Occupy Wall Street’s success was certainly due in part to great video activism. This was similarly the case in the Wisconsin uprising the spring before, not to mention throughout the Egyptian revolution, contemporary labor organizing, and activism across the board.
In this vein, the SuperVoters.org team brought together an esteemed panel to discuss ‘How to Create & Share Videos of Great Activism (hopefully without getting pepper-sprayed)’ during the Organizing NY conference this past weekend.
I moderated a diversified group of experts including social media mavens Rebecca Eisenberg of Upworthy.com and Winnie Wong of Seismologik Media and Occupy Sandy, as well as occupy media makers Messiah Rhodes of Rhodes Pictures and Brad Gans of SuperVoters.org.
The session began with a discussion of how Upworthy -- one of the fastest-growing media sites in history -- does what they do.
Rebecca went through the attributes they look for in a hyper-shareable story, emphasizing how mobile-focused Upworthy is amidst the rapidly increasing rush of video consumption occurring on mobile phones.
From there, Messiah discussed filming in person at direct actions, and how he found out the hard way how careful you have to be after having his sound recorder and camera broken in varying instances.
A primary lesson he learned was that you had to have a rapid response mentality, striving to get the news out from actions as soon as possible. Messiah has tuned his editing skills to work as fast as possible, and tries to build collaborative relationships with other editors to finalize videos even faster.
Running with the notion of collaborative editing, our part 2 video from the panel begins by citing the efforts to organize occupy media makers on this front.
Specifically, Atiq Zabinski has been taking great pains to revitalize the Occupy Media working group, building off the OccupyTheComms.cc platform that Vlad Teichberg of Global Revolution Media has been helping develop for these purposes.
This section also included a spirited discussion of how videos that have gotten lost in the depths of YouTube can find new life when the right person or media outlet finds them, as well as the manner by which varying video content is distributed through social media platforms at large.
Towards these ends, Winnie emphasized the importance of fostering a ‘network of openness’ and ‘culture of collaboration’ amongst potential social media partners who will mutually help each other to distribute their collective content.
Part 3 opens with an analysis of Facebook’s ever-changing secret algorithm called ‘EdgeRank’, which decides what content to seed in whose feeds.
Rebecca emphasized the importance of proper headlines for enticing sharing, going so far as to say that ‘if you frame it right, you can share anything’.
The conversation then moved to new mobile technologies, where Brad gave a primer on the ‘game changing’ developments coming from apps providing a ‘democratization of the technology’ for more complex video editing techniques.
Our video and activism panel closed out with further analysis of how making sure that your media is getting out turns out to be activism in and of itself. This can be difficult, as during an action or march everything is on the line, and you usually only have one take.
In this context, Messiah also brought up that you don’t necessarily have to have fancy graphics or editing techniques. ‘All you have to do is have an issue and go up to people and ask them what they think.’ Winnie rolled with this, describing how every single survivor of SuperStorm Sandy in particular has a powerful story to tell.
All in all, whether your video includes personal stories, powerful visuals, a real time live stream, or even TV caliber content, there are a litany of innovative ways to create and share your work, and undoubtedly there are a myriad more to come.
With that, a final thank you to our phenomenal panelists for their guidance as we proceed along this rapidly developing and evolving path towards ever-increasingly influential activist video!