Stories-for-change round-up for the start of autumn
BAD NONPROFIT VIDEOS: In the video above, Kristina Robbins and Marg Safinia of the Department of Expansion expound on how to tell good stories and move “beyond the choir.” But first they talk about how to tell a bad story. Starting at 0:58, there’s a funny montage of tiresome nonprofit videos, which the speakers say share the same structure: “Act I: Depress and overwhelm your audience with grim facts and realities that make them feel powerless and maybe even guilty. Act II: Have an executive use lots of jargon to explain the mission statement, cram in a couple of talking points, and maybe list some programs. And finally, Act III, in which we tell you that the work that we do, none of which you’ve actually been able to experience, truly creates hope and changes lives.” This talk was part of the frank gathering on social-change communications.
WHY VIDEOS GO VIRAL: An article that appeared in the New York Times on the cusp of this summer — remember the summer? — said what makes online media go viral. The short answer? Emotion. Even stories “evoking rage or other negative, strong emotions are emailed by readers more often than ones that are simply depressing,” says the article. But, unsurprisingly, stories that evoke strong positive emotions fare even better.
HOW TO MEASURE A DOC FILM’S IMPACT: StoryPilot (formerly ImpactSpace) is a newly launched “web application for mapping the social impact of documentary films. Looking at a variety of metrics of change, from attitude shifts to community formation to policy reform, StoryPilot provides a holistic view of how films transform society.” StoryPilot is a project of The Harmony Institute.