Editor’s Note: ‘Tis the trendy season for trends, to reflect on 2014 and to make bold predictions about what next year may hold. This year, we asked thought leaders to share their outlooks on education, but with a twist. They have to frame their thoughts as a response to some of the finest college application essay prompts--yes, the very same ones that high school seniors are feverishly working on now!
Here’s what SoulPancake had to say.
Here at SoulPancake we make positive and uplifting content that makes you feel something. We want to be the ones to give you that burning feeling inside your chest. A feeling that makes you look at things differently and talk about things that are on your mind but feel too “taboo” to bring up in conversations. Things like why we fall in love, what happens when you die, what makes us happy, and even why we gossip. Our content teaches me a lot about myself and the world around me--and we are constantly flooded with messages from our audience that it affects them the same way.
One of my favorite things is to hear messages from students and teachers that use our videos in their classroom, and we’ve been fortunate to see this first hand. Students laugh, they sometimes cry, and if we’re doing our job right they always learn something. The idea that educational content, in whatever form, is “boring” is totally backwards and not true. I think at SoulPancake we’ve done a remarkable job of proving this by building a community of people that all want to make and digest things that teach them something and make a positive impact in the world.
One example is with Kid President’s Socktober campaign. The idea of the campaign is simple--to call the month of October “Socktober” as a way to encourage and inspire young people to give back to the homeless--which can be as simple as donating a pair of socks. An idea dreamed up by Kid President creator Brad Montague, Socktober is a way to raise awareness about homelessness and empower young people to recognize that giving back can be simple: no matter how old you are, you can make a difference in the world. The result was incredible--we received over 10,000 pieces of content that our community created with their schools, classrooms, or families, showing how they gave back. Seeing these videos and photos was a reminder that we can all work together and use the internet to make the world a better place.
I was drawn to SoulPancake because they weren’t afraid to be different. Although all of the content we make is stuff that matters, a lot of it also has a good sense of humor and tries not to take itself too seriously. We believe that stories have the ability to change the world. They can make you see things differently, understand things in a new way and provide insight into larger issues our world faces. Too often in entertainment, conversations around making content are rooted in what’s going to sell, and it weighs you down. We have so many people who come in and meet with us with ideas that were “too feel good” for a traditional network, which always confuses me--doesn’t everyone want to feel good?!
I’m definitely here and not somewhere else because of the mission of the company and the people here that work tirelessly to help make that mission a reality. Each member of our team will do whatever they can and work all hours of the day and night to make something as good as it can be. With every video that we decide to make we ask each other, “Why are we doing this?” and “What are you going to feel or take away after you watch this?” I’m constantly inspired by our team, audience, and community that pushes us to take this idea further and further with everything we make.