In January 2014 Purpose launched their Online Democratic Platforms for Young People project, which we are supporting through Destination Local. The objective of the project is to test online democratic platforms in the UK that support young people to collaboratively engage with democratic institutions (local authorities, city governments) in order to effect positive social change.
Purpose are working with UpRising and an alumni of young people in Birmingham to increase young people’s engagement by identifying low to medium-barrier ways for them to influence their local decision makers, and for decision makers to engage with young people in places that they are most accustomed to, i.e. social media platforms.
It can be difficult for young people to know how to get involved in local politics and democratic decision-making. While the internet is a well-used form of political expression, it does not always integrate itself well with offline democratic decision-making processes at a local level.
Nesta is keen to understand how online platforms might be used more effectively to enable collaboration or peer support, and enable young people to access information about issues that affect them locally.
The hyperlocal media link
We are also interested in how young people can utilise local services and networks – both online and offline - such as hyperlocal media platforms. Hyperlocal media services have an important role to play in creating opportunities for engagement, and promoting and inspiring both young people and decision makers to participate, as well as being a conduit in holding decision makers accountable to their young constituents.
As digital storytelling and digital platforms, such as social media, have been identified to be a powerful tool for young people to engage with local decision makers, Purpose and UpRising have developed the Raising Your Voice: Digital Story Telling to Create Change guide to provide young people in Birmingham and beyond with the tools and resources to help create, share and inspire social change. The guide has been developed, with specific reference to the ‘digital tactics playbook’ (see chapter 4), to highlight a range of possible digital tactics that can be tailored by young people to suite the specific issue-areas they want to influence, and to support them in deploying those tactics across a target platform.
Nesta will share the learnings from this project in late 2014, and it’s anticipated that young people in other places across the UK will use the learnings and the guide to work with local organisations to develop opportunities and effect social action in their local area, ensuring a tangible impact in the offline world as well as online.