Internet Rights for Emerging Voices
Digital rights are considered to be the same fundamental human rights that exist in the offline world – but in the online world. However, online spaces are facing the biggest threats ever with government shutdowns, lack of adequate privacy regulations, concentration of power in the hands of a few tech giants, internet trolls, cybercrime laws and the list goes on. Now more than ever, we need citizens and civil society to stand up for a free and fair internet. Digital rights are best protected by empowering emerging civil society actors and mainstreaming internet freedom values to established human rights organizations. However, advocating for these rights relies on clear communication and appropriate utilization of digital tools to get the message across. With that in mind, we have created this handy guide on how to use digital strategies to advocate for digital rights.
The first step to effective messaging is to KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. This can be done by creating personas. The purpose of personas is to create reliable and realistic representations of your key audience segments for reference. Personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the diverse needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your potential audience. Start out by imagining who this person is, what their likes and dislikes are, what media they use to receive information, what their education level is and so on. For example, are they more likely to get their information from the radio, from newspapers, from a local community leader or through social media or messaging apps? This enables you to better tailor your message and the format to suit their needs and your goals.
Your next task is to distill your messaging into as few words as possible but with maximum impact. Start by looking at the entire topic, then filtering the message down to one paragraph, then 2-3 sentences and then 2-3 words. It’s also a good idea to ask questions to get your audience thinking about the issues you will discuss.
- ALL CONTENT: This is all the content that is available on a particular topic that you would like to share.
- A FEW PARAGRAPHS: Condense the content into a few paragraphs, as if you might be writing a one page concept note.
- ONE PARAGRAPH: Further condense the content in one paragraph. This is something you could share on a social media platform such as Facebook.
- A FEW SENTENCES: Here’s the tricky part. Now only use 1 or 2 sentences to explain the gist of your message. Try to fit your message into as few words as possible, as if you might be posting this message on Twitter taking into account the 140 character limit.
- A FEW WORDS: Lastly, distill you entire message into 2-3 words. These are your potential hashtags that you could use for your audience to identify with, to brand your content or to facilitate future searches on the topic.
Once you have a good idea about your target audience, you can then choose which message format you share with them over the most suitable platform.