Social media content creators from Eastern Europe and Central Asia covering socially relevant topics came together October 4-6 in Vilnius for the first ever BumpUp!—three days of intensive networking, experience sharing, workshops and discussions among creators with rapidly expanding audiences on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Telegram and Twitter.
Participants came from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan to talk trends, new language and storytelling, ethics and media literacy, monetisation, visual communication, and much more.
With dedicated and growing audiences in their countries, they are among the most influential voices promoting ecology, education, rule of law, culture, science, gender issues, and other socio-political themes. They work on the most popular social platforms and know how to present complex information in an entertaining and engaging way.
Kazakhstani journalist Jamilya Maricheva shared her experience creating the ProTenge Instagram project, which tracks state spending and corruption and has racked up nearly 100,000 followers.
On his YouTube channel, Ismail Djalilov discusses news, politics and current events in Eurasia. The channel is trilingual—Azerbaijani, Russian, English. It mostly features in-depth, long-form interviews with politicians, commentators, public figures from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine. His videos regularly get hundreds of thousands of views.
A former sports journalist, Dmitry Dubovitsky, is another of the pioneers of Kazakhstan’s alternative media scene. His YouTube project “They’re Coming After Us”, has over 320,000 subscribers. While his videos criticising the country’s politicians have sent the view counter whirling into the millions, he prefers to emphasise his coverage of topics that are difficult to discuss, including suicide, mental health, and other social issues not often or thoroughly covered in the media.
With so much talent in one place, it was inevitable that some creative colabs would start to germinate even before the event was over, and so they did. Stay tuned…