civic media: week three

join the conversation

 

Following the documentary we watched last week, On the Streets, our primary focus for this week was to begin the creation of our own activism video.

 

Together, my group decided that we would begin by asking students around us about some of the issues or problems they see college students facing today. Then, we would show them a clip from On the Streets, featuring Louis, a PhD student who lives in his car while completing college courses. After watching the clip, we will ask them if their feelings have changed and if they knew that many students experience homelessness every year. Through our video, I believe that our goal is to urge our audience to look at some of the deeper issues within our society, those beyond the surface of our everyday struggles.

 

I am very excited to see the finished product once we complete the editing process. I have never actually filmed and edited a video like this before, so I am experiencing mixed emotions of nervousness and excitement to see how it turns out. It will definitely be a learning experience for me, but I am looking forward to it.

 

Video activism also ties in with the other various themes we have touched on this week, such as viral cultures, memes, and the increasing engagement of young people across social media platforms amidst various movements in our society.

 

By researching past movements, such as the Women’s March in D.C., we were able to see the increasing trend in young engagement across platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram. By using hashtags, such as #womensmarchnyc, members were able to share, tag, and contribute to the ongoing conversation about women’s rights.

 

Further, this engagement reflects the importance of both thin and thick engagement, as some live tweeted and shared content from the scene of the event while others shared their ideas and posts from at home. Despite their differences, both types of engagement contribute to a conversation that has the ability to grow, both online and off.

 

Touching on the Informed Citizen Paradigm, it is important to note “how young people have gone digital and become skeptical of conventional politics, parties, and politicians” (Bennett and Segerberg). Through civic media, citizens have now resolved to go out, get involved, and make changes. This shift is related especially to the ever increasing content and activism online, such as that related to #womensmarchnyc.

 

By contributing to this ongoing conversation, whether it be with the Women’s March or something else you are interested in, I believe that there is something special about sharing your thoughts, feelings, or beliefs on a digital platform and engaging with those outside of your direct community.

 

So, I encourage you to think about what you are truly passionate about – what do you want to see change in the world? Or, what do you love about the world? Tweet your thoughts, be present in your community, and engage with others online.

 

thanks for reading

– madauer

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civic media: week two

 

This week in Civic Media, we had the opportunity to watch a documentary about homelessness called On the Streets.

 

Side note: I am constantly amazed at how many of the topics discussed throughout my various classes at St. Joe’s seem to connect with one another. Vastly different classes, such as Theology and English, seem to connect through various topics throughout my communications courses. (love it!)

 

This documentary, On the Streets, explored the various areas and communities of homelessness in Los Angeles. By putting personal faces to the severe statistics of homelessness, I was able to connect more deeply with the problems of poverty, lack of job opportunities, and homelessness within our society. Together, these three elements create an unbreakable cycle.

 

On the Streets brought an even deeper question to light – what does the term homelessness mean to you?

 

“You don’t call it homeless, you call it houseless…Homeless is a state of mind.”

 

Through my experience with PSIP and Magis, two service opportunities at St. Joe’s, I learned the importance of addressing those living on the streets not with the label “homeless,” but rather, “those experiencing homelessness.” This important distinction in viewing an individual and recognizing their worth was further expressed in the documentary through the words of a man living on Skid Row: “You don’t call it homeless, you call it houseless…Homeless is a state of mind.”

 

Many of these individuals featured in the documentary felt strongly about their place of living as being their home. The people surrounding them on the streets are not only their neighbors, they are their community and family.

 

Another important element addressed through On the Streets was the severity of the constant cycle of homelessness that many families experience. Some individuals begin living on the streets after their caretaker or guardian passes away while others are unable to support themselves after serving time behind bars. Without programs to help these individuals and facilitate the transition from prison to everyday life, they are unable to find a job in order to survive and support themselves. This creates an unstoppable cycle for families and their children, as they are unable to get back on their feet.

 

I believe that something must be done in order to stop this cycle, and it starts with taking the time to learn about the deeper issues at hand. This includes those elements that are accelerating the cycle of poverty and homelessness within our communities. I also urge you to take time to volunteer with those less fortunate in your community.

 

Forming those very personal human connections with others in your community can be a life changing experience. By forming a deeper and more intimate human connection with these people, you are able to see through their eyes and place a more vivid face to a truly horrible statistic. That is exactly what On the Streets was able to do for me.

 

As Jena Lee Nardella says in One Thousand Wells, “I simply loved being the bridge between two worlds that shared the same zip code and yet seemed so different.” You can be that bridge. You have the opportunity to form that connection between two worlds.

 

thanks for reading

-madauer

 

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civic media: week one

what is civic media?

 

What is civic media?

 

That is exactly what I was asking myself before walking into my 11:15am class titled, “Communications Civic Media.” Curious to learn more, I was eager to absorb as much information as possible within the 50-minute class period.

 

Out of all of my classes that I have taken at St. Joe’s, my communications classes always capture my attention. I constantly feel myself walking out of each and every Comm class, filled with even more ideas and new concepts than ever before.

 

This week, throughout my Civic Media classes, I learned what Civic Media truly is and was able to apply it to a wide range of events. Now, I had a name to describe something that was happening all around me and within society.

 

By breaking apart the term, civic media, I was able to further understand the deeper meaning of this concept.

 

Civics = the rights and responsibilities of citizens in relation to each other and their government

Media = the platforms and tools that we use to spread and share our ideas, thoughts, and beliefs

 

Thus, civic media or civic engagement, is the use of social media platforms and other outlets in order to create some sort of change. Through this expression and circulation of ideas, individuals have the ability to bring a community together, even creating an impact across the globe, to achieve some type of change or movement.

 

After learning this, I realized that countless events have occurred just throughout my lifetime that were further accelerated by the use of social media. I immediately thought about several different movements, such as civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights. These movements have been discussed and shared countless times across various social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

 

Whether you are one of the people at the scene live tweeting an event (thick civic engagement) or if you are at home observing and replying to tweets (thin civic engagement), you are creating an impact. Through your words, you are allowing the conversation to spread and are opening the door to expose deeper & underlying issues.

 

I encourage you to stay alert – observe what is happening around you, both within your community and across the globe & see the impact that civic engagement is playing on various movements.

 

(PS – an easy and fun way to watch and interact with these movements as they unfold is by visiting the trending hashtags page on any social media platform, such as Twitter)

 

-madauer

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