I understand your enthusiasm. I’ve spent many years working on social media and websites to raise awareness on various issues – from conservation, environmental degradation to street harassment, gender equality and disability rights etc. It is not an easy job to do. One must be prepared to be questioned, attacked and take responsibility for having every word of theirs analyzed through a microscope.
I never speak about something I haven’t spent hours and hours researching. Even when I find myself at the helm of mental illness myself and I’ve been trying to start a blog or tumblr or something on the same, I still don’t feel prepared. I’m taking moocs on the subject, talking to many people, reading and researching perspectives all the time.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, it is a lot of responsibility and not just about sending out tweets, statuses or images. It has to do with crafting meaningful interesting messages on the subject, networking with the right people, participate in exchange of knowledge, having clear ethics and principles on respecting opinions and communicating with people and last of all, a strategy in place. If you don’t start prepared, you will not last long online because it is an extremely dynamic medium which is constantly evolving.
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I have worked on looking at many facets of an issue and create interesting content that engages people. For instance, here’s something I did with The Kachra Project :
We also used local stars and vernacular languages to connect with people using humor as a tool.
This was an experiment and it worked well! Once we got people’s attention, we delved into more serious advice and information that could really help.
It all worked well and we didn’t have any major debates in terms of opinion except when we interviewed someone who was into bioplastics manufacturing. I won’t get into the details but the idea of sharing all this is to make you understand that just starting a page or a handle isn’t the aim. The aim is utter passion and dedicated for the cause.
Look at the creative below, it is so simple but hits a chord so easily.
And here’s another on mental illness which you might have seen already.
This is beyond brilliant and to the point. I follow many Twitter handles who advocate on mental illnesses. #SickNotWeak, #BellLetsTalk, #timetotalk, #EndTheStigma are successful hashtag campaigns that have got people to talk about their struggle with mental illnesses.
Something like this also works:
You must be prepared before delving in. Have a list of Twitter handles, Facebook pages, local and international organizations, focus areas ready before you start. Have a clear sense of which mental illnesses you’ll be starting with and go where the audience is. Once they learn of your work, momentum will build. It doesn’t happen overnight unless you have a really creative and consistent team. I was fairly successful with The kachra project but my own health and lack of resources and team made it harder to go on at the time. (While I’ll be revamping the project, I do acknowledge the constraints I faced.)
So I suggest you to do your research beforehand. Connect to the right people. Find influencers in the area. Ask them to contribute to your campaign. It could be a small post with their experience, an image with their thoughts or just them sharing your status, tweet or post with their following. Decide on the platforms that meets your needs: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, tumblr. The strategy for each will vary because the audience tastes vary.
There are many mental health projects based in India . I can suggest some for your reference. I maintain Twitter lists on the domains I’m interested in so I know where to go when I need a reference. You can message me if you need help with that.
All the best.
Images: Taken from Twitter for reference purposes. The original copyright is reserved with the owners.
PS: I couldn’t share sample of work done with other organizations because of conflict of interest and ownership etc.
 The Kachra Project