Youth Participation
Heroes Hub: Telling the True Story Online

Heroes Hub: Telling the True Story Online
© FNF Philippines

In a digital landscape where information is fast changing, trolls rear their ugly heads and lies circulate, how best can one tell the truth? As Wolfgang Heinze, Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) Philippines country director, put it, “What narrative can we put p in defense of democracy, good governance, and human rights? 

The purpose of communication, storytelling, and understanding the platforms are key, according to Vineeti Singh, a marketing communications professional who specializes in designing digital communications strategies and online campaigns. 

Successful content is motivated by the passion to teach, to inform with authority and credibility, Singh explained. She emphasized that to be able to become more effective in telling stories online, one should “humanize the content and spark emotions”.

Singh highlighted the importance of learning how the platform works. This gives an advantage in strategizing ways to tell their stories. 

Heroes Hub: Telling the True Story Online
© FNF Philippines

Beyond echo chambers

More than 150 students, activists, and young professionals from across the Philippines gathered online last November to take part in the Heroes Hub Youth Fellowship Program. They focused on ‘Digital Storytelling,’ designed to expose the fellows to the world of effective communications in the digital arena and go beyond their echo chambers. 

The annual multi-event training program which started in 2018 turned digital with an online learning session organized by FNF in partnership with Active Vista, a group established by Dakila, an artist collective advocating social change, to run programs on public advocacy, engagement and communications.

The fellows discussed countering trolls and disinformation, among others. Singh reiterated the importance of knowing the objective of the message, keeping in mind that the sender is responsible for the message to be shared, the target market to be reached, and the desired outcome.

 

Heroes Hub: Telling the True Story Online
© FNF Philippines

Work in progress

Aly Suico, program director for public advocacy of Dakila, said that “we need to keep reminding ourselves that we’re actually humans talking to humans and not humans talking to the platform. There is a need to reclaim the fact that we control how we communicate with one another.”

During the pandemic, the digital space has become a platform for citizen participation. While this promotes conversation and has become a source of information, the threat of disinformation lurks.

This is a challenge that democracies face. As Heinze said, “Democracy is a work in progress which only survives if people believe in the principles of democracy, understand the system, and participate in it on a daily basis.”