The Power Of Media To Create Social Impact
Did you know that we consume over 15 hours of media each day?
Yes, you read that right. Fifteen hours of media each day. That’s equal to 6.9 million-million gigabytes of information, or a daily consumption of nine DVDs worth of data per person, per day – according to a study at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego.
We now have access to so much information through media, apps, social media, content, and more. Stories about wicked problems plaguing our world as well as innovative solutions for these issues are continuously shared across channels in different countries and languages, ultimately increasing awareness.
A beautiful thing about this connectivity lies in how it truly has the power to democratize social impact by sparking people’s interest in supporting and getting involved as a social entrepreneur, impact investor, or advocate.
Whether these stories are packaged through YouTube videos, social media campaigns, trending hashtags in response to an event, or beyond, they have the undeniable potential to reach millions around the globe in a matter of seconds.
Right now, we are living in an opportune time to leverage media and technology across the world to catalyze social impact. Just as media increases global access to stories and information, the Internet shortens the path for people of any background to start a new venture or program because of the volume of entrepreneurial resources providing support.
Leveraging virtual reality for social impact
A rising trend in media involves adapting video and journalistic content to produce virtual reality experiences. We have seen examples of virtual reality employed to weave stories and educate viewers about social issues in an immersive way with real video examples from around the world. These tools also have the potential to create more awareness about social and environmental challenges in local communities to bring together key stakeholders (ex. consumers, city dwellers, city government, non-profit organizations and technology companies). Not to mention, this kind of media generates new possibilities for new environmental and social issues to be surfaced through crowdsourced data.
Virtual reality has been found to create a shared human experience through empathy, and it can make the world seem smaller which reduces real and perceived barriers to tackling the world’s wicked social and environmental problems.
An empathy machine
Virtual reality creator Simone Stolzoff describes the technology as having the power to turn thoughts into action because viewers are much more likely to take action when they relate to a character’s circumstance as if it were their own. Similarly, this TED talk by Chris Milk and a recent article in Wired advocate how virtual reality can actually make people more empathetic.