In recent years, online video consumption has increased to a new height. Last year the average person in the world watched 84 minutes of online video per day, compared to 67 minutes per day in 2018. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been forced to rely on and become used to viewing audio-visual contents online more and more. This has impacted the media consumption of people of different ages. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people are relying on their screens to inform and distract themselves more than ever before in history.
However, most of these videos consumed online are random, commercially driven, or viral videos on platforms like Tik Tok, Instagram, and Facebook. This poses a challenge for filmmakers who want to make a social impact with their films. Nonetheless, they are trying to meet the challenge and more and more social issues videos are making their way online. Many film festivals scheduled during the COVID-19 pandemic are also being shifted online.
Egbert Wits, Project Manager at EngageMedia, published a guest blog at the UK-based Video activism platform One World Media discussing these, and other issues. The blog has been getting quite a few reactions and has stirred some debate.
Egbert asserts that the level of engagement for social issues videos should be increased for greater impact:
“Obtaining higher levels of engagement can be a real challenge, especially online. It helps if a social issues video ends with a concrete call to action: sign the online petition, talk to your neighbour, donate to your local food bank, join our Facebook group, etc.
Another option is building the capacity of affected communities and making sure that those most affected by an issue can continue advocating and engaging audiences themselves once a filmmaker’s time is up.”
Egbert also mentions:
“However one goes about creating social impact through filmmaking, one thing is clear: think ahead! Before picking up a camera, filmmakers (and their teams) must strategise and come up with ideas on how their video will contribute to social change. This decisive, yet often overlooked, exercise really influences how filmmakers can be successful at creating social impact.”
About the Author: Rezwan Islam has long experience in citizen and social media. For over 15 years, he has been writing for local and international citizen media sites/blogs.