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Storytelling for Social Change in the South: Social Media Trainings at SPIN & @SEIRN

July 17, 2012

I just got back from two and half weeks in Georgia and North Carolina where I was part of two great gatherings:  the first-ever SPIN Academy in the South and the Southeast Immigrant Rights Conference in Raleigh, NC.

You can check out my Prezis from the conferences here:

Above is a video that was recorded by participants in my social media session at SPIN. For four days up on a hilltop in the Amicalola Falls Lodge, we discussed building communications skills and movement strategy development. Not only was the location inspiring and renewing, the activists themselves brought great energy. I grew up in North Carolina so it meant a lot to me to meet amazing activists who are working at the forefront of the struggle for true immigrant rights.

My presentation on audio storytelling got a great reception. And the social media workshop was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate what I’ve been discovering about social media and activism: integration is key! So we integrated content creation into the workshop: participants interviewed each other.

Two weeks later, I presented at the Southeast Immigrant Rights Conference in Raleigh, NC. I was even more inspired by the 150 participants at this conference (NC really represented!). Below is a quick audio file that participants in my workshop made with Opportunity Agenda talking points on immigration reform. (Stay tuned for more samples of audio & video storytelling…)

At both conferences, I lost count on the number of times the word “story” was used or demonstrated. Storytelling is now an integral part of organizing for social justice movements across the country (a la Marshall Ganz’s Public Narrative). If storytelling can be integrated into community organizing, how can we also make media creation part of this work and document our stories? Nonprofits and community groups love flip chart paper: we generate sheets filled with magic marker notes. Why can’t we do the same with digital media?

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