March 11, 2015 | Category: Blog, Resources | Author:

Weekly roundup: The word “amplify”

“AND HOLLAND HAS TULIPS”: Through a series of gorgeous photos, videos, audio clips and journal entries, photographer Lani Holmberg tells the story of her cousin Alyssa, a young woman with Down Syndrome. Visit the project website (it may take a minute to load) and you might just find your assumptions about people with disabilities challenged as the story takes an unexpected turn. The story takes about 15 minutes to watch and read. The project title is inspired by a 1987 essay called “Welcome to Holland,” in which author Emily Perl Kingsley says that having a child with a disability, when you didn’t expect it, is like getting on a plane to go to Italy but arriving in Holland instead. “It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy,” she writes. “But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.”

CAN WE PLEASE STOP USING THE WORD “AMPLIFY”?: How often have you read or written the word amplify in relation to nonprofit communications? Amplify your voice. Amplify your mission. Amplify your impact. Amplify your message. It’s a loud enough world out there as it is without more amplification. Now, it’s true, some people’s voices aren’t heard by the powers-that-be; they are politically powerless or don’t have access to megaphones–literal or figurative–that would make them heard. I’m all for “amplifying” their voices, but, alas, the word amplify has been so overused that it’s hard to write it without sounding cliche and turning people off. Or at least turning me off! But worse still, the word amplify is often used when higher volume is not what’s called for at all. When doing nonprofit communications, just as often you need to direct your stories towards a particular audience, whisper your stories so as to draw people in, or listen to your constituents’ stories so as to build consensus.

“STORY AND SOUND” WORKSHOP: The Center for Digital Storytelling is offering 2-day workshops on producing audio stories; they happen in Berkeley, California in May, October and December of this year, and cost $450 per person. Read more on the organization’s website.