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October 2009
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January 2010

Data Driven Campaigns

Data at work in a defined context. Our movements need to really connect and track data and contribute to community and allies understanding of the data.  Time from 7:30 to 8:40 is amazing on the evolution of data enhancements and traffic mapping of engagement with the voters. 

Important ideas in any organizing context...

  1. combined data creates new insights and "synthetic" data based on hard data.  By collecting data and sharing the data, it is possible to create new actionable data pools.
  2. Carefully targeting allows movements to find new niches and audiences.
  3. Careful targeting requires data sharing. 
  4. Syndicating data access can help drive new levels of power to all that have access to that data. Access to data is scalable. 

This is a great presentation on the power of data. We need to continue to step up the tools and techniques that are available to allies working together on issues.

I'd rather have people grow out of our products, as long as more people are growing into them

We keep our products simple. I'd rather have people grow out of our products, as long as more people are growing into them.   The Way I Work: Jason Fried of 37Signals

Man. Wow… that is a line that should be burned into every social movement.  Jason is talking about products at 37 Signals but I would love to see that approach taken by our justice, environmental and other progressive movement organizers.

How many would pass? What % of our users do we graduate? Serve the new people well and you grow.

If you want to grow a movement build it to serve the newbie not the old baby boomer that wants you to add increased science policy review language onto some obscure wetland legislation. (press feed from ascribe)?

Collaboration Anti-Culture

Here is a great riff on culture and collaboration that resonates with me. It fits with the seven elements of a healthy network and begs the question…. can you manage “culture”? 

Yes. It is possible to establish and set the culture of a group. There are 3 ways to build culture in an organization or network.

1. Leadership- Leadership in culture is very different from leadership in an executive sense. There are leaders that serve others. Leaders that direct and drive. And leaders that focus on process and infrastructure. There are very few people that realize they are controlled or follow culture but most of us are sheep grazing on pastures of culture.  The culture sets the terms of acceptability (you know the day you square danced or moon walked).  Leadership in a culture is not being a boss but leading in vision or service. Leadership is also exerted by those that see the culture and shape it by weaving parts of it together or drive wedges in the cracks. 

2. Language – A culture can not emerge without commonalities. Common vision, common stories and common language. Words, pictures, music, stories that unify and define “who is in” and “who is out”. Just because you participate or you are there doesn’t mean you are part of the culture. Wolf Blitzer is not really part of twitter culture but he uses twitter. His story, images, process and language don’t fit the culture.

3. Lines – Common channels, common lines of communications, a capacity to collaborate, share and synchronize. The ability to connect and reconnect in new ways. You can not evolve an art culture without venues, unify a culture without the ability to interact in some ways.  A collaborative culture is build on the capacity to communicate and share experiences.

These create a culture and are part of mix of challenges network strategies address.

Culture is really important for collaboration technology to work in a group or organization. If the culture isn't right, "collaboration" as a human process expressed through various communication and collaboration technologies can't take root. I met with a new client earlier this week to talk about a senior management attempt to encourage "collaboration"….

Michael Sampson: Currents: Collaboration Anti-Culture: Can It Get Any Worse?

Twitter Cofounder Jack Dorsey On Using Twitter For Social Change

This is in line with the training work we have been doing on twitter for activists.  The power of Twitter comes from 3 sources for activists.

  1. The ability to instantly connect people who don’t know each other but care about an issue, event or action. (#hashtags)
  2. The ability to set up a group of trusted people and connect them even if they are not in front of computer but not tight enough to share cell phone numbers with each other. (lobby days, coordinating action etc.)
  3. The ability to scale up your listening, broaden your radar and listen to people you don’t normally get to listen to so regularly. (Micah Sifry is one of the smartest and well connected activist … who does he follow? Follow them directly. and now his lists…


Jack Dorsey nails it… Good Huffington Post Interview…

Impact: How can people use Twitter more effectively for social change?

JD: I think the biggest thing is supporting each individual update more, getting away from [Twitter] being a social network and focusing on individual tweets, so that you can create a whole movement from that. Right now we have the hashtag, which was invented by our users, but it's still a little bit cumbersome. But we've seen that tool have a dramatic effect on how people organize and it serves a particular event or a particular moment and then disperses when it's no longer necessary. Or, the hashtag becomes a full-fledged Twitter account which people can follow permanently. I think making that transition [to concentrate on the value of individual tweets] in an easy way would be very, very helpful.

Twitter Cofounder Jack Dorsey On Using Twitter For Social Change

Be a Producer! Networking the Arts and Project Development

Here is a cool example of the networked culture connecting art supporters and artists. This is in the same stream of thinking behind innocentive, kiva, extrondinaries, 99designs, daylo, bounty county, etc. I like the design and the concept. They also seem to have jumped on some great projects from the launch.




Screen clipping taken: 11/4/2009, 4:23 PM



Flu Trends Shows The Early Spike of H1N1

Google can monitor health-seeking behaviour in the form of queries to online search engines, which are submitted by millions of users around the world each day. " we can accurately estimate the current level of weekly influenza activity in each region of the United States". The question is does the early spike mean that America "is Done" with the flu or are we going to see a Feb-Mar spike that is 2 or 3 times greater than the current levels.


Indictment of Online Strategies: The Man in the Mirror Doesn't Trust You Either.

This should be a wake up call for lots of online strategies that are not transparent, don't communicate results and just use online work to build a base of donating click monkeys.  People are not happy with the distrust shown to them online.

This study mentioned in Philanthropy of 587 PEOPLE WHO USE NEW MEDIA ... has nothing to do with the failure of the platform but of the philosophy and world view of those who run organizations. The online strategy and communications behind the use of the online tools doesn't typically engage, empower and listen. There is a high degree of distrust of online supporters by organizers and organizations.

Somehow the open and welcome culture of organizing "if they show up at a meeting engage them and work with them" has not translated into online organizing space.

Old guard leaders don't trust their own instincts or methods used to filter "good supporters and bad supporters" in the online space and therefore they distrust all online supports and only offer them limited engagement, information or resources.

Often people are left feeling  "not trusted, disconnected, left behind and like "ATMs" because that is the true way "serious organizers" often feel toward the base.  I don't think it is a stretch to say that this survey really is showing "message received" by the online public. 

This survey hammers home that it is not a digital platform issue (since they are interviewing people that use new media.) It is an issue of strategy.

  • How would you shift strategy, listen and adapt to input from someone at a meeting of your group?  If at a meeting someone offers an idea? leadership or volunteers how would your organization react? 
  • How much information would you share at a meeting? How many questions would you answer at a meeting?
  • How would you adapt to a good idea or leadership exhibited by an online supporter? 
  • Now look at the same offers of ideas, leadership, questions and participation online? Do you act the same way?  Invest the same about of time? Answer the same way?
If we want to create online, scalable, diverse and fast communities to support us and work with us we must solve the "disconnect" between the way we deal with people online and offline.
  • How does your strategy build trust and engagement? 
  • Do you listen? Do you have capacity organized to sustain interaction with those you connect with online?
  • How do manage new introductions? How do you build a common language and common vision with those you connect with online?
  • how do you provide feedback to others online?
  • How does your communications strategy clearly explain strategy, results and impact?
  • How do you make it easy for activist and supporters that are "overwhelmed"?
  • How do you provide training and support for those you engage online?

We need to use the "power of the internet to get things done" to solve problems and genuinely connect users to each other so they can work together and coordinated way on solutions to the issues we are organizing to address.