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PLease Surprise Someone

This is a good solid reminder that campaigns need to have an edge and surprise people if they are going to go viral. Seth's Blog.

Who surprises you?
* Greenpeace
* NRDC -polar bear work
* environmental defense (one they do well)
* anti-drug in canada
* def comedy jam jam
* Amnesty International -Not Happening Here but it is Happening Now

Seth keeps pushing ideas that spread win. How does each element of the campaign and materials spread the campaign and surprise the audience?

Are the campaigns and messages surprising? Unless you are buying ads on the super bowl you better have a strategy to go remarkable.


There's nothing wrong with not surprising people. In fact, most of the time, you don't want to surprise people. I don't want to be surprised when I use an electric drill, and I don't want to be surprised when they're doing surgery on me.
But if you want the word to spread, if you expect me to take action I've never taken before, it seems to me that you need to do something that hasn't been done before. It might not feel safe, but if you do the safe thing, I guarantee you won't surprise anyone. And if you don't surprise anyone, the word isn't going to spread.



Reflectors and Horns on a Horse:

The conflicting questions of organizers....

First, how do I build a better organization? How can I organize the constituents I care about? How can we reach into new corners of society to make them do what I want?

Second theme, where is all the new organizing power coming from? Why do old tactics not work? How does all this development in networks, network science, logistics, social software and human resource management apply to advocacy and social change? What are movements going to look like in 10 years?

The real issue comes down to how serious are the groups about creating new operations plan to jive with the second theme if it is going to interfere with the basic strategy that makes them ask the first set of questions. For some they are just interested in adding bells and whistles to what they already have (like people that put reflectors and horn on a horse so that it can travel on the street) but for many they are interested in the new options and models for organizing.

Many social movements are inept at creating change because they are fractured, disorganized, and self-defeating. Some of this infighting is because of genuine conflicts over policy but a large percentage of it is because of lack of coordination and the very real self-created competition for media, donors, members and attention. Competition often created by the need “to feed” the institutions. the institutions which by the nature design groups, visions and leaders to diverge and disconnect from each other. Structure drives process. The structures we create to organize power for social change dictates the process our leaders can use and ultimately the outcomes we can achieve.

We must stop only building and reinforcing structures that do not serve to connect people of the movement. We must invest in network strategies and network based tools, teams, staff, process innovation and network management. There is no simple way to get from here to there. We don't want to be the ones with horns and reflectors on our horses.


Genocide Networks: International Strategies to Interfere with Genocide Dynamics

Here is an interesting paper from Tom Glaisyer, one of our new staff members thinking about the role of networks in peace and international organizing.

...social computing tools have an important potential to transform many more people into interested parties taking action against genocide.Because it will be impossible to ignore their individual actions or the combined political pressure that they can generate, positive actions to intervene will be taken.

...In order to have a substantial impact on the creation of an effective genocide prevention system, the new technological tools must be integrated such that they create and substantiate personal relationships.


Nice work Tom.


TomPaine.com - Armchair Activism That Works

Link: TomPaine.com - Armchair Activism That Works.

Armchair Activism That Works Martin Kearns and Jonathan Schwarz February 02, 2007

One of the most remarkable, unexpected developments of the Internet has been the explosive growth of Wikipedia . At first glance, the Wikipedia concept—that thousands upon thousands of volunteers working with little central supervision can create a huge databank of accurate information—seems untenable. And yet the Wikipedia bumblebee flies anyway. While not flawless, Wikipedia has become an invaluable resource, with detailed articles on everything from arithmetic to geodesy to the movie "Zoolander."

Thanks to TomPaine for the exposure and Jonathan for helping it make sense.


Congressional Web Site Investigation Project

There are lots of reasons I Love Sunlight labs. Here is a great example opf a network-centric approach to engaging an audience in an issue. I hope they blog on the data and success of the research.

Go to work. It only takes a few minutes and was really informative. It worked well in Firefox.

Sunlight Labs: Congressional Web Site Investigation Project.

Welcome, Citizen Journalist The Sunlight Foundation needs you to research congressional Web sites!

Though no law requires them to do so, members of Congress maintain official Web sites at taxpayer expense to provide their constituents and the general public with relevant information about their work in Washington on our behalf.

Do these Web sites cut through the bewildering array of information available online about the Legislative Branch, making it easier for you to find relevant information about a member’s official acts and publicly required disclosures? Do they contribute to government transparency?

The Sunlight Foundation asks you to exercise citizen oversight and find out if we are getting our money’s worth from these congressional Web sites.


There are lots of reasons I Love Sunlight labs. Here is a great example of a network-centric approach to engaging an audience in an issue. I hope they blog on the data and success of the research.

Go to work. It only takes a few minutes and was really informative. It worked well in Firefox.

Sunlight Labs: Congressional Web Site Investigation Project.

Welcome, Citizen Journalist The Sunlight Foundation needs you to research congressional Web sites!

Though no law requires them to do so, members of Congress maintain official Web sites at taxpayer expense to provide their constituents and the general public with relevant information about their work in Washington on our behalf.

Do these Web sites cut through the bewildering array of information available online about the Legislative Branch, making it easier for you to find relevant information about a member’s official acts and publicly required disclosures? Do they contribute to government transparency?

The Sunlight Foundation asks you to exercise citizen oversight and find out if we are getting our money’s worth from these congressional Web sites.



Polar Bears, Visuals and Move Forward

Frank Luntz... pointers to the movement on Grist.


"Polar bears -- they're this generation's spotted owl. They're the previous generation's bald eagle. Another animal that people can see, one that they have a soft side for, and the animal, the species, is under threat.

show people, when it's visual, when they can see it. ... the same story that people can see. They gotta see it, not just hear it or read about it.

Have a plan for a solution that is embracing rather than divisive. It's not enough to complain and rant. The No. 1 thing is to have a solution for the problems that they identify. "

Continue to be mean to Frank. That strategy is working! Screw you Luntz.

I tend to disagree with his recommendations.

The owl and polar bears are not connected to people's lives. (eagle is not the same). I would think that the reason environmentalists get marginalized so easily is that we are not connecting with enough of the population. Protecting polar bears is never going to be a front burner issue.

Gas, security, toxics, autism, asthma, cancer are the issues that drive people to think about our environmental policy. weather screwing up their houses and scarring them about the future for their children is real.

Working with the sick, cleaning up pollution and stopping the threats to children are the bread and butter of the movement. The regular issues build the base to connect to larger issues like global warming. Global warming is real to lots of people. they see it and feel it. Global warming legislation is OK but if I had the Majority I would start tightening pollution regulations, protect green space, fight air pollution and river pollution for families. Clean and sustainable anergy so our kids are not fighting in the middle east for the next 50 years.

I would be investigating the rise in autism, look for the environmental conditions that exacerbate asthma. We kicked smoking out of our cities. We can tighten all kinds of car pollution by focusing on the direct affects to people in the traffic and those that live in major cities.

i would not want to frame another owl fight. I would not want to use images of far of places. I want you and your family connected directly with my work. I am environmentalist and I work for you.