Social Media, Social Change: Meet Matt Scott

For SecondMuse digital storyteller Matt Scott, “social impact” has a double meaning. Not only does he have a background in driving impact on social media for non-profits and fortune 100 companies; he also has a tireless love of social impact for the sake of social progress. At SecondMuse, Matt‘s passions converge. Today, this communications strategist shares his journey to discovering the magic of digital storytelling and what he’s learned on the road to his current work.
1) How did you first get interested in digital storytelling?

I first developed an interest in digital storytelling when I found that it was, really, at the crossroads of social media and social change. Social media is connecting people like never before and one powerful use of this newfound connection is to change the world around us for the better. I had the opportunity to witness and even work with organizations that were revolutionizing the role of digital in the lives of their audiences, whether coordinating thousands of educators to host education technology events in the classroom on Digital Learning Day or empowering sexual assault survivors to speak up and stand against sexual violence. Seeing this work and being part of some of it, I learned that the potential of digital storytelling is endless and I’ve truly fallen in love with it.

2) How have you used social media for social good?

Social media has the power to give a voice to the voiceless. I use social media for social good by helping a variety of brands with impactful messages be heard. This began when I was part of Students Against Sexual Assault at George Washington University and we used campaigns to spread awareness. Since then, my work with social media has vastly expanded into the realm of digital advocacy, whether pushing education reform in the support of the graduation rate, driving digital music streaming services to provide royalties to pre-1972 artists, or creating awareness among young people of the alternatives to drinking. With each of these causes, I’ve been able to elevate the perspectives of the people behind each issue, in their own words. That’s truly the core of the work I do— taking a brand’s digital megaphone and handing it over to someone who can speak to why the brand does the work it does. Recently, I had the opportunity to do just that for NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge, where I became a roving on the ground in New York City, having conversations and capturing videos that I could share with the world.

Matt joined hackathon participants at NASA’s Space Apps Challenge event in Brooklyn, N.Y. in April 2016.

3) As mentioned, you attended George Washington University. What part of your academic career had the most impact on you?

Interestingly enough, the part of my academic career that had the biggest impact on me was the work I did extracurricularly. In the classroom, business, marketing, creative writing, and communications courses did greatly resonate with me. Being in the heart of Washington, DC, however, GW provides such a rich experience to students that goes beyond the books and this is where I really learned the lessons I’ll never forget. Internships, on-campus and off-campus jobs, student organizations, and the people I met along my journey in all of those capacities gave me diverse experiences personally and professionally before I even walked across stage on graduation day. Most of all, though, I learned that I had the ability to accomplish whatever I set my mind to and I learned that the words “never” and “can’t” are best when extinct from our vocabularies.

4) SecondMuse is a 100% distributed company, meaning we work remotely. What do you think about working virtually? 

Collaboration is at the core of the work SecondMuse does and that is what makes working virtually so rewarding. Whether or not I’m sitting down with team members in-person, at SecondMuse, I am constantly working hand-in-hand with everyone on our team. Best of all, we all bring such diverse skills and experiences to the table that I’m constantly picking up on and learning from as we work together. I’ve realized that collaboration and communication shape relationships and results, not physical proximity.

Davar Ardalan

About Davar Ardalan

Davar Ardalan is the Director of Storytelling and Engagement at SecondMuse. As a veteran journalist and former social media strategist at NPR News in Washington D.C., Ardalan lead dozens of real-time engagement campaigns to great impact. Most recently she was the Senior Producer and Social Media Strategist for NPR’s Identity and Culture Unit, traveling across the country producing live events and moderating Twitter chats on some of the most critical issues of the day including community and policing, voting rights, education, and immigration. She has cultivated thought leaders across platforms, generating millions of impressions across the globe via Twitter and an even more impressive level of response domestically. Ardalan has also worked as a Supervising Producer for Morning Edition where she helped shape the daily newsmagazine, and was responsible for decisions that required elaborate coordination such as broadcasts from Baghdad, Kabul and New Orleans. Through the years, her public radio productions have been recognized with two NABJ Awards and a Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio and Television. She began her radio career as a reporter in 1991 at KUNM in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ardalan is the mother of four and lives outside Annapolis, Maryland. In May 2014, she was the recipient of an Ellis Island Medal of Honor, for individual achievement and for promoting cultural unity.

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