NOAS

Norwegian Asylum Seeker Quiz Show Parody

The Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) have just started a campaign to highlight the awful realities of many people who are rejected when seeking asylum.

A fictitious talent show, So You Think you Can Stay,tells the stories of the ‘contestants’ who are all based on real asylum cases that NOAD has engaged with through their legal aid service.

Mari Seilskjær, advisor at NOAS said “We want to show the stories of some of those who fled to Norway in our talent show. We will present people like Amir, who based on our experience, should be granted residence permit in Norway, but nevertheless has had his asylum application refused. Rejected asylum seekers represent a demographic that often gets negative attention by the media. We want to convey the stories of some of these people and show that many of these people have good reason to fear persecution in their homeland.”

The video reminds me of another very successful campaign in Norway produced by SAIH, Who Wants to Be a Volunteer. The film was produced pro bono by Fantefilm and took a total of three months to complete including planning, filming and editing. It is good to see development organisations experimenting with creative storytelling techniques to educate people about issues that are sometimes misrepresented by the national media.

Visit the campaign website for more information: SoYouThinkYouCanStay.com

 

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Oxfam explain growing inequality in a social media mash-up

Oxfam have recently released a video highlighting the ever growing inequality in the world. The video tells the story of inequality through an online conversation between two friends using Facebook Messenger, status updates and and Skype video chat. The conversation starts off talking about one of their Dad’s being like a grumpy cat, and then there is a news announcement that according to Oxfam “the combined wealth of the world’s 85 richest people is equal to the 3.5 billion poorest.” One of the friends jokes about the Dad being one of the 85 richest. It then turns quite upbeat with one of the friends receiving a scholarship to attend a top school. The music turns sad and one of the girls explains that their father is having to move his factory abroad due to tax reasons. Things go from worse to worse and the father is killed in a mining accident.

The video then jumps to a quick succession of authentic news items from Al Jazeera, France 24, PTV Philippines etc announcing that inequality has reached an all time high and the richest 1% in the world will own more than the rest of 99% of the population by 2016.

To date the video has been watched by just over 6,000 people and has 31 likes. It’s different from most of the other charity videos I’ve watched in recent years, but I’m not sure how effective it is. A ‘like’ for every 200 views is fairly impressive, but obviously people aren’t sharing it that much in their networks or it would have had more views. I wonder why they chose to use this social media / news reporting mash-up style. Maybe they are educating a future group of latent activists? Or perhaps they just want more teenagers to sign their petition to take action against inequality?

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Can a hashtag change social policy – #EvilNanny

Many of you will have already seen the horrific video which was circulating on social media last week about a nanny abusing an 18 month old baby.

The father, Eric Kamanzi, had suspected that the nanny was abusing his daughter so set up a hidden camera in his living room. The video is truly shocking and shows the nanny, 22 year old, Jolly Tumuhirwe, throwing the girl to the floor after she is sick and then beating her with a torch, kicking and standing on her. The video was originally posted on Facebook and shared with friends, but then went viral and has been viewed with horror all over the world. She has been arrested and charged with attempted murder.

In Uganda the video was shared using the hashtag #EvilNanny and #NannyfromHell and was covered all over the media. The hashtag was trending in Uganda and was a catalyst for debate in civil society about child raising in modern Uganda.

At the time of writing a YouTube clip of the NBS report in Uganda has had well over 400 comments. Many other media channels have posted the footage, all of which have attracted similar discourse. The video has created uproar on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook across the globe and has resulted in the Ugandan government reviewing legislation as a matter of urgency. Is this an example of how social media is helping to change the world for the better? It’s a shame that we need to rely on these relatively new platforms to make people aware of such atrocities.

http://youtu.be/oaACywtSrCI

Ms Tumuhirwe is due in court on 8th December 2014.

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Charity videos: how to measure ROI

How do you measure the success of your YouTube channel? Should you set objectives for every video you make? The simple answer to the second question is yes. The answer to the first is a bit more complex.

I’ve had a lot of discussion with people working in NGOs, large and small, about how to measure the success or return on investment of their video production. I’m still amazed that people ask me this question without first understanding their own objectives for the video. I often get asked “What makes a successful video?”. This is impossible to answer without knowing what you are seeking to achieve and who the main audiences are?

Firstly, you need to establish the overall objectives for each video and how they sit with the organisations brand values. Whether we like it or not, there is often an internal conflict between departments within NGOs and therefore very different objectives at play. Here are a few generic objectives to consider before making them SMART (specific / measurable / achievable / realistic / timetabled).

– Increase brand awareness
– Promote awareness or educate on a specific issue
– Celebrate success
– Increase traffic to your website
– Increase social media followers
– Engage with stakeholders
– Attract donations
– Attract new volunteers
– Encourage signing a petition
– Promote an event

Depending on your objective(s) you might implement a number of the metrics below

– Number of views
– Number of likes / dislikes
– Comments – positive / negative
– Number of shares compared to views
– Estimated minutes watched
– Average view duration
– Subscribers gained / lost
– Annotation click through rate
– Click throughs on calls to action in the description
– Media coverage

It’s easier said than done, as staff are often working to tight deadlines on tight budgets. But without analysing the success of videos, organisations are potentially frittering away valuable funds which could be better utilised elsewhere. All of the above metrics should be compared against the cost of producing the video and benchmarked against previous videos as well as the videos of similar sized organisations in the same field. One metric I like to use is the cost per view compared to the average cost of a Google pay-per-click campaign. You also need to create shortened URLs to promote your video consistently through your other social media channels and measure these via a product such as Hootesuite.

Once you have this analysis you can also start to classify which category of storytelling works best for your organisation: informational, humorous, promotional, celebrity content, advocacy, arty, infographic etc. The method of storytelling will obviously depend on the content of the video. Although this process is relatively simple to implement, it is also incredibly time consuming. Other media such as direct response TV advertising (DRTV) and press releases are much easier to measure. Without evidence that your video and other social media channels are making a positive impact, these functions will always play second fiddle to fundraising and PR. This is disappointing as YouTube channels if managed strategically can be a powerful antidote to the often negative images portrayed by many DRTV campaigns.

Charity:Water have repeatedly been applauded for their video campaigns. Their content strategy is to inspire and present images of hope and positivity over sadness and guilt. Their strategy works! Read more about their metrics for success on YouTube’s official blog.

 

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DFID and Social Media

Last week I was fortunate to visit the Department for International Development (DFID) to meet with Marisol Grandon, their Head of Digital to talk about how they use social media in their communications.

I asked Marisol a probing question: if she had to close down DFID’s social networks and was able to keep just one, which one would she keep. She was tied between Twitter and Facebook as they are the main channels for engagement. She also stressed the importance of Flickr. I confess that I had only looked briefly at their Flickr site, and once I looked again I could see why. The old adage says that a picture is worth a thousand words, and DFID’s Flickr site has over 2,000 photos. That’s a lot of words! I spent nearly 2 hours looking at the images and reading the captions. I could easily have spent a lot longer – time permitting. There is a mixture of imagery – stunning portraiture, documentary, reportage and landscape photography. They portray vividly the emotions of joy, hope, sadness; scenes of devastation and scenes of jubilation. Below are just a handful.

rainmaker

Photo credit: Department For International Development / International Development Research Centre /Thomas Omondi

port-au-prince

Image: Department for International Development / Russell Watkins

rwanada-15-years-on

Image: Department for International Development

Marisol and I talked a lot about photography. DFID employ six staff in their digital team, several with a degree or an interest in professional photography. I’m not sure if this is strategic or accidental, but their curation of powerful imagery from around the world has clearly benefited all of their social media channels. The strategy is working.

The Twitter channel has 116,000 followers and is growing rapidly. They often tweet up to to 10 times a day, sometimes more. Lovejoy and Saxton (2011) carried out a study on 100 non-profit organisation Twitter accounts in the US. Their paper Information, Community and Action: How Non-Profit Organizations Use Social Media categorized tweets into 3 main groupings in the belief that most tweets were to spread information, foster dialogue and build community, or mobilize supporters. The study concluded that nonprofit organizations have become more interactive in their use of Twitter, but the output is often information heavy. They suggested that organisations should be using Twitter to its full potential to build communities, mobilise action and engage with stakeholders.

I follow DFID on Twitter and generally feel very engaged. A variety of tweets are used: educational, informational, signposting, promotional and mobilising. They regularly retweet and promote content from other organisations, for example Plan UK’s powerful new video and an infographic from Concern Worldwide. Do I feel part of a community? Yes, I think so. I’m receiving information from DFID that I find interesting and informative and get a feel for the work being carried out in the field. I’ve only quickly “analysed” a few weeks tweets, but reading them I do feel engaged. I suppose my only observation is that I, as a stakeholder, could have been asked to contribute more. Not constantly surveyed, but asked my opinion through quick and easy methods such as a poll. As I say, my analysis was not in-depth, so it’s not a detailed critique.

DFID’s Facebook page has 42,000 likes, about a third of the number of Twitter followers, which is not surprising considering that the demographic of Facebook regular users is generally younger than on Twitter. The Facebook page is updated far less regularly than Twitter, which is normal. It is bright and colourful and once again utilises strong imagery and use of infographics. When I have previously managed Facebok sites with large followings it has always been images that connect with the user that have received the most likes. I’m slightly surprised that some of the images haven’t received more likes.

DFID’s Google+ page is rapidly gaining more followers. Without an analytics function, Marisol wasn’t able to shed much light on interactions with the page, but anecdotally said that engagement seems to be more informed, educated and critical. They have also recently launched an Intagram site which is important for engaging with younger audiences, especially those accessing the web via mobile.

I asked Marisol how she hopes to improve the social media channels in the future. She would like to see better use of graphic design. I strongly agree with this. As I said previously, imagery and infographics are highly shareable. A graphic designer could definitely add value to their growing bank of imagery. A lot of people underestimate the value of good design. She also mentioned that mobile content and video content are high on the agenda. Again I couldn’t agree more. It is fundamental that all digital output is in a responsive design format. I think this is even more important for stakeholders accessing content in the developing world than it is for stakeholders in the UK. Mobile web should be the top of the want list.

In my opinion DFID need to work on their YouTube channel the most going forward. Content is variable and has scope for improvement. 13 of their videos have 10,000+ views. Two videos have far more views than any other. India’s Slumdog Millions has 88,787 views and Love Sex and Survival has 76,569 views. Both were published four years ago. Love Sex and Survival has only 17 ‘votes’ – 11 positive and 6 negative. The next most popular video has 22,365 views. Why have the two most popular videos got so many more views? Yes, they have been on the channel two years more than the next most popular video, however there are plenty of others videos that have been on the channel for four years or more. Perhaps they were promoted with advertising? Both videos are well produced and tell compelling stories, but again, so do many of the other videos. Was the ‘India’s Slumdog Millions’ video timely, being released not long after the box office hit Slumdog Millionaire? The other video has ‘sex’ in the title. Surely people aren’t that shallow? Maybe they are, we know that sex sells. I would love to have the time to analyse the channel in more detail, looking at quantitative and qualitative data.

There are some other interesting videos that deserve more views. The lecture talk Digital Divides – The Potential of the Internet for Development is of great interest to me. Maybe there is some potential for leading scholars in the UK to present online lectures on the DFID channel about a myriad of development subjects. Or am I drifting in to MOOC or TED territory?

Videos don’t have to be costly to be successful. Content is King – and Queen of course. I produced a film called What is International Development for the School of International Development at UEA for minimal cost. It has had over 5,000 views. I wonder how many views it would have had if DFID had produced it. They have such an arsenal of tools which they can use to seed a video more effectively.

Marisol agrees that more strategic production of video is necessary. It all comes down to availability of budgets I suppose. Video can be both resource and budget intensive, but targeted right can reach a lot of people. DFID, along with many other government departments, are moving towards a strategy of digital first. The digital team have recently undergone a number of audits including the digital communication capability review. Change is imminent. I sincerely hope as a result DFID decide to prioritise and appropriately fund video in the near future.

I’m hugely impressed with DFID’s social media presence and I look forward to its continued success.

 

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