The goal of MEGAPHONE is to connect and strengthen activists, action groups, and NGOs working on human rights, environmental issues, equality in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus. Below you’ll find materials from MEGAPHONE 2020 related to using social media for effective communication, mobilizing and building audiences and digital wellbeing.
During MEGAPHONE we share knowledge, skills and best practices on topics related to using social media for effective communication, mobilizing and building audiences and digital wellbeing.
This year our main focus was to better understand what we’ve been through as activists and as people but also how can we re-start, move forward in this new reality we’re all facing.
Below you’ll find materials that might help with that – talks from our amazing speakers, presentations from workshops and other valuable resources.
Day 1 VIDEOs & slides
Become Your Personal Ninja | Marta Niedźwiecka
In the time of constant change and uncertainty, we would love to find solid ground and a clear direction. Activists are struggling more than ever. They carry a burden not only for themselves but, above all, for the world, which they’re ceaselessly trying to change.
Check out Marta’s website (for now only with parts in English).
Lightning Talk: Climate Crisis – what was happening while we weren’t looking | Sofija Getova
Climate Crisis is with us, even if the publics’ attention has been mostly occupied with the coronavirus pandemic these past months.
It’s an environmental issue but it’s solution will require a widespread, intersectional response, as Sofija Getova, a social justice activist, pointed out during her talk. Listen to find out more about her work on building a collective response to the environmental, economic, structural, and political struggles we face today. Additionally, despite focusing on the importance of societal, systemic-level changes, she shares best practices on mindfulness and resilience on an individual level as well.
Follow Friends of the Earth Europe.
Lightning Talk: Infodemic | Andy Carvin
You might think that we were going through just one pandemic this year and that was already more than we can take but it’s actually been at least two. Listen to Andy Carvin from DFR Lab to learn more about how the flood of information, facts, fake news, disinformation we’ve been bombarded with since March can actually be classified as another type of virus – an information one. So while we were focusing on taking care of our health and checking if our sense of smell is still there we could have had our ability to process information damaged in the meantime. Learn more about how that infodemic has contributed to further erosion of trust amongst our communities and how we as activists can serve as little antibodies in the fights against it.
Follow: DFR Lab.
Lightning Talk: 5 things you need to know about the protest in Belarus | Yana Goncharova
In 2020 the whole world learned about Belarus. The elections and the brutal beatings of peaceful demonstrators that followed took the world by storm. The weekly protests have continued for three months now and have inspired thousands of democracy activists. Listen to an inspiring talk from local activists Yana Goncharova from Human Constanta and find out more about how Belarusians are using technology to resists a dictatorship, how the ‘no leader’ format of the protests has proven to be a success, what role does women’s mobilization play in the uprising but also why are the protesters taking their shoes before standing on a public bench.
Follow Human Constanta.
Lightning Talk: Making “good trouble” | Steph Roth
Feeling run over by all that’s happening? Feeling sad that you can’t reach folks to fight for good causes because fear and insecurity for our basic safety is reigning? Steph Roth from the OPEN Network shares a highly effective medicine against fear: vitamin H.
Check out this talk if you want to hear about the power of humour and walk away with a stack of ideas for fun and creative activists actions to be done even during the pandemic.
Follow OPEN Network.
Uncertainty loves you! Strategic thinking for times of uncertainty and chaos | Bhavesh Patel
Many of the challenges we are facing these days are not problems that can be fixed. They are complex patterns that we can kind of understand and that we hope to influence. Uncertainty is not a problem that can be eliminated, it’s a friend that we need to work with. Bhavesh Patel shared the basics of the complexity methodology – ways of analyzing, adapting, and acting that takes the element of uncertainty and instead of fighting it, they allow to embrace it. Turns out most of us are complexity masters already and we didn’t even realize it!
RESOURCES FROM WORKSHOPs
How to Survive Online Meetings | Raphaelle Ayach
Have you had enough of yet another badly prepared and ineffective online meeting?
Raphaelle Ayach has given an inspiring workshop about how to adjust to our new Zoom-driven reality. Most of us have to organize online meetings, some of us also workshops with Raphealle’s list you’ll get easy-to-implement tools and tips to make sure that your meetings are both engaging and effective.
Changing Narrative Using Social Media and Digital Channels
Were you ever lost between the social media platforms? During her workshop, Val Voshchevska guided us through the best use of digital channels. She also shared best practices from her work at Amnesty International on building positive narratives to fight apathy and isolation by building a digital community from like-minded supporters and mobilizing them for our cause.
She pointed out that engagement is far more important than reach in social media and finding a pop-culture actuality can be actually useful for our causes. She also warned us not to focus on vanity stats such as outreach as it’s mostly misleading.
Follow Val’s IG
Art-ivism – the use of art in activism. Lilian Rosa believes that a single image can reveal everything and one story can touch people’s hearts and minds in a more meaningful way than companies with millions of dollars for PR. During her workshop she shared several powerful campaigns and images from activists and causes around the world that focused on transmitting their message in a different way – not through facts and data but art, so that it resonates with wider audiences on a deeper level. Check out the presentation for more inspiration.
Community building as a term has recently become a catch-all phrase. What does it really mean? Who does it apply to? To what extent it has to be organic but also moderated. Like Byrke Lou from movLab community mentioned: “Community building has by now in a lot of contexts become a kind of tool, in order to sell services or get hold of people’s data and emotional Involvement. I think we should reflect well on the type of community we build and why, so we really create communities and not dependent interconnected groups of people.” Lieke Ploeger from Disruption Network Lab talked about their experiences in building diverse communities both face to face as well as online ones in Berlin.
“Positive communication does not come naturally. But we also cannot rely on fear, we need to promise a brighter future” was the start of Krizna Gomez and Thomas Coombes workshop on hope-based communications. They talked but also showed us examples and took us through exercises behind the driving force of their approach – hope as the driver of the change we want to see in the world.
Filipa Mladenova and Ned Howey shared outcomes of the research they did on digital organising in Europe. The research found that over one-third (39% of the respondents) pointed to low-levels of education on digital organising best practices as a barrier to successful digital organising. They also found that without proof of what has worked, campaigners are left to copy and activities regardless of their likelihood to increase success.
How to stay mentally balanced while fighting trolls online?
Tomáš Kriššák shared not only his incredible personal story of becoming the target on nation-wide hate campaign but also focused on best practices when it comes to cognitive aspect of countering disinformation and hate speech. The first was – don’t fight in the online space. Help others explore and understand their subjective views, rather than confront differences. Secondly – lead by example in your community, one that others can follow, live by your principles and lead with empathy.
Good videos should tell a story and make people want to share them. But how to make good videos while being bad at it? Kassy Cho showed us that nowadays a smartphone is more than enough to shoot videos that will engage our audiences.
Among her main tips were things like: to keep videos conversational, thinking about how you would tell the story to a friend and trying to experience what is happening, instead of explaining it. We learned both about the video settings on our phones, as well as tips for shooting for different formats and to always, always subtitle our video content.
Do you know what sensors your smartphone is using constantly? And what consent you gave to Google or Facebook? In order to have more control over our digital well-being, Kamil Śliwowski recommended using a “sensors multitool” that helps us understand better what data our smartphone is collecting and using about us. He also pointed out many tricks that social media creators as well as sales platforms are using to take advantage of our weaknesses to trick us into subscribing or purchasing. A more conscious social media presence and decision making in the online space is necessary not only for our general digital safety but also our mental well-being while online.
Follow (in Polish only): https://otwartezasoby.pl/
Complexity, patterns, working with constraints, adaptive action. Hearing these for the first time? Don’t worry – us too. Thanks to Chris’ Corrigans intro to the complexity framework we know for example that each situation we’re struggling with (e.g. people now showing up to online workshops) can be analyzed using 5 categories: generalizations, exceptions, contradictions, surprises and curiosities and these might help us look at the problem from a different perspective and get closer to solving it.