About The 2015 Digital Movement!


Hi, I’m Richard Gibson, Community Affairs Officer for HitsWorks Media Group (HMG), founded in Pacifica, CA.

As a proud father and grandfather, I am committed to ensuring that todays citizens as well as future generations of young thinkers learn to utilize social media outlets in the most productive, engaging and innovative ways.

SMOT Media Action House
SMOT Media Action House

Eighteen months ago HMG provided seed capital to create a pilot creative co-working space (now Doing Business As – SMOT). SMOT is an acronym for Social Media Onsite Training and is located on a 20-acre parcel of land in Rural Hall, North Carolina.

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That seed investment led to a collaboration with Authoring Action and the development of an innovative plan for I Can Change The World (#ICCTW) Campaign & Bridging The Abyss Youth Talk Show (A Social Media Training Apprenticeship).

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SMOT Media Action House has been developed to serve as an Online Neighborhood Talk Video Hub (ONTVHUB) and link between a network of smaller satellite (neighborhood) creative stations and mobile units. We intend to provide low-opportunity neighborhoods access to digital media production technology and training so youth can engage with the world online, experiment and create investigative neighborhood reports.


I Can Change The World (#ICCTW) Campaign is a national initiative with international relevance. #ICCTW was developed  in collaboration with Authoring Action, United Roots, For Youth International and Weefur Family Media to provide a fundraising  platform to provide training for middle and high school students in online media, film making, communications, remote business models, entrepreneurial workforce development and social media etiquette. College grads, High School age students and middle school age students will gain an understanding of the power, importance and the future of digital communications.

One of our goals is to teach low opportunity communities how to become competitive earners in the global digital age and to encourage them to learn to use video and the Internet more constructively, responsibly and with professional ethics.

The response here in North Carolina has been very encouraging!

Despite the progress we’ve made in less than two years, there is still a lot of work to be done and we need to keep the momentum going. We are calling on students, corporate sponsors, public figures, non- profits, the Winston Salem Chamber of Commerce and volunteers to help us demonstrate the power of social media marketing and collective action, by joining us in the #I Can Change The World Campaign.

In the Spring of 2015 SMOT is launching  a virtual college internship program. The virtual interns will work from remote locations to use social media to drive the I Can Change The World (#ICCTW) Campaign fundraiser  for twelve episodes of the “Bridging The Abyss” talk show and twelve months of media apprenticeship training at SMOT Media Action House. In addition, the campaign will involve students in the process of building a new website (ontalkvideo.com), expanding the SMOT Online Neighborhood Talk Video Hub (ONTVHUB), adding more production equipment and developing ONTV Technology Access Stations, as well as rolling out ONTV mobile units to be used for neighborhood shows, news and other fieldwork.

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On October 18, 2014 students and professionals gathered together for the long anticipated Fall Retreat at SMOT Media Action House and Retreat Space. Enthusiasm grew as attendees explored the grounds (nestled on a secluded twenty-acre parcel of land) and the audio/video production and editing studio.

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The morning got off to a great start with fun conversations and a delicious Continental Breakfast provided by Cecil and Shari Weefur of Weefur Family Media.


Later in the day, after the Workshops and filming the pilot for the teen talk show, Lynn Rhodes Executive Director of Authoring Action provided us a with a tasty Mexican themed lunch.

This retreat was the Spring Board for developing a formal structure that allows and supports the kind of networking that gives rise to media programs and partnerships led by young leaders across the country.

The power of media and collective action was demonstrated. The retreat highlighted the impact of Collective Action and youth participatory media. The agenda was as follows:

Welcome and Introductions


Understanding the Civil Rights Act of 1964 & the role youth played

History & Power of media

How to unite resources through youth lead national and international networking (How to produce and market online media

The future of work

Authoring Action Youth’s thoughts on “Access” and “Future”.

Planning a Talk Show Pilot and Trailer (Preview)

Value Shield exercise

Closing Remarks & Evaluation


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During the orientation and overview of the day Alyson Baker (Educator) touched on today’s educational crisis and the fact that the “Waiting on Superman” strategy has been futile. She challenged the youth to look at online media as a possible solution for dealing with these issues by starting global networks of “Collective Action”.

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Richard Gibson, Community Affairs Officer of HitsWorks participated in an interview reflecting on the past struggles from Emmet Till, Brown vs. Board of education, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the role youth played. He challenged the youth to take a look at our current struggles from Travon Martin, Oscar Grant and Mike Brown and use these brutalities and senseless deaths to fuel the fire within themselves to join the campaign for long-term solutions.

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Cecil shared his life experiences in the United States in addition to his experiences growing up in Liberia and how the two experiences relate. Cecil also provided audio and video technical support.

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We conducted an open dialogue of how online media can play a role in our collaborations (Authoring Action, Team SMOT, Weefur Media, United Roots & Hack the Hood) working together.

The Value Shield exercise (workshop) offered participants the opportunity to identify personal strengths they did not know they possessed. The exercise brought awareness of the difficulty some people have even accepting compliments. Participants recognized the many and varied strengths of the group and the resources they possess. The participants recognized how much better things are when working in a positive environment. Last but not least Participants developed more trust in one another.

Shari facilitated a workshop entitled the Future of work as a remote professional. She talked about her job and how important it is to have good work ethics, which lead to success as a Solo Professional or Independent Contractor.

She also addressed the poverty issue and demonstrated how cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit of being self-employed and having a commitment to giving back to the community can be a possible solution.

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The retreat participants came prepared to discuss what “Access” and “Future” meant to them. Lead by Nathan Freeman creative Director of Authoring Action they shared their thoughts via songs and spoken word.

An outline for a sixty minute monthly show combining elements of a Radio Show (podcast), television style talk show and a video blog website was created. In addition to a recommendation that we collaborate with United Roots, Black Network TV and the Greensboro Men’s Club Foundation on a Knight Foundation Grant to develop and staff OnTalkVideo.com and ONTV Access Stations & Mobile Labs.

The participants expressed an interest in eventually producing the show as a live broadcast over the Internet. In order to bring this idea to fruition, an expansion and update to the facility, in addition to equipment up grades will be required.

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Dennis Pinckney, Media Specialist at Black Network Television (BNT) attended the Retreat. He made a presentation regarding his position at Black Network TV and talked about career opportunities behind the scenes of television and the future of online digital media.

Pinckney demonstrated the correct way to set up lighting in the SMOT studio for the teen YouTube video production. He also evaluated the potential of the ON TV production space. Pinckney identified basic studio priorities, i.e. set space, cameras, lighting and improved production capabilities.

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One of the desired outcomes is that the participants will start to focus on strategic leadership in global media production and distribution through the responsible use of online media.

Youth walked away knowing that with Collective Action they can help contribute more effectively to the fight against injustices, poverty and poor education.


The following includes a few dynamic Who’s Who leaders of the 2015 Digital Movement:



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