Spreading Your Story

How do you develop strategies to circulate your story to the desired audience?

About The Speaker(s)

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MODERATOR - Derek Williams is a 21-year-old Project Associate at the Peabody Award-winning production company, Youth Radio, in Oakland California. At Youth Radio, he co-launched a national Youth Advisory Board focused on innovations to address the country’s youth unemployment crisis. Derek has taught journalism at Youth Radio and produced stories for NPR, KQED, and The Huffington Post.
FACILITATOR - Henry Jenkins is the Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts, and Education at the University of Southern California and the Principal Investigator for the Media Activism and Participatory Politics Project.
Thea Aldrich is the community manager for Random Hacks of Kindness, a 7,000+ member community dedicated to making the world a better place through the development and implementation of open source applications in the fields of disaster response, transparency, civil society organizations and government.
Nirvan Mullick is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker who directed the Caine's Arcade short film and founded the Imagination Foundation.
Rubi Fregoso is the Director of Education for KCET Departures's "Youth Voices". She has worked with KCETLink Public Media since 2007 in a number of capacities including, education, community outreach, and production.
Kat Primeau is a Los Angeles-based actor and improviser. She performs with her musical improv troupe Robot Teammate and The Accidental Party and is a core member of improv outreach non-profit Laughter For a Change.
Joshua Merchant is a writer, activist and native of East Oakland. Combining a masterful eye for detail, Joshua is currently preparing his debut book to be published by Youth Speaks’ First Word Press in early 2014 and is the inaugural fellow of the Off/Page Project.

Resources

Download a PDF of this session's Livestream Chat archive

Access the collaborative document of key points, insights, questions and resources from this session (open to public comments)

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Articles, Websites, Videos Mentioned

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Key Questions and Comments

  • (05:16) Can you describe a successful example where your group helped to generate a story that sparked larger conversations around your cause? What factors contributed to that success?
  • (10:07) It was a safe space to explore the stories...that are specific to these kids in this anxious time in their lives. I think what led to that is that we had created a space of trust...that really led to some poignant storytelling.
  • (14:52) [Caine's Arcade] began with...an effort to support Caine's creativity...It was really a process of storytelling--inviting people, early on, to be part of the story using Reddit, Facebook and different social media platforms to create a flash mob of customers.
  • (20:15) I think [Random Hacks of Kindness] has been successful because there's a very clear and compelling narrative that a lot of people can relate to: this idea of unlikely partners working together. There's also a really clear call to action and a variety of ways people can get involved.
  • (24:04) With improv as well as...other artistic outreach programs, it's really a philosophy that you're sharing. For improv, it's "Yes, and..."; it's not competition, it's...allowing people to take risks and supporting them when they do.
  • (25:57) As communities self-organize, they're getting behind ideas that they relate to. People are already engaged in a conversation when they find you.
  • (28:31) What are your thoughts on whether calling something "viral" really gets at the dynamics you're observing in your work?
  • (31:46) I've discovered that being personal and vulnerable with your own experiences in an art form such as poetry creates a ripple effect. If your poem is very general, then it's easy to ignore or dismiss it.
  • (33:28) Something that started off as just me needing to express myself because "I didn't think anyone would listen to me," becomes "Other people need to hear this because I know there's someone else in a similar place--this can change something for them."
  • (36:41) The irony is: the more personal your story is, the more universal it is. The more you keep that nuance that makes your story personal, the more it will spread--that's what people relate to emotionally.
  • (39:50) How do you define "success" for your campaign? How do you know that your campaign is working toward the effect that you set out to make?
  • (41:22) For me, for success to happen, is to get the engagement of the students in the community. Most of the time, students just walk around the neighborhoods and say, "Someone should do something about it." But for us, for KCET Youth Voices, we are the kids that are doing something about it...We're making these young students leaders of their own community.
  • (44:23) I've always felt that, while the story of how I met Caine was unique, Caine himself--in terms of being a creative kid who could use some support from his community--was not unique in that there were kids like Caine...around the world.
  • (47:17) Do you need to be a storyteller or someone who organizes to achieve change?
  • (49:28) Spoken word poem by Josh Merchant: "On Passing My Past Self In The Street"
  • (53:01) Spoken word and improv are both things...that depend on being physically present with each other. What changes when we transmit those things to other publics online?
  • (55:40) How do we measure success? Funders have a certain set of expectations of what constitutes success, maybe the grassroots community has another. What counts as "success" in your world?

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