The creation of a conscious and positive alternative to current mainstream media is something that UPLIFT is dedicated to and, fortunately, other organisations have also taken up the cause. UPLIFT writer, Jacob Devaney, catches up with our friends at Collective Evolution to discuss the recent launch of their online news channel, CE News, and to talk about the power of Social Media.
Stories rule our world, they shape our beliefs, and they power our imagination. Facebook started in 2004, Youtube in 2005, and Twitter in 2006. With the birth of social media came an unprecedented explosion of content-creators, distribution networks, and communities. The popular Collective Evolution blog and Facebook Community has been one of the leaders in this emerging paradigm and in this article you will get to look behind the scenes in a rare interview with the founder, Joe Martino, and his partner, Ra Jie.
The ways people receive their news has changed more in the past decade than it did in the previous 5 decades. This democratization of media has allowed diverse perspectives, and collaborative stories to bubble from the ground up, instead of the traditional top-down format. One thing that makes social media different than traditional media is community involvement. The life of an article or video, and it’s distribution, relies solely on people like me and you. When a content-creator strikes a chord with their audience, it will be shared far and wide. If it is poorly produced, lacking integrity, irrelevant, or uninteresting, then it will have a short life and little exposure.
This means that media consumers have more power than ever. It also means that successful social media organizations need to be consistent at resonating with their audience. Mainstream corporate media is often forced to cover stories that they may prefer ignoring, if social media demands it. Indeed, there will be no putting this genie back into the bottle!
An Interview with Joe Martino and Ra Jie of Collective Evolution
Jacob: We all know that humans are wired to respond to shocking, hysterical news. That’s why this type of news coverage gets good ratings for mainstream media, however, we also know that we need to allow our brains to be receptive to solutions instead of panic. How could a CE News platform address this while making their reporting relevant?
Joe Martino: ‘If it bleeds, it leads’. That’s the typical phrase used in the traditional newsroom setting. Firstly, it’s true, the shocking or ‘oh my God’ factor to stories does get more eye-balls, but who are those eyes-balls for? Corporate media must appease their advertising contacts by getting the most viewers. So their reasoning for shocking stories is for their sponsors first and the community second. Their content is also shaped by their shareholders, as well as the interests of their directors/owners, which is a whole other story.
Ra Jie: Collective Evolution News doesn’t have that problem as we don’t seek ratings in the same way. Sure, we need to pay our bills too, but instead of going for the shock factor, we go with that people truly want… And although sometimes it seems people want the shock factor more, times are changing, and so is what people want.
Joe Martino: We’ve been around 7 years and we’re still here, so the people must be resonating with an alternative to traditional perspectives. Collective Evolution News strives to have a ‘zoomed’ out perspective by bringing in voices from various individuals coming from diverse backgrounds, almost like a council if you will. These people are experts, whistleblowers, insiders, and those with conscious minds – they have their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening at a deeper level.
We have been, and will continue to, tell news from a mindful and conscious perspective where there is no judgment or shock-effect. Events happens and we see how we can maximize the lessons that can be learned from them, along with why it’s important for people and what truth is really going on behind the scenes. Every event is an opportunity for growth, and we simply intend to keep reminding our audience of this. So, much like what you are doing with UPLIFT, we consider our coverage and commentary to be solutions-oriented, rather than shocking and divisive.
Alternative Success Stories
Jacob: Instead of the traditional competition model, many of these alternative networks cooperate together and develop ideas and trends collectively. What are some of your favorites?
Ra Jie: AJ+ does some great stuff, VOX, RT, Quartz, and Vice too. There is something unique about what they do and how it comes across, and there’s a ton of value in that. On the side of AJ+ and VOX, you see more of a daringness to tackle events in a different light, one that might seem a little more truthful and less politically biased. The stories are a bit more raw and revealing.
It makes you feel as if you are there as the story unfolds. This is the type of stuff that catches our eye. We’re inspired by some of these qualities and tend to incorporate these ideas and build on them; we like the the conscious perspective.
Joe Martino: Yes we ask a lot of questions like… There is a shift in global consciousness going on, how does that affect us? What do events mean in terms of that? What is going on in our world and who really runs it? How can we get out from under elite control? We’ll do this by connecting the dots, keeping the emotion out of it, and the judgment out as well.
Everyone is playing roles for one another and that’s important to remember. We want to help evolve the synchronized meditation movement, create connection among other alternative media outlets like we are doing with you folks at UPLIFT, and bring some heart into the news. We have partnerships with great organizations like the HeartMath Institute, Institute of Noetic Sciences, NOCA Clean Energy, and the Evolutionary Leaders Council; through these partnerships, we are bringing some amazing voices and content to the world.
Democracy in the Media Sphere
Jacob: This is what the democratization of the media looks like. Would you care to embellish on this idea?
Joe Martino: From a very technical point of view, people vote with their like, comment, share, and link click. Facebook puts stories with high engagement in front of more people, it’s that simple. So in a sense, as people connect with a story, they are saying “this is what we want others to see and what we want more of”. So long as publishers keep providing what people want, they will keep voting with their engagement.
Sometimes people might think that whatever pages put out there is what people will engage with, but it’s simply not true. We’ve seen trends completely change and what people love and share one day is not what they will share a few months later. You have to have your finger on the collective consciousness, the trends, and provide what you feel people will connect with and what will elevate their consciousness. People are smarter than traditional media gives them credit for, they know what needs to be changed in the world, and what they’d like to create more awareness about.
Going Social, and Staying Social
Jacob: Ra Jie, you have a diverse background in broadcast media and working with different networks…What made you want to focus more on social media, and how is that different?
Ra Jie: I think it really depends on the age of the audience, but more and more people are going online to get their news and information. Because people are so tuned into their phones these days, and there are so many people using Facebook, there’s a great opportunity to make a greater impact on people than traditional news and media has. I love that we are reaching milennials! Many of them already feel that Facebook is old news, so we are continuing to reach across platforms to keep up with our audience.
Jacob: At the end of the day, what makes you think that you won’t end up going down the same road that large corporate media outlets have gone down?
Joe Martino: Collective Evolution News is independent and will stay independent. We’ve built our audience and tone based on the passion to transform consciousness and we want to keep it that way. We haven’t, and won’t, work with companies who offer us big dollars to promote things we don’t believe in and we won’t even align strategically with companies we don’t agree with. We’ve had to turn these sorts of companies down already so it’s not like we’d suddenly jump ship on this value.
It’s no secret that every media and news publication requires money to operate, and we’re no different, but we’ve set up creative and effective ways to fund our work, and we have plans to implement sustainable business models based around similar philosophies once we get our newsroom rolling as well.
Jacob: Okay, what is an example of a recent news story that Collective Evolution was able to cover from a completely different perspective than mainstream media?
Joe Martino: (laughs) Brexit is a great example! I remember feeling very inspired to bring a different perspective to the dialogue. People were blaming anything and everyone for what happened, it was an all out war and not many seemed to be talking about the big picture. It was like people were all talking seriously about something where the variables and boundaries for conversation about the topic were pre-set.
The mainstream media had confined the conversation to a very narrow set of options and we blew that wide open by bringing a higher perspective of how things really function within politics. Independent bloggers like you (Jacob) and many others, have a major impact on people as they can start thinking about things differently and sharing that with their friends.
Soon enough the dialogue changes and suddenly we have shifts in public awareness. The first step in changing the policies, is to change the story, widen the dialogue. By changing the energy, or emotional tone (or tonelessness) of the entire conversation, we are shaping the actions people take as a result.