Why Media For Social Change?

Welcome to the brand new Media For Social Change community.

This is something I’ve been wanting to build for a long time and I’m excited for you to join me on that journey. Here’s a little about my personal story, and how MSC came to be.

Shuling in the radio studio hosting on Radio Heatwave

My time as a deejay on Radio Heatwave

Childhood Dreams

It all began when I was a teenager who wanted nothing more than to be a radio deejay on one of Singapore’s most popular stations Perfect 10, 98.7FM. Targeted at teenagers like myself, I found myself spending many a night being accompanied by radio celebrities like Jean Danker and Jamie Yeo as I did my homework. As a regular contributor of hand-made song requests, it always thrilled me to hear my hand-written dedication get read out on air. It felt so personal and special to me. For those few seconds, it was like I was the only one in the room. And for the days after, as I replayed that moment in my head over and over, nothing could bring me down.

So I thought “how wonderful would it be if I could touch the lives of others in a similar way, and do it for a living?”

Finding My Path

I knew my talents didn’t lie in finding the cure for cancer, so that threw the expectation of going into medicine out the window. I probably wasn’t going to engineer technology that would supply fresh water affordably to all the world’s people either.

Filming at the Indiana Sand Dunes

I knew though, that I could pick up a camera, capture moments, and tell stories that moved people. And as I sat in film class at Northwestern University being inspired by clips from social issue documentaries   that demonstrated the power of cinematic social inquiry, I decided that that was how I’d use my skills – to create positive social change. (Thanks Kartemquin Films!)

What followed was four years of working closely with over 30 non-profit organizations and socially conscious businesses across Chicagoland, telling their stories through video, developing strategies on how to better engage their audiences, and teaching them how they can manage their online presence more easily. My work has helped me understand the challenges and the opportunities that come with being a changemaker.

Building The Future

Who would have thought that with technology, media and communications would become such an integral part of our lives today? We’ve reached a day and age where any organization that doesn’t have a presence online practically doesn’t exist. There is a growing movement of socially-conscious individuals who realize that the world is much bigger than themselves, and staff at non-profit organizations and social entrepreneurs are at the forefront of that movement.

I found myself being asked more and more by non-profit leaders to teach them about digital marketing because they understand that engaging an audience has become even more important now. People are moving further away from mass media and consuming more new media where they have the freedom to pick from thousands of channels the niches that interest them. To break through, stand out, and engage, non-profits, social enterprises and all changemakers must embrace new media.

Videos, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, E-mail Newsletters, SEO, Analytics. I know it can get overwhelming. That’s why I want to build this… the Media For Social Change community. A gathering space for all of us who are using our talents to make our communities a better place, to share, learn, provide advice, and celebrate our work. Read the blog for useful tips and how-tos, listen to the podcast to hear what other changemakers have done, subscribe to the newsletter to make sure you never miss the action.

Stand up. Contribute. Write me anytime. I am so excited to see what we can do together!

Cheers,
Shuling

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