2020 has definitely not gone how we anticipated.
A new year, a new decade – we’d been optimistic at the beginning of this year for the fresh start we thought it would bring. We had plans to expand, grow the business and help our clients reach new business goals. But now, halfway through the year, the world is different now. The past six months alone, we’ve faced:
- bushfires and floods in our home country, Australia, that reminded us of the very real effect of climate change,
- a global pandemic that had us isolated within our homes and put many small businesses, including ours, at risk in a subsequent economic crisis,
- and a global civil rights movement that reminded us #BlackLivesMatter that became a rallying cry for anti-racism allyship.
And that’s just the big guns. On a personal level, it has definitely been a struggle. Not only were we disappointed that our original vision for the year may not ever be realised, we took a number of steps back with business changes and personal issues. But we’ve also been faced with a changing discourse on social that is pulling everything into question. We’ve been asked to question every institution, look inside ourselves and our privilege and reimagine a world that is more equal for everybody.
It’s been A LOT and we’ve struggled with what to say in this time and what to do as a business – as we think many businesses have. This is a time of unlearning and educating ourselves but also making real change to support and celebrate BIPOC-owned businesses, to make strong commitments to diversity and to even call on the likes of Facebook themselves to do their bit to combat hate. It’s definitely a lot to navigate.
But it’s a change that has been overdue, and one we cannot reverse.
These are the very wake-up calls we needed to reform our systems for the future. From the environment to race, to corporate responsibility and social media itself, this is a revolution that can only push us towards a more equitable and tolerant society. And that’s always what we wanted to strive for with The Social Story.
I’m driven by my blissful optimism in the power of social media to elevate the causes that need it. We saw that with the global support for the Australian bushfires and the celebration of local businesses through initiatives like Empty Esky and Buy From the Bush.
It’s a place to build community. We saw that with how we came together during COVID-19 to share good news, acts of kindness and even the memes. Even with the physical distancing, we were never quite alone with all the ways we could stay connected.
It is through better understanding and consciousness of these platforms that we can turn them into agents of change. We saw that with the huge online portion of the #BlackLivesMatter protests while many were still in lockdown. We saw that with the coordinated boycott of Facebook to demand more measures against hate speech. These feeds are people-powered, if the people know how to use it properly.
But in truth, 2020 reminds us – and reignites us – of our mission and the reason we started this business in the first place.
And the work doesn’t just stop when things stop trending. This is about long-lasting and considered change. We won’t just post content because everyone else is putting up the black square. This requires an overhaul of strategy that infuses these ideas of diversity, kindness and positivity from the very beginning. And that’s what we are all about.
2020 is our chance to deliver on our mission – to empower people to be more aware and conscious of social media and use it to promote positivity and inclusivity.
And this is how we’ll do it:
1. Continue to further our education
The work of unlearning is an ongoing one as we continue to question the institutions from which we benefit and keep others down. We are determined as a business to keep progressing in our education as allies and activists and sharing that with our audience. Just to start, we’ve learned a lot, particularly in the racial discussions from these accounts that we encourage you to check out: @rachel.cargle, @mspakyetti, @femalecollective, @shaded, @blakbusiness, @lumela.co, @earthrisestudio, @shityoushouldcareabout, @soyouwanttotalkabout and @girlgaze.
But beyond that, we will turn our social media into a place to share our learnings and celebrate the voices of those who know more than us. We will continue to share these resources through our feed and make it a space for all of us to learn and do better. We will focus on issues of race, of female empowerment and of sustainability that are universal, but also with a special focus on Australia. So give us a follow on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook to find out more.
2. Empower our audiences to be more conscious on social
To be more informed and critical about the social media platform is to use it to our advantage. These past few months have proven in high definition just how important it is to know the sort of content you’re consuming is accurate and also represents a more diverse view of the world. It’s reminded us to be more intentional with our use of social and take breaks when we need to. It’s also asked us to question when we speak, or when it is best to be silent and elevate those not usually heard. All this is to say that there is great power in social media, but it is still just a bunch of 1’s and 0’s existing on this arbitrary world wide web. The power of social media comes from the active choices of its users.
We want to use our platform here on this blog and on our own socials to educate more about how social media works and how we, as both businesses and individuals can use it better. We want to empower you to turn our feeds into a place of positivity and social progress.
3. Collaborate with clients that want to make an active change
We are committed to still helping clients develop and manage social strategies for good. And we realise that many small businesses are currently looking at the external climate and do not know where to start. That’s where we come in.
Our approach to social has always been about balancing a business’s communications goals with the conversations already happening on social. We’ve not played into cheap hacks or quick solutions that do not consider the impact beyond the single post. It’s always been about long-term solutions that help progress the conversation further, and find an organic way for a business to contribute.
The time has never been better for us all to be taking stock of what we post on social and how it can do better. And we are here to help you navigate through and develop a long-term strategy for your social media that makes sense in this changed world.
As social media platforms quickly ban 45 from posting further sedition, what does that mean for the future of the platforms, and more importantly, our role in shaping it?
We’re excited to leave the 2020 chapter behind us – but like with everything this year, we’ll take what we’ve been given and reflect on what happened.
This year has put social media activism into the spotlight – both it’s opportunities and its pitfalls. It’s up to us to make the most of it.