We aim to normalize a culture of civic engagement and political activism. We believe the best way we can do this is to help people understand the causes that move and affect them, as well as how they themselves can create meaningful, positive change. To that end, we create helpful explainers and summarize action proposals, as well as interview everyday citizens who have taken the initiative to change the world around them for the better.
Healthy democracies require an informed and engaged population. We've reached a point where the mechanisms we've developed to support our information habit are so loud and numerous that they saturate our lives, paradoxically reducing our engagement and participation as democratic citizens of our republic.
Admittedly, it took the election of a completely incompetent and possibly maniacal cartoon to our highest political office for most of us to realize how bad it's actually gotten. Now that the limits of our democracy are tested multiple times a day, it's finally become real enough for the majority of us to understand that no one is going to fix this for us.
It's no less difficult, however, to understand where to start.
CONSPOT is a media platform we created to empower worried, restless citizens, who, like ourselves, are unused to exercising their own power, with tools and concrete action paths they can use to effect constructive change on the world around them, on a topic-by-topic basis.
We see a world where setting aside time to take civic or political action is as normal to the average citizen as reserving time to binge-watch your favorite series or go to the gym -- just something else we throw on our calendars regularly, and not something reserved only for our high-strung goody-two-shoe friends (though they make great partners in this, btw, so show them some love, too).
The project was born out of a series of conversations between Alex Mell-Taylor and Arty Rivera. When we met, Alex was exploring his interest in YouTubing, and Arty pointed out that he should start a channel on politics, since he rarely shut up about them and clearly needed some sort of constructive outlet.
Alex has a political science background, and worked in the trenches of political fundraising, and Arty has a background in product and user experience design and branding, and had worked in the news space before, so we worked out well as a team.
We got right to work, spent $200 on Amazon to buy a good-enough camcorder, and a janky lighting-and-green screen setup for Alex's then-shitty apartment's roach-infested den. Alex got to writing and practicing scripts and figuring out how to use Final Cut, and Arty got to figuring out camera lighting and aggressively teaching Alex how to use a comb.
As it happens, we fell in love with each other along the way and got married, which is super great, and going well, thank you.
Ultimately, it came down to us asking ourselves the same questions we now ask others: "what can we do?"
What we perceived was that despite the fact that there was a lot of information out there, people were disengaging.
Sadly, this made sense because that's what happens when you're given a bunch of scary and/or complex information without a way to deal with it. If we can't do anything with it, then the news, and, therefore, the world, just becomes something that happens to you, rather than something that you become used to changing, nudging and helping to improve.
We wanted to flip the script and get ourselves and others into that second mental space, and, so far, this is the best answer we've found.
We hope you'll join us on this mission, whether it's by making suggestions to the Action Directory, trying your hand at writing or creating content with us, like the collabs we do via Live From My Couch, or by helping us out and becoming a patron (regular donor) via Patreon.
We've got a long way to go, but many hands make lighter work, so we genuinely hope you'll join us.