Social media for good and for better

Being hosted in the European Youth Centre Budapest, the seminar created unique opportunities to learn more about the youth activities supported by the Council of Europe. This European institution promotes international youth work activities in three directions: human rights education, democratic participation and the rule of law.

Laszlo Foldi shared the experience of implementing the European ‘No Hate’ campaign that was targeted at young people. 90 young people from 15 to 30 years old were involved directly in the campaign activities as volunteers. At the time of the seminar, the campaign was already finished, and participants of the seminar could get familiar with the results, achievements and challenges of this campaign.

During his presentation, Laszlo highlighted four challenges of social media that the campaign organisers faced during their activities. According to him, the same challenges are also relevant to our online work with young people:

  • Filter bubbles
  • Echo chambers
  • Fake information/news
  • Virtual nature

In Laszlo’s opinion, young people are more exposed to extreme ideas which are amplified by the social media factors mentioned above. “There is growing tendency in Europe towards nationalism and radicalism and not human rights.”, Laszlo was telling to the seminar participants. During his talk, Laszlo was explaining the model that is currently used to critically reflect the identity in contemporary (social media) realities in Europe:

Image from the presentation by Laszlo Foldi

The organisers of the campaign combined both online and offline activities to build the community of young volunteers. “For a certain number of young people, we made a training course on blogging, and this created a relationship and a foundation for further engagement. This would not have worked as well without offline activities”, Laszlo was sharing about their good practice.

In his concluding note, Laszlo was sharing the limits of voluntary campaigns that often to make an impact, need to have much more resources, including hiring media professionals.

After the keynote presentation, participants of the seminar continued reflecting and sharing youth social media realities in Europe.

Written by seminar facilitators Nerijus Kriauciunas and Juha Kiviniemi

This the 2nd post in a series of blog post based on an article that is an outcome of the international seminar ‘Developing digital youth work’. The seminar was hosted between the 12th  and 16th of March 2018 in Budapest, Hungary by Tempus Public Foundation – Erasmus+ National Agency in Hungary with the support by Finnish National Agency for Education.

Continue to the 3rd blog post ‘Maker culture in Budapest’ from this series. Start from the 1st blog post ‘Digital youth work developments are taking steps forward’, should you missed the beginning.