A sub-genre of digital documentaries that has emerged during the last decade is far more intertwined with creating and circulating content on the internet than traditional, linear formats. New-media apparatus enables i-doc makers to devise open, participatory, and flexible engagements with users. This chapter discusses how social impact can be designed for i-docs beyond the metrics of the profit-based web industry. By placing ourselves at the margins of this dominant discourse, we try to problematize and decolonize it by offering other approaches based on community engagement, personal narratives, and practice-based artistic research. Several community-designed i-docs challenge the hegemony of high-tech and maker-driven impact design. Instead, they offer strategies and best practices that involve co-creation and decision-making by adopting a longer-term impact-making process.
We believe that a model for mapping Impact for i-docs should be grounded in deep listening, reflexivity, and real-world transformations rather than merely on impact metrics such as views, downloads, or shares of a final media product. Our proposal is to consider a model to assess and analyze the impact of i-docs based on the experiences of and interactions between communities, authors, and audiences that want to engage with it. “Impact-as-a-Process” is an open framework that can be adapted to encourage i-docs impact plans and scholarship that strives to be polyphonic, participative, and community-focused.