Contextual Research: Theme – Social Responsibility

The theme that I’d like to focus on throughout my work is ‘raising awareness’ to implement ‘social responsibility’ using the current global, environmental issue of plastic as an invasive material in the ocean. 

What is social responsibility? 

“Social responsibility is an ethical theory, in which individuals are accountable for fulfilling their civic duty; the actions of an individual must benefit the whole of society” (Social Responsibility, 2018).

Social responsibility can be applied in the singular and plural; for an individual or group of people to be aware of what is right and wrong within their community and to implement these actions into daily life (Social Responsibility, 2018). When someone is socially aware, they are taking a personal stance towards keeping their community and environment safe.

In the case of my studio project, I want to centre my campaign around the notion of social responsibility by making it an interactive experience. I want to use social media to target a young adult audience using image and video – the language of the youth – to gain awareness and, in turn, action.

Why use social media as a campaign/marketing platform? 

It has become a popular option for businesses to target younger audiences through social media. Although television is not an outdated media, the ‘millennial’ and ‘Z’ generations (ages 18 – 30) are predominantly engaged in online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter (Virtual Social Media, 2015), using personal devices such as phones and laptops. Younger audiences are now far more technologically savvy than ever, making it easier for businesses to use social media as a fast way of making their product or message ‘viral’.

Not all social media platforms are used in the same way or by the same demographics. It is important to think of how I want my campaign to be read and used to match it with the correct social media. According to recent statistics, the most popular social media platforms amongst U.S young adults are YouTube and Facebook. Photo-sharing platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have increasing popularity too (Anderson, M. & Smith, A. 2018).

This is because visual languages such as image and short video clips or gifs/animations can capture our short attention spans in this fast-paced information age. Images should be of a high enough quality to gain recognition, be easily read and spark interaction (Virtual Social Media, 2015).

Now it is important to understand how young adults are using the most popular platforms. Facebook is used for an array of things from liking, commenting and sharing on posts, reading and watching newsfeeds and chatting with added friends. YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google and is used for watching or uploading video content (Moreau, E. 2018). Instagram and Snapchat are photo-sharing platforms while Twitter serves as an interactive newsfeed.

In 2016, WWF hopped on the emoji craze bandwagon, using Twitter to promote the hashtag #endangeredemoji. The idea was to reach a younger audience by making 17 animal emoji’s of endangered species that Twitter users could post on their feeds and donate money to saving them (Boyd, C 2017).

To bring this research into my own studio practice, I need to start thinking of how to create a campaign that will raise awareness to my issue (plastic in the ocean) and evoke social responsibility as a result.

Reference list:

Anderson, M. Smith, A. (2018). Social Media Use in 2018. Retrieved from:

Boyd, C. (2017).10 Outstanding Social Media Campaigns You Need to See. Retrieved From:

Pachamama Alliance. (2018). Retrieved from:

Moreau, E. (2018). The Top Social Networking Sites People are Using. Retrieved from:

Virtual Social Media. (2015). Social Media Strategy: How to Target Younger Audience. Retrieved from:



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