Tuesday, July 22, 2014

HBO Documentary – The Love Child Screening at the Asia Society, New York City – July 15, 2014

The Love Child documentary premiered at the Asia Society this past Tuesday night in New York City.  Directed by Valerie Veatch, and produced by T-Mobile CEO John Legere, this documentary raises the many problems and concerns of modern consumer internet technology.  This movie chronicles the real-life case of a young couple in South Korea charged with leaving their baby daughter at home in neglect while they spent hours at internet caf├ęs playing Prius, a multi-player internet based game.  The baby died of malnutrition two months after birth, weighing less than what it weighed when first born.

The film takes viewers into present day Seoul, South Korea – one of the most digitally connected cities in the world, where easy access to high speed broadband and wi-fi is the norm.  Coming later into developing a telecom infrastructure, South Korea was able to build their broadband systems with newer technologies than other industrialized nations.

What brought great wealth to the information technology sector also created unintended negative social consequences of internet addiction and misuse.

The documentary shifts back and forth between scenes of interviewing South Koreans of their views of this case, popular internet gaming cafes hangouts where people play for hours on end while consuming soft drinks ramen & cigarettes, and captivating clips from the Prius game that this couple was heavily engaged in. 

The pace of the movie started out slow and excessively focused on digital clips from the Prius game, but the pace picks up as the viewer starts to see how the game unfolds and how it might feel like playing through the eyes of the protagonist couple.  Prius rewards players who invest many hours in level advancements with a digital child avatar, whom the player must continually protect as it grows and transforms.

Concluding the screening, the audience raised many questions concerning the gaming industry, and the proliferation of digital culture. 

Who is to be responsible for negative fall-outs caused by excessive gaming?  What are the effects on children being exposed to excessive screen time on mobile device?  What happens to gamers who develop emotional bonds to virtual characters they can no longer see when a game gets canceled?
An emerging digital culture could use some public discourse critiquing its change on culture and lifestyle, for the good and bad.  

If you’re local papers aren’t covering these issues, write to them suggesting a guest article.

We’ll be compiling a list of digital culture documentaries, send us your suggestions on twitter using #digitalculturedocs.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Be Social Change Workshop - Building Partnerships with Impact with Emily Chong @ WeWork New York City – July 2, 2014

If you are looking to engage in social change, or improve your strategies on this, BeSocial Change workshops gives would-be and current non-profit activists a great way to learn this skill at an engaging environment with successful young talented professionals in the start-up world.

This week’s workshop - Building Partnerships with Impactwas held at the WeWork space in Soho with Emily Chong – VP of theFeast.  Emily spoke about how to partner with corporations to either raise funds for your non-profit cause, or to raise awareness of it to the general public though the marketing clout of large corporations.  If you’ve ever wondered how some nonprofits can partner with a big chain like Whole Foods to publicize their cause in their stores, this was the type of workshop that would walk you through the steps from contacting the right people to creating the right partnership proposal.

Getting corporations to see the value of your non-profit cause requires a lot of savvy-ness and creativity in presenting your ideas to the right decision makers, meeting them in person, creating the right proposal, and successfully setting up follow-up meetings (which hopefully leads to closing the deal). 

Here are some tips Emily shared with attendees from her own experience in getting corporations to partner with the Feast conference   
  • Always contact the decision makers, because untraditional ideas get killed when presented to risk-averse middle managers
  • Find and attend conferences where decision makers meet
  • Use LinkedIn and Facebook Social Graph to find who the key decision makers are in a company
  • Approach the marketing department instead of the corporate social responsibility department for partnerships, as marketing has a much bigger budget to work with
  • Getting the companies interested in analogous to dating, follow up with them by taking them out for drinks, events – find ways to make engagement with you fun, interesting
  • Invest in hiring a graphic designer to help you create nice decks, perception is everything- and make sure to bring nicely printed handouts to every meeting

The workshop also included everyone introducing themselves and the cause they are working for, which gave all the attendees a great opportunity to obtain helpful tips and advice on their own journeys in the corporate partnering process.

For more info on upcoming workshops held by Be Social Change, check out their page here.