The media and social media reflect the world in many ways.
By this I mean newspapers, magazines, TV, advertising and Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, etc.
Here are some practical tips for those of you who want your message to be more inclusive and who want to make the world a little bit more equal. Remember, micro-action matters. Always.
1) Use a photographer that think diversity matters
Hire a photographer who thinks about diversity in their work and make sure you get cool shots that are not sexist and stereotyping people. You have to do your research and check the photographer’s portfolio, blog and social media accounts. In Sweden, there is a photographer who calls himself the ‘gender photographer’, his name is Tomas Gunnarsson. There is an online magazine you can download on his site, it’s in Swedish at the moment, maybe there will be a translation in the future.
2) Implement new rules and break the norms
When you are choosing images, you must have some options that are different from the ‘norm’. Why share normative and stereotyped photos at all? Be more creative and think differently.
3) Avoid sexist stock images
Stock images often have a stereotyped feeling about them. Commission new photos and get them into your library. I know a surf school in Sweden that used an image of men surfing and actively trimming while a young woman sat passively on the front of a surfboard. This doesn’t send out the right signals.
4) Break the selfie norm
Take selfies that breaks the norm and share them online. Break all sexist rules there are.
5) Stories and numbers
Count the stories you have featured in the last few months and see which sections and themes feature men and women. You need to analyse your media flow to be able to correct it.
6) Expand your contact list
When you are looking for an authority on a current topic that is big in social media, search for a person that falls outside of the ‘white male expert’ norm. Have a look at the All Male Tumblr blog; the event organisers who end up in there have short lists. This looks weird. It’s a good idea to add experts to your list before you even think about hosting an event. If you don’t, you may end up using the same old people as always. New perspectives and new experiences will enhance your stories and events.
7) Analyse your messages you share online
If your job is to share messages and communicate online, you need to analyse and discuss how your message will be perceived. It still seems to be the case that a lot of ads, articles and social media posts that are being put together without anyone thinking twice about how their brand comes across.
To be part of the modern world on social media, you need to put on your ‘diversity hat’, think, discuss and analyse and discuss again. If you are doing this for the first time it should feel uncomfortable; this is because your brain is building new neurons and pathways. It hurts to pave the way for new connections in the brain, but when they’re there it feels awesome.
Image from Wikipedia.