March 5 2018

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a daylong workshop centered around digital storytelling hosted by The California Endowment, LaMont Digital, and Fusion Media Group. We not only discussed the fundamentals of how to become a strong digital storyteller, but also the importance of impactful stories and how to best amplify them in a world where two thirds of adults get their news from social media.

As the Communications and Development Manager for the Korean Resource Center (KRC) in Los Angeles and Orange County, I knew this training would help me expand my skillset and allow me to collaborate with other like-minded communications professionals working to advance social justice for all Californians.

Of all we learned, two lessons really stuck out. First — it’s most powerful when people tell their own stories. With all the technological advances we have today, storytelling is more accessible than ever. Folks no longer have to wait for professional journalists, authors, or directors to take interest in their stories and share them, they can take matters into their own hands with as little as a smart phone. The world is at our fingertips so why let the media create our narratives for us? Let’s take our narratives back and transform them to show how resilient and brilliant our communities are. At KRC, we have seen firsthand how powerful this is when our undocumented youth and community members developed Facebook and Instagram content around the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the clean Dream Act. They were able to put a face to the issues while explaining how these policies could directly influence their everyday lives.

Secondly, the rise of video on social media and how to utilize it to make an impact. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, video content is on the rise and it is expected to be the driving factor behind 85% of search traffic in the US. For those unfamiliar with creating videos or using social media for video, this can be overwhelming. But the good news is, even the simplest of videos can help get your organization’s mission and updates out there. As mentioned in the last point, all that’s really needed is a smart phone.

The bottom line is that here in California, we are surrounded by beautiful, impactful human stories every day. And such emotional stories move people to action. Yes, California is leading the nation on a lot of important fronts (immigration, health care, LGBTQ protections, etc.), but we still have work to do, and as such – we have many, many important stories to tell.

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