From the conflict in Ukraine, to the cost of living crisis in the UK and increasing concerns over the climate crisis – the social impact sector has faced many challenges in 2022.
In the world of communications, we’ve seen TikTok continuing its ascent and establishing itself as a kingpin of social media, while the future of Twitter remains…uncertain, to say the least.
However, uncertainty seems to be this year’s theme and may have influenced how we communicate social issues next year. Our strategy team weighs in on predictions for 2023.
1. IT’S A WEIRD TIME IN TECH.
Currently, the tech industry is seeing mass layoffs and concerns about the industry’s morals are more prevalent than ever.
While this is nothing new, with consistent dialogue over the past decade of safety and security concerns, especially regarding data usage, we’re now seeing these perspectives built upon.
The conversation on cookie usage and privacy is evolving to respond to the use of AI apps as entertainment. With heightened concerns on how these AI is using our data among the general public, we may see the end of cookies in 2023.
Even if we don’t see the end of cookies in 2023, conversations around AI, online misinformation and digital policy will be hot topics – especially concerning the real threat that unregulated tech companies pose to civil liberties, human rights and free speech online.
2. ONLINE VS OFFLINE.
March will mark three years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the campaigning landscape is changing again.
We are rapidly returning to a more physical world with in-person events and campaigning activities starting to draw us all over the world again – and people are excited about that!
This is combined with increasing concerns around safety, security and the future of specific social media channels (cough, Twitter, cough), which movements have previously leaned heavily on within the past decade.
What forums or spaces or new social platforms will activists and campaigners turn to next to get their messages out there? Will it even be online? And if it is online, what will it look like?
3. MAKE IT SHORT AND SNAPPY.
I’m not regular content, I’m cool content.
As younger audiences begin to dominate what’s considered the cultural canon, everyone else is scattering to keep up with what’s cool. As a result, we’re getting to a place where high-definition pictures of people on beaches with perfect tans while carrying a bag three times the price of your rent is considered slightly out of touch.
Enter TikTok. The rise of TikTok means that other platforms are playing catch up. But, much like a reboot of a classic 90s TV show, nothing beats the original. While the app is designed so you can continue scrolling and watching forever, the true allure of TikTok is that we’re directly served content that is mostly relatable, rooted in humour and succinct.
In 2023, let go of glossy content and think about what you can do to directly and meaningfully communicate to your campaign audiences on their territory. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should start a TikTok and dance with your team to Doja Cat – but it may be time to think about what you want to say in your newsletter or the voices you’d like to amplify.
4. AMPLIFYING LOCAL VOICES
Localisation may be essential in how campaigns are presented in 2023.
Localisation refers to local stakeholders driving the change, the direction of travel and choosing who they work with at the global level.
Large-scale organisations with global operations are adapting their messaging to attract and engage local actors. Therefore they are fast becoming ‘supporting actors’ through listening and collaborating with local partners to inform their strategy and campaigning.
5. LOCAL PRESSURE IS BEATING MASS MOMENTUM.
On the topic of local actors driving change, there is more of a trend towards local community activism and autonomous organising in many different social movements in the UK.
This may signify a shift away from the role of institutionalised third sector/civil society/national protests when campaigning on social issues. Social media optics may not translate into people taking action.
For example, hyped digital national campaigns like “Enough Is Enough” and “Don’t Pay” saw little impact, as they couldn’t sustain the momentum they quickly built up. On the other hand, local renters unions and other groups willing to take direct action were influential.