DIGITAL MEDIA AND THE GLOBAL GOALS
OECD Development Communication Network (DevCom)
Paris, 19-20 May 2016
Page 1. Digital trends and today's audiences
Page 5. Next steps for DevCom
Digital media has transformed the global conversation on development. It has changed the way people stay informed, learn and engage in debates. According to a recent study, it has even changed the way people think. More than two billion people worldwide now use social media at least once a month, and one billion people log onto Facebook every day.
So what does this mean for government institutions working on development? Can social media help them build public support for their work? How should they engage with “digital natives”?
Which tech trends do development communicators need to know about? How do communicators need to adapt to today's online audiences?
Aurelie Valtat, Digital Strategist at the European Commission, outlined ten social media trends and provided precious practical advice for government communicators in 2016. What tops her list? To play the social media game today, governments need to pay. Also, don’t forget: visual communication is king.
Derrick Feldmann, creator of The Millennial Impact Project, shared his research on what drives millennials to engage with social causes. He highlighted two crucial factors: identity and peer influence. Millennials want to feel that they are contributing to a better world. They also want to emulate their friends. To engage them, messages should focus on their personal contributions (e.g. “this is your opportunity to do something remarkable”) rather than putting institutions and brands upfront.
Reflecting on recent social movements like #NuitDebout, Caroline Castaing, communication officer at the Agence Française de Développement, argued that citizens today want more active roles in the policy debate. They are ready to learn, and public institutions need to provide them with platforms, knowledge and tools to engage in causes.
It is important to remember that citizens fundamentally support global development. According to the Eurobarometer, 89% of Europeans say that helping developing countries is important. 68% support an increase in EU foreign aid . A poll in Switzerland found that 83% of citizens support aid to secure a sustainable future for all, and to show solidarity with the world’s poor.
Douglas Frantz, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, applauded the transformative nature of the Sustainable Development Goals. However, he identified with communicators who have to explain this complex set of goals to their audiences. He identified four opportunities social media makes possible. Used wisely, social media can promote: