Home   News   Snap-happy volunteers need to be savvy in their social media use

Snap-happy volunteers need to be savvy in their social media use

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

Asking yourself some questions is the key to striking a healthy balance in taking and sharing photos, writes Donal Brady

 

Does this impress or impact? Is this helpful to me or others… or anyone?

Once you post a picture on social media, other people are within their rights to decide what it is. These other people may be informed, uninformed or ill-informed on the subject of the picture but unfortunately their diverse opinions all hold equal weight. Who are these other people? Just friends… followers, scrollers, trolls and creepers. Taggers, bloggers, screenshooters, and re-tweeters. Spammers, scammers and brand ambassadors. All viewing your picture, all forming their own opinions and all writing their own narrative – in their heads or otherwise.

This article is encouraging you to think about what you photograph and post on social media. It will give special attention to doing so as a volunteer where I believe we need to take extra care. A snap-happy volunteer can cause irreparable damage to their organisation’s reputation. Finally, as I detest the term social media, I’ll refer to it as FITS. (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat) and help you to strike that balance between abstaining from social media entirely and contributing to ‘poverty porn’.

I spent nine months working on the Greek island of Samos. The organisation I worked with, Samos Volunteers, are committed to providing psychosocial support for men, women and children living inside and outside of the refugee camp. On my return home, people knew where I had been through my FITS but they were probably less aware of how carefully thought-out my pictures were. That’s because I helped to draft, implement and police our organisation’s FITS policy.

Our FITS policy was clear.

  1. It is illegal to take photographs inside the refugee camp. If you do so you will be arrested by Greek police and compromise our access to the camp, hindering our mission. So don’t do that.
  2. If you are taking pictures of an activity to send to your donors, then photograph participants from an angle that they cannot be identified from. Many asylum seekers and refugees do not want people to know where they are so they may be reluctant to have their picture shared or circulated online.
  3. Do not take pictures of kids’ faces. (Yes, I concede that they are adorable and may love their selfies). Unfortunately, those brown eyes can emote different feelings in different internet users and those range of feelings are so broad that it is just plain dangerous.

“But what if I ask them if I could take a picture and they say it is okay?”

That’s a fair question. I’ll spare you the legal definitions but instead encourage you to check out Wikipedia’s page on ‘Informed Consent’. As a volunteer, the people that you are helping are very appreciative of what you are doing for them. They want to thank you in ways more than just saying the two magic words. They may agree to have their picture taken because you’ve asked them for something and they’ve said yes to show you their gratitude. A favour for a favour. So while their spoken answer may be “yes, of course”, their true, non-verbal response may be a “no thank you.”

Have I frozen you in fear? Knowing this you may be very reluctant to take any pictures of your voluntary work in future. But don’t plant your flag on either side of the spectrum. As mentioned above, it is about striking a healthy balance. Implementing or adhering to a black and white “No Social Media” ban is not the answer. Nor is posting incessant, personal pictures of ‘Poverty Porn’.

We need to recognise that FITS are excellent platforms to raise awareness of your cause and generate those much-needed donations. That said, we use social media to impact not to impress. Ask yourself, does this picture really help those I am here to help? Apart from ‘likes’ and complimentary comments, what am I really achieving from this post? Could another picture without a human subject be equally impactful? A photo of a soaking wet sleeping bag can tell a tale just as well as a picture of its occupant.

I feel that asking and answering these questions before you take pictures of your voluntary work will help you to do what is best for you, your organisation and most importantly those that you are there to help. Happy volunteering and happy savvy snapping!

 

Donal has a BA in New Media and English from University of Limerick and has recently returned to Ireland from Samos, Greece where he worked as Education Coordinator of Samos Volunteers (www.samosvounteers.org) Like to get in touch? donalpbrady@gmail.com



16 comments

  1. I spent four years trying EVERYTHING in Online Dating, and through a huge amount of trial and error, I produced a system that I will share for you. This book will take you, step by step, through everything you need to know to double, triple or even quadruple the number of women you meet online.

    http://deal79.com/best-dating-places-for-boys/

  2. Thanks so much for giving everyone an extremely breathtaking possiblity to read articles and blog posts from this website. It is always very brilliant and as well , jam-packed with a good time for me personally and my office peers to search your site really thrice every week to learn the latest issues you have. Not to mention, I’m just actually astounded for the powerful secrets served by you. Some 4 tips on this page are basically the simplest we have all ever had.
    [url=http://www.supremeoutlets.us.com]supreme outlet[/url]

  3. Thank you a lot for giving everyone an exceptionally pleasant chance to read articles and blog posts from this site. It is always so cool plus full of fun for me and my office colleagues to search your web site at a minimum thrice in one week to study the latest guidance you have got. And definitely, I am always fascinated for the amazing creative ideas you give. Selected 1 tips in this post are ultimately the finest we have all had.
    hogan outlet http://www.hogan-outlet.us.com

  4. Thank you a lot for providing individuals with an extremely breathtaking chance to read articles and blog posts from this website. It really is very good and also full of amusement for me and my office co-workers to search your website really 3 times in a week to study the latest items you have got. And indeed, I’m so actually fascinated for the effective principles you serve. Certain 1 facts in this article are absolutely the most suitable we have had.
    hermes belt http://www.hermesbelts.co.uk

  5. I enjoy you because of your whole labor on this website. Betty really likes conducting investigations and it’s really easy to understand why. Most people know all regarding the lively mode you present functional things on the blog and even recommend participation from website visitors on this subject matter then my girl has always been learning a lot of things. Take pleasure in the rest of the year. You have been conducting a good job.
    adidas tubular x http://www.adidas-tubular.us.com

  6. After I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a remark is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any method you can remove me from that service? Thanks!
    nike air max 2019 http://www.nikeairmax2019.com

  7. I was very happy to search out this net-site.I wanted to thanks to your time for this excellent learn!! I definitely having fun with every little little bit of it and I’ve you bookmarked to check out new stuff you weblog post.
    nike react http://www.nikereact.org

  8. After research a couple of of the blog posts in your web site now, and I truly like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site listing and will probably be checking again soon. Pls check out my web site as well and let me know what you think.
    jordan 6 http://www.jordan6.us.com

  9. This is the correct weblog for anybody who needs to search out out about this topic. You realize so much its nearly laborious to argue with you (not that I truly would need匟aHa). You undoubtedly put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, just great!
    michael kors handbags http://www.michaelkors-outletfactory.us.org

  10. Aw, this was a very nice post. In thought I want to put in writing like this additionally ?taking time and precise effort to make a very good article?however what can I say?I procrastinate alot and under no circumstances appear to get one thing done.
    kyrie 6 http://www.kyrie6shoes.us


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 0 Flares ×