Monday, 28 March 2011

boiling minds by Diana Assennato

I am a Brazilian journalist and after 6 years of brain hibernation and a frustrating list of jobs I decided to get a master degree in Digital Media to find what is my real passion in life. That means I am back to the university; a place where ideas flow and creativity blossoms each day in a dangerous rhythm. I say dangerous because creativity can be a threaten when not used, and it becomes a burden when its existence is only proved by imagined and never-put-in-practice amazing projects that can change the world. But sometimes (and in my case there were very few in my life) opportunities knock on your door and shakes your world like a wake-up call. Since I heard about the project, Powerful Voices have been being my "move-your-ass" call (pardon my french) and it has already changed me in many ways.

At this point it's redundant to say I didn't know what to expect from this project. I think we all came with different ideas and not many certainties about what could happen during and after our meetings, and I think I speak for all. I got involved because the premise was very interesting, although a bit generic. Social change through social media? Well yes, but... hmmm, let's see what they are REALLY talking about. To be very honest I never really thought about the subject before, although I was always interested in the social power of change. I just kept complaining about how hard it is to get involved in social projects when you are one and alone. 

But since our first meeting I realized this is how many people of my generation feel nowadays. It's hard to put things in practice and convince other people to be part of projects when there's no monetary feed back involved. The easiest way to fight this disappointment is to get used to it and leave that frustration asleep in a dark drawer inside the conscience. But, hey! Why? Under that frustration there is a gigantic world of dangerously creative minds that are just waiting for a chance to get involved in something bigger, and Powerful Voices brought this chance to many of us.

Since the beginning of the workshops I've been involved in three of the projects and I can't really tell which one excites me the most. Specially after our third meeting, last saturday, my mind is boiling with ideas and I keep thinking that there are so many opportunities to change peoples life, even in the smallest aspects. 

Social media, for example, is a subject of interest that is growing in my life. Not only because it is constantly brought to the debate about digital media and media theory during my classes, but also because I find myself trying to understand the logic of the passion it keeps raising in all generations. It is big and will get even bigger, and I can't really imagine what it will became in the world my children will live in. I keep asking myself if it's a bad sign of the digital evolution, that will take all our spare time and make ourselves more and more alienated, or if will be a powerful tool of connection between people. How can we educate future generations to understand the power of it if we are still incapable of dealing with it in a healthy way? How can we teach time management, ethical issues and privacy notions on the internet if we still don't know what this concepts really mean this days? 

In this sense I believe Powerful Voices showed me a way. A concrete example of how we can move beyond the shallow use of social media and interact to take the most out of it. Social changes are closer than we think. And this is only the beginning.

Can't wait for the future :)

In between - from Jane

Despite being surrounded by the noise of hovering helicopters for the fourth and final workshop in Soho, everyone debated, worked, evaluated and re-developed their ideas last Saturday.  So now it is down to getting presentations together ready for the seminar.  And I'm really trespassing on this page...but wanted to keep you across progress in between other posts.  So there are a lot of great ideas, a lot of contacts being made and content being collected. Watch this blog for more updates.............

Friday, 11 March 2011

Powerful Voices, second meeting, by Ewa A Bala

So we met again, the Powerful Voices people! We all gathered to learn more about how to develop our ideas efficiently. Jane pointed us towards some issues for consideration, such as how to drive traffic to our projects? Or how to differentiate our ideas from (possibly) thousands of similar concepts which are already existing. The multitude of websites and online initiatives brings us back to the importance of clarity of our message. We really need to know what we want to convey and all that stuff needs to be considered way before we start the actual work. As Jeff Jarvis wrote in his book What Would Google Do? , if you're not sure what you're there for, nobody will know that either. Clear structure of a website/ any online project allows for better search-ability on search engine and is usually a reflection of a well-developed idea. And as Jarvis put it, if you're not on Google, you don't exist.

Owing to this project, we have been exposed to some brilliant resources on search engine optimization (SEO) and effective usage of social media tools, especially the Social by Social, which is a practical guide to using 'new technologies to deliver social impact'. I am not sure who brought this thing into my attention, but many thanks for that! 

Over the course of the session we intensively brainstormed and managed to come up with numerous ideas before the lunch and then we split into 5 groups depending on the concepts we wanted to develop further:






At the moment all groups are waiting for feedback on their short project proposals which were sent to 2 journalists in Philippines and Brazil. And then the real hard work will commence! 

Monday, 7 March 2011

The second time around, it was love at first sight! by Christina Katsantoni

Do you know? Of course you do. You know how it's like when you have a really good idea in your hands? That amazing feeling that you have found something unquestionably, beyond any doubt and second thoughts, simply... fantastic? Well, multiply this feeling with the joy you experience when the feelings are mutual. 
Because that was exactly what happened on Saturday, February the 26th in the second workshop of the Powerful Voices. It was a day full with love. Love for music, books, communities, children, arts, business, charity, politics, culture and youth. And most of all, love for creativity. An unstoppable flow of creativity that was expressed through collaboration, no competition. Through experimenting, no holding back. 
Ten young people combined their experiences, knowledge, backgrounds and favorite things in order to approach and benefit communities both locally and globally. Their aim? To pop-out reading everywhere, to shake the hands of at least six worthy people, to pick gigs they like, to increase giving and volunteering and to fill in the gaps. By using the current social media and networks' power, five powerful ideas will soon be alive and kicking. Some of them may become the talk of the "online" town in the near future. And some of them may become the inspiration for something else. Something bigger than us. 
But for now we have to wait for our love to grow. And this is the best part of the process.

Friday, 25 February 2011

SOCIAL MEDIA to make a positive SOCIAL IMPACT!

by Ada Nworgu
After attending the first ‘Powerful Voices’ workshop I am very enthusiastic about the project, already bursting with ideas and keen to get started with the implementation. One question myself and the rest of the group are pondering on this week is- How to use social media to make our ideas come to life? The project is all about using social media to make a positive social impact, on a local or global level.  We have recently seen the influence of social media with the revolution in Egypt! Described by some as a ‘youth led social media revolution’- some articles I have come across report on the revolution like it was a 007 operation organised by the Egyptian youth via social networking sites; whilst others state that social media was a sideline tool, that may have heightened the impact of the protests but was definitely not at the centre of the revolution and others totally dismiss the involvement  of social media -hmmm ‘denial is not just a river in Egypt’ (sorry couldn’t resist) .  If you are interested and I do hope you are, here are a few links about the revolution, from different viewpoints:
What are your conclusions? Did the ‘power’ of social media cause Mubarak to step down??
Whichever viewpoint you support, it cannot be denied that social media does make an impact whether minute or major. Even if somebody somewhere was to discover cold hard facts that proved social media had no impact on the Egyptian cannot be denied that as a result of the revolution the interest in social media has rocketed.  It is almost like the Egyptian Revolution rebranded social media!? The irony! -  Social media almost became an academic study; it has come under some deep analysis since the revolution. There was what seems like an excitable frenzy in the blogosphere as many were eager to communicate their opinions. – I’m not here to jump on that bandwagon, this blog is in support of the Powerful Voices’ project, I just wanted to offer a little food for thought. In fact, let’s go back to basics- social media is a free form of mass communication at the finger tips of any human being who has access to the internet and with the increase in ownership of smart phones, social media is even more accessible. It allows an individual the power and the freedom to share whatever information they choose with others. It is also platform for interaction so it creates an avenue for people to be influenced, as by nature human beings are usually in some way affected by what they take in. This is the reason to why marketers moved towards social media, like it was the new craze in the world of marketing and advertising. In fact, do you remember the Cadbury’s ‘Gorilla’ advert? A little recap perhaps, why not!:                      Cadbury's 'Gorilla' advert 
So not too long after it was regularly viewed by millions on TV, Cadbury’s  put the advert on You Tube..why? ..No, they weren’t feeding their egos..they wanted to benefit from the real time interaction of social media and use it as a tool to measure the effectiveness of their campaign. It has been reported that the advert received 500,000 page views in the first week  and there was even Facebook pages set up in honour of the advert (some people do take it a bit too far!). As a result of this campaign Cadburys reported a rise in sales so anyway enough about chocolate, my food for thought is: what this ‘Powerful Voices’ project is essentially about. We are going to build on this re-branding of social media so to speak, putting aside social media as a commercialist tool, as a procrastination device and a way to generate gossip and spread idle rumours etc etc. and instead, using this pretty effective tool to make a positive social impact. Now if you’re thinking, - hmmm I like the sound of that, then don’t hesitate to follow ‘Powerful Voices’ on our journey. Look out for us on every social media site known to man and check out our blogs and see what we come up with! After all what we do may be able to help you!
Thanks for reading J  

First Round.

On a very expected 19th of February, a group of highly enthusiastic youngsters came together defying the rain on a Saturday at 9am. We were welcomed by the creator of such a grandiose idea, the mother of this project Jane Quinn.

Very little we knew about anyone else,  only that we were aged between 18-30, all acquainted with the benefits of social media and eager to make contributions about changing our own environment. Yet, what followed up after brief greetings, was a much more exiting exercise to found out as much as we could about each others, in accordance to our own speed dating skills. 

Gathering by the first round, we could grasp is going to be a DIY process, in which we are all prompting to share our part.