At EA Estonia, we focus a lot of our attention on high-fidelity communication methods, including long-form blog posts and podcast episodes, intense reading clubs and discussion group, and meeting with people for several hours of conversation every week as part of research projects.

Someone with great video skills and tools approached us recently with an offer to make short videos about EA. The idea is to make roughly 10 videos covering various EA-related topics in under 30 seconds. Maybe just one idea and a vivid example to illustrate it. The impetus for this is that short videos get shared widely and are easy to consume, and we might find very promising people who haven't heard of us yet.

Some ideas we currently have are the following:

  1. How did you first hear about EA and why is it important to you?
  2. What is effective altruism and how does it look like in practice?
  3. What conditions do farm animals live in and how to help them effectively?
  4. How can we donate money smartly? Share a few recommendations and examples.
  5. How can someone get involved with effective altruism? Share an example of a very successful activity or project.
  6. How important is it to take care of yourself when you want to help others? Share some recommendations for mental health.
  7. What are the best ways to increase your career capital so you could do even more good in the future?
  8. How to do more good in Estonia? What are the most promising projects Estonia needs?
  9. Why is it important to try to reduce existential risks? What can humanity actually do for that?
  10. How to think like a scientist and how can that help us do more good?

So my main question to you is, what mistakes should we avoid here to make sure that wrong ideas about EA don't spread? Is it even a good idea to make these videos? In addition, do you have other ideas for videos?


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Considering this, I think the videos being short may have some risks, I have some suggestions.

Ideally, I think the videos should explain things at least as good as this, with really nice graphics like this or simple ones like this to increase attention, subtitles in different languages (when appropriate), and use analogies for simpler communication.

Some considerations and questions:

  1. Long-form content trumps short form due to clarity, and increased fidelity, so the videos should be somewhat long 3 to 15 mins.
  2. How will this compare to other kinds of educational outreach? Blogs, University tables, local groups?

Addendum #1: according to the 2018 EA survey, most people got introduced to effective altruism through media like books and blogs.

#2 Translating material would be easier because of subtitles.

Short videos and the fidelity model.

There are four components of the fidelity model

Breadth: How many ideas can you explore?

Depth: How much nuance can you add to the ideas?

Environment: Will the audience be in an environment that is conducive to updating their opinions?

Feedback: Can you adapt your message over time to improve its fidelity?

While Depth and Breadth won’t be a problem for the venue if the videos are long enough, Environment and Feedback may cause some problems.

I’m uncertain about what percentage of viewers use YT and/or Facebook videos educationally, and about the extent to which they update their beliefs by them.

Concerning Feedback, my intuition is that YT comments are somewhat more hostile than other platforms (i.e. blogs, specific websites). I also think that there is a direct relationship between length and (intellectual/informative) engagement.

Although, you could make video versions of conceptually-like articles. Which are quite short. But I suppose the difference is that it is not aimed at the general population at large, at least not to the extent of regular short videos I've seen before.