Zofia Świerczyńska, Content section’s volunteer, spoke with Michał Koza, who coordinates WYD’s social media channels.
Zofia Świerczyńska: How useful is social media regarding World Youth Day, which is currently being organized in Krakow?
Michał Koza: I think that without social media, far fewer people would learn about World Youth Day. Nowadays, we typically use social media for several hours every day. Social media also naturally appeals to the event’s target audience – the youth. It is the younger generation who better understands how modern media works. This requires us to increase the awareness of how young people acquire information today. We have to look for new channels and take advantage of them. We are not just talking about Facebook, but also about many other types of social media.
There are news, videos, audio, and also photos. Where can we go and what can we do to find more information about World Youth Day?
MK: When it comes to social media, Facebook is of course the most extensive platform. Both in our country and around the world, it is the most popular. The widest range of materials appear there – news, photos, and video – but also information about what we do and how we work. You can share questions, make posts, and link to the official WYD website. That is what Facebook does best.
When it comes to other media, the situation is a little bit different because they have varied specialties and are quite diverse. It looks slightly different in each country. For example, Twitteris not as popular as Facebook in Poland, but it is still a broad international communication channel. You only need to insert a hashtag, and when you click on it, you will see all posts from all over the world that are related to this hashtag. So Twitter is a primarily an informational channel.
WYD has alsoInstagram account, and there I have noticed clear division in generational use. Facebook users are older, but Instagram is used by a vast majority by young people. On Instagram, we deal with “image culture”; we upload photos and the text is less important.
There are also other media which are less known, and they are used mostly by people from outside Poland. One example is Pinterest, which is particularly suitable for context with an extensive visual sphere. I have noticed that people who want to come to World Youth Day in Krakow create albums about places they would like to visit. They do it, so why wouldn’t we as well? Because we live here, we can show them interesting things and they can benefit from this. That creates communication between us. I have noticed a visible disproportion between people from Poland, where this medium isn’t popular, and people from abroad. International people often use such way of collecting information and I am positively surprised.
Another media isAsk.fm, a platform to ask questions. You can ask us questions and the answers will be made public so others can also use them. We also have a YouTube channel, where we create playlists, channels and material that we want others to see. Finally, there is also Foursquare, which provides information about places to visit. As a community of WYD, we can create lists of things you should see, including churches, cafes, etc.
ZS: Why does WYD use so much social media?
MK: Social Media is subject to constant change and very dynamic processes. Soon, I think even more people will use media like Twitter or Foursquare. We have to be prepared and think ahead, and thus we use so many different channels. Right now our main purpose is to fill these mediums with interesting content and set up ways of moving forward. Through social media, we can help pilgrims feel oriented in Krakow even before they arrive. In addition to mere communication, these media give people the opportunity to prepare for the upcoming experiences during the actual event.
ZS: World Youth Day is moving closer every day. Can we expect something new concerning the presence on social media?
MK: We are planning campaigns that will constantly “amp up” the atmosphere and anticipation. For example, we will organize different events on Facebook. There will also be more going on with the organizing committee, and social media will provide an opportunity for us to present our work in an interesting way.
ZS: So it is worth it to stay up-to-date?
MK: Yes! It is worth it to stay updated and to be set on fire by the topics and the already positive dynamic before WYD. If one uses social media properly, one does not only get more information, but also has fun! For example, I recently put up a photo of an icon of John Paul II that is hanging in our office, and it created many positive reactions. This gives a great amount of satisfaction and the feeling that, thanks to the people using social media, WYD in Krakow indeed already starts today.
We invite you to check out our social media:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/swiatowydzienmlodziezy
Twitter – www.twitter.com/wyd_en
Pinterest – www.pinterest.com/wydkrakow2016/
Instagram – www.instagram.com/WYDKrakow2016/
Foursquare – www.foursquare.com/sdm_pl
Ask.fm – www.ask.fm/Krakow2016
SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/krakow2016
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/company/światowe-dni-młodzieży-kraków-2016
Google+ – www.google.com/+Krakow2016
YouTube – www.youtube.com/user/Krakow2016
Flickr – www.flickr.com/photos/krakow2016/
About.me – https://about.me/worldyouthday