case studies and movie projections, group work in mixed teams, online learning, presentations, energizers… These activities focused mainly on acquisition and enhancement of skills and knowledge and methods were aimed at igniting imagination, creativity and innovative thinking but in relation to solving real life problems.

Host: Centar za drustveno ekomomski razvoj, CDER (eng. Center for Social and Economic Development)
Location: Belgrade (Serbia)
Duration: 8th-16th Octobes, 2016