The biggest challenge of creating a change in my community is changing people’s mindsets. I live in Ukraine and it is post-Soviet country. Even though Ukraine has been independent for 20 years now, a lot of people still have that burden of old beliefs and opinions.
After I came back from the USA, where I spent last two years getting my master’s degree, I wanted to do something different with my life. I did not only want to write (since I am a journalist), but also wanted to do other things with media. In America I studied how to use social media so that it benefits business or organization, how to create websites and promote them and other things I did not know before. So I started my job search. “You are overqualified for this job and you are overqualified for Ukraine in general,” – they told me at one interview. I did not want that job anyway, but to hear that was a bit heartbreaking anyway.
I am still looking for a good well paid job that I would like. And while I am looking I decided not to sit on my couch and to apply my knowledge somewhere where it is needed. Thus I started volunteering at the local dog shelter. I always had passion for dogs and always wanted to help such places somehow. Now I do the same things there as I would do on a regular job – making sure the organization is present in social media, PR, working with media outlets, organizing press-conferences. I am being a media manager in the place where I really enjoy it. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MUAuYKI7doQ) Yes, I am not getting paid for that and will never will. But hey, I do not have a regular job anyway, right? When I (and other volunteers) tell other people what we do, we sometimes get very unusual reactions. People from our community genuinely think we are getting paid for looking after homeless dogs. They also see other “benefits” in our actions. That is what I mean in changing mindsets of the members of our community. I am just happy not everyone here is like that and there are some really understanding and sympathetic people.
Being media manager, I am sure social media sites and the development of Web 2.0 gives all of us an opportunity to reach almost everyone we want. I know in some less developed countries Internet is still a luxury though, but I am sure the situation will change drastically fast. Digitalization of media gives us an opportunity to be global, to cooperate and to communicate with almost anyone we want in the whole world.
I see that WorldPulse is one of such communities that help to get people together. Since all of us here either are journalists or like journalism, we already have at least one thing in common. I am sure now that we can read each other’s stories, we can get to know each other and network in the future.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change.