Shorouk Essam, Hadeel Adel and Katherine Tan
The mission at Humans of Harmony is to create an alternative media platform that tells stories of diversity and justice, empowerment and peace building in both the United States and Egypt, using digital content and social media campaigns that engage the audience as participants.
Humans of Harmony provides an alternative to traditional media narratives that perpetuate stereotypes in both countries. It challenges misconceptions by highlighting human stories that will make you smile, cry, think deeply, and even take action to improve the status quo. Humans
of Harmony utilizes social media thoughtfully to engage the audience and promote constructive dialogue that breaks through echo chambers.
Humans of Harmony is an internet media platform (to feature a YouTube channel, a Facebook page and a Website/Blog) that publishes digital videos and other content, featuring authentic citizen-centered stories in Egypt and the United States which seek to promote the exchange of ideas and human narratives.
To generate buzz for the project and fuel the crowdfunding campaign, Humans of Harmony will first produce several 1-2 minute iPhone-shot #AskanEgyptian and #AskanAmerican “promo videos.” These videos will be “guerilla style” by intention, with sporadic and minimal production to convey spontaneity. The media will be spread on the Humans of Harmony social media channels, alongside a hashtag campaign, to generate interest in the platform and raise crowd funds.
The first batch of content will be produced by the Gabr Fellows team and videographers, consisting of 5-10 minute mini-documentary segments, that juxtapose one Egyptian story with one American story on the same topic and putting the 2 experiences into dialogue. Stories will highlight topics relating to the common human themes: Diversity and Justice, Empowerment and Peacebuilding.
Once the first batch of 6 videos have been published (2 for each theme), the second phase will be to utilize viewer engagement, create more content and facilitate dialogue. Viewers will be invited to submit reactions to the videos by creating their own content (blog posts, photos, videos), which may be published on both the Humans of Harmony and the Gabr Foundation websites, the content of which will be vetted.
- Create an alternative social media platform that tells stories of diversity and justice, empowerment and peace-building in the US and Egypt, highlighting stories that counteract traditional stereotypes perpetuated by the media
- Through interactivity, Humans of Harmony will promote audience engagement with the content, and promote constructive dialogue between the East and West, using the tools of new media
The “social media generation” – young people aged between 15-35, in Egypt, the United States, and around the world.
Phase 1: Creating the project Identity & Branding (3 months):
Create a logo, Facebook account, YouTube channel and a Website/Blog; create, publish and promote “promo videos” shot with iPhone cameras, take questions posed from Egyptians to Americans and those from Americans to Egyptians “to the streets”, and launch crowd funding campaigns in the United States.
Phase 2: Production Part 1 - Team-Produced Video Content (6 - 9 months – approx. 1 video per month):
Humans of Harmony plans to locate/identify stories and individuals and develop interview scripts for each episode/mini-documentary, splicing together interviews and “day in a life” footage. One story from Egypt and one story from the United States will approach each theme (Diversity and Justice, Empowerment and Peacebuilding). One videographer/film producer will be hired in each location; videos (interview and B roll) will be shot in Egypt and the United States; editing and post-production will be carried out and videos will be published and promoted on social media channels and via partners.
Phase 3: Production Part 2 - Audience Engagement:
The project will gradually transition into a more audience-driven platform, with continued moderation and newly produced content. An audience engagement strategy will be developed, user reactions to video content will be solicited and filtered, opportunities will be created for viewers to communicate with and pose questions to individuals highlighted in videos, and audience engagement will be monitored via Google Analytics.
- Gaining a greater understanding of challenging topics relating to Egypt and the United States
- More authentic “human narratives” reaching young people, to enrich and counter the shallow narratives they may currently observe
Furthering the Foundation’s Mission
Humans of Harmony furthers the Foundation’s mission by engaging young people in Egypt and the United States with real stories that relate to their own lives, and encourages them to look past stereotypes, think deeply about current cultural issues and engage in dialogue. One videographer/film producer will be hired in each location; videos (interview and B roll) will be shot in Egypt and the United States; editing and post production will be carried out, and videos will be published and promoted on social media channels and via partners.