5 that claim active affiliation of more than 1 billion people. Chinese, Indian, Catholic, Muslim, Facebook... Tribes, religion, friendships.
5 that claim active affiliation of more than 1 billion people. Chinese, Indian, Catholic, Muslim, Facebook... Tribes, religion, friendships.
"True power comes from building new power. " YES! Cheryl recaps some powerful trends that are worth pondering in tech, organizing and advocacy. She also just does a great job of telling her story.
I am so thrilled that PDF is pushing speakers video online. The conference has consistently the worst timing for me and although I always want to be there. I highly recommend PDF.
Initiative 103 will change the law in Seattle to:
- Ban corporate spending on elections, reversing Citizens United
- Ban corporate lobbying except in public forums
- Strip Corporate Personhood and judge-made corporate "Constitutional" rights
- Establish a Community Bill of Rights for Seattle which includes Rights for Workers, Rights for Neighborhoods and Rights for Nature to protect our environment. Learn more...
Is this the next evolution of the occupy movement? Did the reactions last summer create space for an agenda to emerge? It will also be interesting to watch how the opposition moves against the prop.
This is worth watching. I love the idea of a ban on lobbying except in public forums.
Check out the recap and overview of the Neilsen and Pew findings on Mobile over at the Agitator.To apply mobile strategy to social change, I also recommend following the ongoing great work of the team at www.mobileactive.org .
“Some 70% of all cell phone owners and 86% of smartphone owners have used their phones in the previous 30 days to perform at least one of the following activities:
- Coordinate a meeting or get-together — 41% of cell phone owners have done this in the past 30 days.
- Solve an unexpected problem that they or someone else had encountered — 35% have used their phones to do this in the past 30 days.
- Decide whether to visit a business, such as a restaurant — 30% have used their phone to do this in the past 30 days.
- Find information to help settle an argument they were having — 27% haveused their phone to get information for that reason in the past 30 days.
- Look up a score of a sporting event — 23% have used their phone to do that in the past 30 days.
- Get up-to-the-minute traffic or public transit information to find the fastest way to get somewhere — 20% have used their phone to get that kind of information in the past 30 days.
- Get help in an emergency situation — 19% have used their phone to do that in the past 30 days.”
Activity by age shows the expected pattern
Is Mobile a part of your strategy?
Thinking about FOLDIT, I started thinking about the brilliance of Yochai Benkler.
There is something here for all of us in the social sector. The critical innovation in our space is to continue to throw the challenges of our work out to the network to create the content, plan the campaigns, set the course, and do the work.
The challenge for us is breaking the challenges down and setting the network to share. They did it at FOLDIT.
With all the things proteins do to keep our bodies functioning and healthy, they can be involved in disease in many different ways. The more we know about how certain proteins fold, the better new proteins we can design to combat the disease-related proteins and cure the diseases. Below, we list three diseases that represent different ways that proteins can be involved in disease.
Compound bows maximize the energy storage throughout the draw cycle and provide let-off at the end of the cycle (less holding weight at full draw). A traditional recurve bow has a very linear draw force curve - meaning that as the bow is drawn back, the draw force becomes increasingly heavier with each inch of draw (and most difficult at full draw). Therefore, little energy is stored in the first half of the draw, and much more energy at the end where the draw weight is heaviest. The compound bow operates with a very different weight profile, reaching its peak weight within the first few inches of the draw, and remaining more flat and constant until the end of the cycle where the cams "let-off" and allow a reduced holding weight. This manipulation of the peak weight throughout the draw is why compound bows store more energy and shoot faster than an equivalent peak weight recurve bow or longbow.
The rules of potential energy tell us an object can store energy based upon its position and structure.
Here is another way to think of energy, imagine a bowling ball…in a flat gravel driveway, a significant amount of force is required to accelerate it. However, the same ball sitting on a dirt road at the top of long hill will roll with the slightest nudge. The ball will start bouncing, hopping and rolling down the dirt road.
The difference in these scenarios of the bow or the ball on the hill lies in the stored “energy of position” created by the ball’s placement and the bows structure. Potential energy is measured in degree of ability to perform work, to displace some quantity of mass.
It takes exactly the same amount of energy to move the ball up to the top of the hill as it does to accelerate it along the driveway but “the cost” of investing the energy is not linear.
It would take a lot of capacity to blast the bowling ball down the drive way to the same speed (bouncing, hopping and rolling).
A compound bow takes the mechanics of energy storage to an even greater design alloing a user not just to hold the energy but to hold it comfortably and directed and stored to deliver the most use.
These same forces exist within advocacy. With a little creative thought about building stored energy into a campaign infrastructure, we can lower the costs and capacity needs of accelerating change.
In our world when we are working to “displace some quantity of mass” we are talking about influence in culture, policy, opinion and actions. Do you build a base overnight or do you leverage more efficent stuctures to build and store energy? How do you position your assets so they have the greatest work potential stored in them? Where is the last place to store your bowling balls and assets (in the middle of a valley or behind hoops of program officers and applicaitons) ?
Using this framework, we can think of some principals for campaigns.
(I need to push this forward more...another day...must sleep...)
We operate in a sector that has no profits, no barriers to entry, little overhead and low labor costs. In every other sector like our own, the dominate model of operations becomes small independent operations or very lightly controlled franchises. The world of issue organizing is joining the ranks of barber shops, landscaping, maid services, truckers, taxis, newspapers and nail salons. This shift threatens the core business model of important groups but it also gives rise to new models and services.
The life-cycle of a movement usually starts as an issue emerges inspiring individuals to act and organize. Founding groups in a movement are organized (NAACP, wilderness society, Teamsters, Amnesty International) get formed and grow. The new groups recruit talent and pulll together power to create change. As staff increase in skills, build personal and professional networks and talents, a percentage of the talented staff, Board members or funders get increasingly frustrated by the decisions of managers (boards, brands, etc) or politics (wrong message, wrong focus, to conservative or to radicle) so these talented staff split off to create splinter operations that compete directly for media, members, attention of policy makers and funders.
The basic barriers to entry and the overhead with being a political issue group have gone down toward zero. In the last ten years the tools to organize, collect information and broadcast messages has dropped drammatically. The overhead of running an organizaiton has dropped so much that new groups start up quickly and can compete with the same tools as the best funded groups. These new start ups can survive with less money and provide the niche organizing that the public wants. Additionally, the overhead of running an operation has dropped and is so low that both groups remain in operation and are likely to continue.
The trend willnot go away unless there is an increase barriers to entry or drastically increase overhead costs to stay in business (both unlikely). Political and issue organizing is a complex and chaotic environment in which we want many or all organizers to survive. In fact, we care about overall market share of people engaged and growing the base of people that wish to be a part of organizing for change. We know that the new groups often reach new segments and work on new issues so we are always interested in pushing new organizing to a new edge. We care about growing the overall engagement and overall success not the allocation of interests and members within individual groups.
The problem that has emerged is that as the cultural forces splinter organizing units into smaller and smaller factions the issues that must be addressed grow in scale and quicken in tempo. Issues such as balancing influence of multi-national corporations, climate crisis, human justice and dignity on an international scale, war, natural resource management and child safety have spiraled into global issues requiring extensive power to track, evaluate and promote solutions. Even in the US, our own government has take to moving prisoners overseas to complicate the extension of ability to address oversight by US activists groups.
Simply, the problems we want to address are getting bigger while the mechanisms working on the problems are getting smaller. Smaller groups are becoming more powerful but the sum of the smaller groups’ power is significantly less than the potential power of the whole.
Given the transformation this trend represents to organizing, it is essential to actually solve the challenge of enabling a highly fractured network to work together in an advocacy and issue context. It is essential to invest in the strategy, training, analysis, research, tools and platforms that enable relationship building to occur and it is essential to train a new generation not just of managers but of network leaders.
I always enjoy Valdis Krebs' perspectives on networks. The way Valdis sees the world is interesting and this riff is no different. Getting the data on what users hi-lite is in a way like a peek into a deeper level of our behavior than just the books we follow and the friends we keep but gets at a level of data that may reveal why we like that book, or maybe why we like those people.
It is not just the also-bought data that matters (which books bought by same customer), it is what we specifically find interesting and useful in those books that reveals deep similarities between people -- the hi-lites, bookmarks and the notes will be the connectors. Our choices reveal who we are, and who we are like!
When the choices available are shaped by our culture and policy, the reverse of this statement starts to become haunting.
The choices we have available to us, reveals who we are and who we can become. Working to shape fair choices, healthy choices, and uplifting choices is at the core of lots of policy and social advocacy work.
Is there any screening process for the books? For instance, do you try to include great works of literature, or perhaps focus on more accessible and popular novels?
I want everything and anything. I don't have much of a budget, so all the books are donated from people that live nearby and off my own shelves, so everything from Oprah-approved to Jane Jacobs. And obviously as people leave their own books, I'd want the collection to become a record of the interests of that particular site.
A next site I have in mind is near a public school, and I'm trying to get a good collection of children's books.
This is beautiful. The real human network finding ways to leverage resoruces (love the art angle). This is the "open source" of library organizing. Find extra capacity or resources built into the basic unit then use network production to leverage it.
Where does it go from here?
Twitter is Not a Social Network is a really thought provoking riff by Gideon Rosenblatt it also has links to some interesting data analysis of twitter. I agree with the basic trust of the post and it has triggered some clarity about the nature of designing advocacy networks online and offline. I have riffed before on the concept that advocacy networks are not social networks (people that worked on climate change do not want to socialize with each other and may even hate each other.) But this post brings that distinction into event more clarity.
My big take away lies hidden in the way Gideon focus on the differece between networks of people (facebook) and networks that use people to achieve specific ends.
You could call eBay a social network and you wouldn’t be wrong. eBay does connect people; people who want to sell stuff with people who want to buy stuff. What’s interesting about eBay though – what defines it, really – is how those connections are used. What flows through the eBay network are bids, transactions … and products. That’s because it’s an online marketplace; an online marketplace that rests on top of a network of people.
How about Amazon? One of Amazon’s most valuable assets is its user-contributed product reviews, which are essentially just Amazon connecting people who know something about a product with people who want to know something about a product. Clearly, that’s not all Amazon does, but connecting people is a really important part of what they do. So, is Amazon a social network? Well, yes, you could call it that, but that would be confusing ends with means. While less obvious than eBay, Amazon’s marketplace also rests on a network of people.
This approach line of thinking triggers two responses that are consistent with how I understand networks and yet are really contradictory. (oh well)
Good Networks are flexible: Once networks are built (as they are components of infrastucture) the networks will be LEVERAGED IN NEW AND DIFFERENT WAYS . Sewage networks to run fiber optic cable, cable to run internet, power grid to run data, work networks for dating, dating networks for business, etc. etc. I think all smart network designers really try to figure out how to manage that.
Getting networks to work together comes from establishing protocols for connections and use of the network, but any set of protocols will be tested and constantly pushed for more flexibility. Good network design (ones that embrace a strategy of growth and nimbleness accept both ).
As advocactes, we need to test those protocols and exploit the funcationality of networks to achieve change. In the framework Gidieon suggest, our job is to design "advocacy applications" that exploit the power of networks that others have built. (campaigns on facebook, www.mobileactive.org , organizing revolutions on twitter, political organizing after a local community group meeting, http://www.ebaymainstreet.com/, leverage facebook, etc. etc. ) However, to do this we need to both understand the functionality and culture of the network AND we must understand how we need to complement "what is" with what is needed to make a funcational advocacy network. The lack of mashing together social network (builds trust and communicaitons lines) with the full needs of a advocacy network (feedback mechanisms, common vision, common language, access to shared resources, etc.) leads to the failure of many advocacy camapaigns run on social networks. (look at the funcationality differences between nationalfield.com and facebook.)
Design of networks DOES influence the character and outcomes that the network will produce. (Here is where the apparent contridictions come in with everything above.) Ebay, Twitter, Facebook,Google, etc. are all networks designed to connect people to do certian things and LEVERAGE what they do as connected to create greater value of the network.
We can build facebook followers, we can get twitter followers and build email lists but these acts are very important to be able to listen more, and broadcast more. They are ways to open new pathways of communicaiton to users and from users but alone they are not sufficent to say we have build an advocacy network. Smart advocacy networks are made up of smart advocacy leaders and participants. Without the full set of elements for an advocacy network the network will fail. (see the Nov ananlysis of Occupy network).
When and how we build the advocacy network,establishes the protocols for use, scalability, behavior, and connection (see preventobesity leader registration) this in turn dictates the general parameters of what the network will produce. The network funcationalities we measure, the tools we offer, and the feedback we bake into the design are what create the ways the network will get smarter and the capability of what it can do. (for example: ebay seller trust, amazon reviews, facebook likes, googlepage rank). In a good advocacy network design, we need to provide tools not only for connecting to people (channels and relevant intelligence so people can pick who to connect with) but also tools and services for moving the tageted policy and culture change. We need to do both while constantly developing shared data that informs the network particiapants and the network designers about what is going on, what is working, and what gaps exist. simply put, building a social network is not building an advocacy network.
Finally, in either case Gideon's conclusion holds true challenge to advocacy network designers as the biggest stuggle in an advocacy context.
This is the limiting factor of traditional focused advocacy, one off campaigns, single issue groups and the like. This is the strength of TeaPArty, Occupy, Momsrising, AARP and Moveon. the more fluid they can be across advocacy thier utility power is amplified. These groups established "flexible" brands but we are also testing flexible data policy that encourages sharing the data on individuals that are part of the network in support of the mission.
As advocacy network designers, we want to be as general as possible without loosing the ability to influence the most important elements of direction. We must disgn networks that provide value and funcationality to "hook" users and manage the connections with those users to the greatest value for them, for the connection to each other and for the network effects.
I try not to be so late to the conversation but this post by Gideon Rosenblatt has been cooking in the draft pile for a few months. I think his point is looking at utility and the relative strength of Facebook vs. Twitter but teases out something that I think ties up the ways we think about building advocacy networks. However, I have been hoping that I could come up with a solid post that reconciled conflicts in the way I read the post.
The new feature, Cobra iRadar Community takes the warnings your detector receives and shows them to other iRadar users. Already available for the iPhone, it becomes available for Android phones next month, the company announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show here.
this is a beautiful design. I love the idea of gadgets being able to talk to each other so that even though they are distributed to multiple users they act as a comprehensive grid. This would be very interesting in security alarms, smoke detectors, asthma inhalers, door bells, etc.
If we can connect like products, in the value added and nonintrusive way, the idea of connecting together data to add further value would provide great advantage.
How long will it be before the police seemlessly pass data from radar, and photo enforcement to cars in the street? I am also curious how the radar/phone connection exposes users in states where radar is illegal? Can police ring/txt those phones and remind them of the penalty of using radar detectors?
This is a really interesting space.
There is a fantastic riff at occupywinning by Jonathan Matthew Smucker. I highly recommend reading it.
it’s wrongheaded to get caught up in the elusive search for the perfect silver bullet tactic. Movements are, more than anything else, about people. To build a movement is to listen to people, to read the moment well, and to navigate a course that over time inspires whole swaths of society to identify with the aims of the movement, to buy in, and to take collective action.
For a long time, I have been thinking about the tactics of resistance and change. I really like this piece because it speaks not only to #occupy as a tactic but seems to ask many of the right strategy questions.
A tactic is basically an action taken with the intention of achieving a particular goal, or at least moving toward it. In long-term struggle, a tactic is better understood as one move among many in an epic game of chess (with the caveat that the powerful and the challengers are in no sense evenly matched). A successful tactic is one that sets us up to eventually achieve gains that we are presently not positioned to win. As Brazilian educator Paulo Freire asked, “What can we do today so that tomorrow we can do what we are unable to do today?”
In the epic game of chess, if you loose because your opponents change the rules and you don’t get as many pieces, find another game to play. The thing about #occupy that is a “different game” is not the 99% frame but what is going on among the people.
I want to offer that occupy is not a tactic. “occupy” is an organizing structure. Is setting up a nonprofit or launching a traditional coalition a tactic or an organizing structure?
Occupy is the brand but occupy doesn’t mean staying over night in the streets but something more about ownership by the people who participate. Occupy is the message that leadership is not a fixed thing. Occupy is compelling because it demonstrates and tells a story that leadership is among us. This movement is ours. Occupypolice, occupydesign, occupylaw, occupyarrest.occupyoakland, this is the sense of people ownership . The 99% frame is a reflection of a structure that is empowering because it casts a light that we also own other power tools.
We own the democracy. We can if we muster the courage own the power to reset the rules of the chess board.
Any new message discipline or change in operations that doesn’t reinforce that everyone owns occupy or can own occupy is the genuine threat to its strength.
The occupy movement and the network of the 99% is not yet functional enough to change or quickly adopt, message or movement or tactics. The people lack the connective tissue across cities, there is not enough viral people to people conversation beyond the twitter and other social media.
What can we do? Listen more and turbo charge the capacity of the people that have shown up to inspire others. We can continue to vary the offerings so that Occupy can pick up the long-tail of support not just the power users that camp and march. Focus heavily on more voices and adaptability based on the needs identified by the people that participate.
If we do that, the network will strengthen, common language will be given the breathing room to evolve and the visionaries and leaders within the occupy network will be able to guide it thru the change in operational tactics and messages. The strong network with a high tempo of people owned and lead mobilizations (online and off) will keep the movement vibrant.
One of the most important things we can do today so that we can do more and different things tomorrow is to layer across the occupy movement in the street is the layer of advocacy network structure it will so desperately need in the weeks ahead.
The people want to be heard. It is interesting that the officals are interested in breaking people into 14 rooms for feedback.(You can hear the proposal in the background of the first 30 seconds) However, the people want to be heard (by media and the community) not just the leaders at the table.
Rock On! People without mics still have voice. there is also intersting background thread of discussion on the youtube page. Democracy is not always smooth but the people in that room must feel empowered and the people at the table not so much. Which is the point.
Here is the media coverage...
New York Post - Oct 27, 2011
But a group of 200 teachers and Occupy Wall Street backers came out to crash the party. Calling themselves Occupy the DOE, they flooded Seward Park's auditorium and shouted down Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott as he tried to brief parents on the new ...
Huffington Post - Oct 25, 2011
"If you want your voice heard, all you have to do is say 'mic check.'" The approximately 200 protesters, loosely affiliated with a new public education committee offshoot of OccupyWall Street, called for increased participation and democracy in ...
New York Times - 21 hours ago
What do you think of Mr. Walcott's plan? And what services do you think the city needs to provide to get parents more involved? Further, is the parent coordinator an effective resource for drawing in parents? Parent coordinators, what do you need to ...
Our Schools NYC (press release) - Oct 26, 2011
And the Occupy Wall Street Public Education committee already has plans for a People's General Assembly on Public Education on Nov. 7th at DOE headquarters. So, for now at least, the People's Mic appears to be winning over an unaccountable, ...
The Epoch Times - Oct 25, 2011
That voice echoed many others that are concerned with the DOE, Chancellor Walcott, and Mayor Bloomberg. The protesters took turns speaking via a "people's mic," in a meeting similar to those in held Zuccotti Park by the Occupy Wall St. protesters. ...
NY1 - Oct 25, 2011
Called the "People's Microphone," the protesters' call-and-repeat chants, now a trademark of the Occupy Wall Street movement, derailed the Department of Education meeting. Walcott continued to introduce the scheduled speaker, despite the chanting, ...
GothamSchools - Oct 25, 2011
But as Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and the standards' architect, David Coleman, took the stage at Seward Park High School, protesters aligned with the Occupy movement launched a chorus of complaints via “the people's mic.” “Mic check! ...
New York Times - Oct 26, 2011
New York City's Department of Education will create a parent academy and eventually measure how well public schools interact with their students' parents, Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott announced in a speech on Wednesday. ...
I have been thinking about the struggle to prioritize network elements. Do you focus on one first? Traditional leaders seem to want to drive emerging networks to create a vision first but I am no longer sold on that framework.
Does a network need a vision? Yes, but does it need a vision more than communication grid, shared resources, feedback mechanisms,etc... Maybe not. Arriving at a shared vision is an exercise of trust exchanges, communications, language clarity. Driving for a shared vision before the other components of the network are built is just as much as a recipe for failure as never driving for one at all.
With that in mind, this came across my radar today....
OccupyWishList.org, a simple platform where people who want to give direct support to occupiers in need of things like blankets, batteries, sleeping bags and the like can connect with each other. OccupyWishList doesn't just make it easy for people to list their needs or their willingness to meet them; Mintz says the site will also work to ensure that connections and commitments are actually met, or a need will get relisted.
One of the projects I am working on is focused on addressing the issue of childhood obesity.(learn more about the issue at RWJF)
During the interviews and assessment phase before the project, we interviewed lots of leaders in the movement working to reverse the epidemic that wanted to know who are the other leaders in their cities. We heard "If we only had a map".... when we decided to build the map, we wanted to make it so everyone could "own it" this is their map.
We went the extra mile (ok 10 miles) to make it like a youtube video. This map can be embedded on lots of sites (including your own). You can just grab the code (copy) and paste it on any site.
As people join the movement, they are added to totals of supporters on the maps all over the internet. As leaders join the movement, they are added to the map with a way to contact them all over the internet.
There are a few advanced features like the ability to customize the map size, add your logo or change the zoom (if you work on any of the issues related to childhood obesity or want to support those that do please start spreading the map far and wide.)
This map is pretty netcentric. As it creates new pathways for people to connect to each other, it creates a shared resource, and it becomes a feedback tool for showing how and where the movement is getting organized to reverse the epidemic.
Let me know what you think? How many places will we see this map distributed in 6 months?
This is a great example of how a network gets work done with shared resources. I imagine we are going to see lots of use of these decentralized tools to “act”.
What will happen with the video?
When we hit our fundraising goal, we'll be able to put this video on the air during popular cable TV shows (like Seinfeld repeats or Sports Center). It will run just like a normal ad.
If we don't hit our goal, you'll get your money returned to you. LoudSauce uses Amazon to process the payments, so it's super secure.
Loudsauce looks very cool.
didn’t have time to make it shorter yet..late night riff not quite a rant but thinking while tired is always dangerous)
It is not a mistake that the #OccupyWallstreet movement has a different rhythm to other movements, street protest or campaigns. #OccupyWallStreet seems to be shaping up as a good example of an advocacy network. This movement along with the peace movement of 2004, Obama Campaign 2008, Teaparty of 2010, Arab spring, is the latest event suggesting organizers need to recalibrate the ways we think about our work.
“In fact, we are witnessing America's first true Internet-era movement, which -- unlike civil rights protests, labor marches, or even the Obama campaign -- does not take its cue from a charismatic leader, express itself in bumper-sticker-length goals and understand itself as having a particular endpoint.” --- Think Occupy Wall St. is a phase? You don't get it - CNN.com
Many organizers are trying to sort out ways to “lead” the movement and the ways to “save it”. Many traditional leaders want to “drive the occupywallstreet bus” but don’t understand what is actually going on, how to participate, what it needs, or what to expect. Their confusion is intentional.
“The exhausted political machines and their PR slicks are already seeking leaders to elevate, messages to claim, talking points to move on. They, more than anyone, will attempt to seize and shape this moment. They are racing to reach the front of the line. But how can they run out in front of something that is in front of them? They cannot. For Wall Street and Washington, the demand is not on them to give us something that isn’t theirs to give. It’s ours. It’s on us. We aren’t going anywhere. We just got here” . (from the occupywallstreet journal…)
People are wondering “what the hell is this?”, Do I drop everything and jump in?” or “is it a waste of time”? Our dreamers and skeptics, don’t know if it is a movement of crazies or will it go away after the first big news story.
We are a generation that understands “brands” as an experience. Starbucks or Apple Stores the experience of engagement is changing. This is not a single logo, banner, story, camp or occupation. This is the teaparty and the peace movement, this is the new labor, the unemployed, and the artists. Occupywallstreet may or may not stick around. A general assembly may get their demands met or fade into nothing. They may get beat by police or celebrated as heroes. We don’t know.
We do know that tens of thousands of people are being “on ramped” to engagement and leadership without preconditions. We know that lots of people are paying attention and that this loose ad hoc movement is pulling off organizing that some of the best in the organizing business couldn’t imagine possible.
The experience is that the camps assume, people are informed. They are there to be served, encouraged to struggle and to be a part on their terms. People are exposed to sausage making. People are assumed to be leaders and committed. People are assumed to inspire each other without need for “professional spin and packaging”. Everyone can interact with each other. Nobody owns the movement or the people of the movement.
OccupyWallstreet like a few other internet age movements has started from a very different place than any advocacy group. No matter when I show up, or how little or much I give. This movement is “mine” not “theirs”. People own this.
Network-centric advocacy is intentionally resilient. Competition among leaders is a feature not a bug. Networks are designed to foster continual experimentation and the network demands adaptability as a feature. Being a “leader full” movement means that change is the only thing that satisfies the movement not co-opting the leaders or creating a few points failure. This design means that cohesion is harder to maintain but arguably less difficult than dealing with centralized leadership that not only fails but also saps the movement the passion of participation.
When movements are growing they should be diversifying. The open door invites a broad agenda. Many traditional organizers are both wishing that this movement would focus so as to define it. However, the occupy frame and resistance is beautiful in that it encompasses so much and invites more. The real test will not be if it stop accepting new ideas and agendas, but the capacity to deliver solidarity when the “one for all and all for one” comes to the test. In a highly communicative environment and an age of quick alignment, can this new movement deliver power?
Ad hoc movements scare both allies and opponents because they don’t know how long you will be around. When there are no barriers to entry, there are no barriers to exits. People can come and go and comeback again. Is occupywallstreet the new Sierra Club or are they the peace movement of 2004? People are afraid to invest in the early days, because they don’t want to be the “fools” that dumped lots of time and energy into a movement that disappeared in the first snow storm. But they also fear being irrelevant if they don’t join. Those fears can be combated with hope and faith in the people they get to know as a part of the network.
In the new age, these old organizing fears can also be combated by knowing that “nowhere is not gone.” Networks have a very low life support cost when they are not active. Do people think the anti-war movement is gone because it didn’t build a new corporate headquarters? Are the resistance in Iran gone? Does it surprise people that after 2008 election progressives experienced a big lull? The failure is not in keeping people engaged when it is dangerous, expensive and not productive. the new challenge is to train and set up operating procedures, and leaders that are geared to support a movement that fosters rapid “out of nowhere” growth, successful rapid organization and also rapidly dissolving with the process and assumption that the movement will reconstitute again and again in new configurations, with new causes to do new actions. Driven by new leaders each time.
High risk business with a known brand or a bunch of victims on the street is still high risk endeavor. Betting on the most trusted names in advocacy has not exactly been a winning strategy. The only difference is our people in the street will be harder to predict and probably cost a lot less to sustain.
Beyond these themes, I also wanted to take advantage of the moment to layout the network-centric advocacy framework, examples from coverage of occupywallstreet and suggestions for a network action plan and guidance on how traditional organizers can engage.
Netcentric Advocacy Element
We should all be careful to realize there is a better way to support networks then to co-opt them. We also need to realize that all networks have a carrying capacity, an ability to carry “load”. Just as you assess how an organization will respond to a big grant, or an individual to a winning lottery ticket, how can a network be fed additional strength without overloading it? What are the investments that will boost the advocacy network capacity of occupywallstreet? .
My riff of organizing supports based on observations online…. suggests that the movement needs more “feedback mechanisms” that are good at showing participants what is working and drawing people toward them. (invest in a welcome and exit interviews) that are published across the network. Such regular reports will help build unity around values. Organizing a daily “morale measure” dashboard with the meetups would be good to identify places that have something powerful going on and the places that need additional support.
The communications grid is effective in camp and online, but I am not seeing enough cross camp and multi-channel communications. Netcentric-Advocacy framework suggests layering in more robust communications grid would be helpful including a clear unified additional radio coverage, live streaming, 800 call in shows and other ways of fostering camp-to-camp suggestions. This would help support the transitions of communications from web, to voice and paper and back again from paper and voice comments to the web.
Develop a process for managing shared resources including better collection, warehousing, distribution and management of resources across the camps. Develop a more robust “starter pack” process so that part of the strategy includes each new occupy effort growing to a set size and then spawning another.
Support staff and others to participate and support the folks in the camps to become part of anchor teams to coordinate trust across camps. Support the development of volunteer weavers to guide the more established organizers navigate getting involved.
The new people are connecting and networking with each other. They are catching a new “bug” of civic engagement . They have a different strand of the virus then the environmentalist, civil rights, labor, organizers of the past. We all need to welcome them into our tribe of people that work and suffer so others they may never meet have better lives.
This is very well done. My gut is that it goes viral. Greenpeace has the tempo of campaigns and actions to hook the users and can use this type of creatie campaign to open a relationship with users.
The campaign is
This is an interesting overview of the side-effects of cut without thinking about priorities and values. It is a good (mellow) overview answer to the hyper-argumentative coverage on cable news.
"Resonable people are willing to carry a fair portion of the reponsibility."
Those of us organizing political power and mobilizing on the web are in a new ecosystem of rapid learning, improvement and experiementation. Watch, play and experiment if you are not keeping up with the trends you need to find more dance partners. They don't need to be working on the same issue, in the same country, or even speak the same language. Watch them. Learn what works. Inspire each other and bring the voice to your own campaigns to organize new voices. How can we have major campaigns and fights against injustice within our own movements that are not online. NO MORE. Get your work online.
Dance or digging a water pipe. Go people!
This could playout very interesting to get a bunch of activists to search on an issue and +1 the most informative news and issue sites. Will large groups upload their entire list to google contacts so that the "social search" guides thier members through the web?
How does it work? Google looks at your "social connections" to determine who to show your "+1's" to and to figure out which +1's might be useful to you. According to Google your "social connections" include people in your gmail chat list, people in your my contacts group on gmail, and people you’re following in Google Reader. I can't tell if it also includes who you follow on twitter.
How could this make a difference? If my staff upload the membership contacts into a google contact list and we follow all our members on a google reader these contacts would be my GMT "social connections". GMT then can surf the web on all of our favorite sites on media, environment, membership blogs,etc and "(+1) all of them. We may even get a grassroots mob to +1 all the good articles on climate change. When the extended network of these groups then google search "climate change" they will start to see the articles weighted more heavily by the grassroots groups working on climate change.
(I think) There is something about (+1) that begs to leveraged by advocacy groups with large social reach. I think it will have impact because it tweaks the way google results are presented and that will have a big impact on the users.
Advocacy groups and professional advoactes have lots of things (great article on fracking, here is info on a chemical, ets) that they would love to "tell" thier followers but the volume prevents sending email about each "find". This is the underlying user story behind "+1" so now when a member looks for articles on chemical "X" the social connecitons to that group can see these are the ones the staff of the group they trust would read.
I am not sure how it will all playout but it is interesting.
AFL-CIO, AFSCME, SEIU, Americans United, Campaign for America’s Future, Campaign for Community Change, Move On, and USAction joined together to build a national coalition whose top priority was health care reform. Dan Cramer of Grassroots Solutions and Tom Novick of M+R Strategic Services (M+R) provide a fantastic evaluation.
They were able to interview the key players (70) and review all the documents and activities of the campaign. Evaluation: Executive Summary of Findings and Lessons from the HCAN Campaign | Atlantic Philanthropies
It is a great piece of work. I highly recommend reading it.
What I liked?
I increasingly believe that with an intentional plan. Advocacy Networks can be built and directed. It is essential that the analysis of these networks be completed with an eye toward evaluating the success or failure of the components of network-centric advocacy capacity.
This is hard to watch. These clips show the incredible motivaiton and courage the people demonstrated to create the change in Egypt. Good luck to all of them in brining about peace and a better life.
This article from Online Media Daily gives a brief overview of AARP’s re-designed website.
And here’s a link to AARP’s very useful study of online practices by the 50+ crowd.
Good news: 40% of 50+ internet users consider themselves extremely or very comfortable using the internet. We’ll make online donors out of them yet!
And 27% use social media sites (many learning about such sites from children or grandchildren). However, reflecting their almost genetic preference for print media, when it comes to following the news (a driver of giving, at least in the cause sector), only about 36% look for online sources, and of those 66% chiefly go to the sites of traditional media (cable news, newspaper and magazine sites).
Often groups complain that the online strategies are not a good fit for thier older membership. It is great to see AARP teaching the rest of us how to most successfully engage thier membership and give us real data on what works with that audience and the trends there.
In case it has been a few months since your last peek at the www.StoryofStuff.org let me continue to encourage you to think about the way www.storyofstuff.org is an asset for an entire network of activists.
Watch the interview below to hear about the ways Annie by design has "pushed the power to organize" out to others.
The resources that Story of Stuff team creates, the stories Annie tells, and the clarity to the vision for so many partners continues to add capacity to a network of allies. Annie's effort is a great example of the ways they are designing to be a network services to a cause. She talks a bit about it as well in the video.
This must be the new design guide for campaigns, micro-sites and small nonprofits.
Design your site to be super clear, simple and easy maintain. Cut, cut and cut again to to present a single set of value to user of the site and reduce need to keep the content fresh. A simple site increases value to the user and reduces your headaches.
If you are going to have a run on and long blog like this go ahead but really take pride in the brainstorming and note space. :)
SO WHAT are the ESSENTIALS of your SITE?
- One hook with the user. (emotional is good. timely is good)
- A clear promise and a clear ask. (what is the trade?)
- A signup form to stay connected to people with zip and social spread tools.
- Basic learn more link.
- Blog and transparency too.
One-Pager prioritizes simplicity--both for library patrons who use it and for librarians who manage it. One-Pager isn't meant for institutions with a team of web developers; instead, it's designed for library systems that have little to no capacity to write and design online content. The argument is that instead of offering inadequate, unclear, or poorly-designed online services, it's better to offer users something clear, attractive, and easy to maintain. The site is optimized for speedy use on mobile devices as well as standard web browsers. It forces librarians to pare down their content... like it or not.
Revolutions are not made: they come. A revolution is as natural a growth as an oak. - Wendell Phillips
The basic equations that are at play are the same in each revolution.
We can see that the motivation for change builds from hope and despair. Motivation is inspired by crack downs. Motivation emerges from seeing injustice. The economic pain motivates people as a does history of police abuse. Motivation comes from empathy and fear as well as belief in success.
Network capacity is the only global virus leaking into every corner of humanity on the backs of cellphones, cheap processing power, commerce and information flows.
Network capacity is the ability for the stories to circulate and networks to coordinate. Network capacity includes a common stories, common language, common vision to throw off the oppression. Network capacity is the ability to share, communicate, coordinate and swarm. Network capacity is the ability to see in real time what works in another country or across town. Network capacity is the ability to adapt quickly. Network capacity is the backbone of solidarity and taking actions with other and working together.
As the world pours “free” network capacity onto populations we are arguably not just entering the age of networks but the age of low motivation revolutions.
Leading in the age of revolutions is 1 part motivation and 1 part network builder. If you have a motivated public throw more network capacity on them to create change. It is increasingly important to know what makes a network functional and to understand the mechanics of networks. Hope we can help.
This is interesting food for thought in 5:40 seconds. We know there have been flash mobs that lead to vandalism and muggings. We have seen international networks work to rescue people or foster hate crimes. We need to be thinking about the shifting ways people behave , the way people consume information and the complete distortion of time and scale that networks operate on. How does this change your thinking at the US State Department? How does this change the way you organize as a teacher in Wisconsin? What does this online and offline mixing mean to groups with 10,000 followers and friends? How do you convert attention to action? How is that engagement ladder changing in a world of flashmobs gone wrong?
There is only one way to organize a movement, "ask". Will you do something about childhood obesity?
There are many great causes out there and many new ones pop up with the publication of new research, the crisis of a new event, or a population reaching a breaking point. However, causes don't make change. You do. People need to understand/feel the crisis or the problem . We need to understand that there is something we can do to change the problem. We need to understand what to do. The success of the petition on change.org and care2.com are good indicators that those elements are coming together.
Childhood obesity is a problem. It is a crisis. It impacts 23 million children. The data says this generation needs us to do something, if they are going to have a chance to live healthy and long lives. America did not just decide to over eat and stop moving. Food has always been available. We did not give up interest sports, athletics or interest in healthy people. If anything we are more interested in those.
Something else is going on. Something small that is having a huge impact on our kids and our fate as a country. I say it is small because I am not a doctor, city planner or a researcher they know this is a big deal. I say it is small because 150 calories seems like a little thing. The root of the epidemic among children is just 150 calories a day. 150 extra calories every day converts to something like 10 lbs a year on a kid. This converts to obesity at a young age (4th and 5th graders 40 and 50lbs overweight). It seems so simple. Help kids eat just a bitter better and healthier. Help the kids move or play more everyday and we stop this epidemic. Work together, and the pain, the suffering, the early disease and the billions of dollars it will costs all go away.
Everyone is responsible for what they eat. Parents are responsible for getting kids moving and helping them eat healthy. But parents need help. We all have a responsibility to help the next generation thrive. There are too many forces are working against parents rather with than them. Parents that work hard to provide the right foods and then someone brings them cookies. Parents work to get kids to a party for a schoolmate and kids are offered 1000s of calories at a sitting. Parents that can no longer assume the schools will get them moving on a playground or in PE.
The answers are within our grasp. We can help parents. We can help them if we make sure kids are surrounded by healthy affordable foods not junk food. We can help them if we reduce the ridiculous amount of crap food advertising pushing kids to eat more, more, more. We can help them if we help keep kids moving in PE, community fields and safe places to play. We can help them if we put schools where kids can walk. We can help them if we create trails and play spaces kids can use safely and help keep communities safe so they can stay outside.
Kids will play with just about anything. I watched mine play with empty boxes and run around a field playing tag or tumbling around for an hour. They will ride bikes along trails until their legs fall off and say in a pool right thru lunch and dinner if I didn't call them. My 5 siblings used to fight (that was worth at least 150 calories a day). Kids are not different. Our food and environment are.
You walked to school. Your kids don't. You drank milk (ours was powdered milk) or drank out of the hose in the yard. Your kids are offered sugar drinks EVERYWHERE. Food and food marketing is everywhere. Gas stations sold gas. Now kids are begging for treats when you fill up the van. 10% of kids ask parents to go for fast food everyday.
Those are not accidents. Governments cut back on sidewalks while building roads. Food companies have pushed into every nook and cranny of your kids day. Junk ads tell the kids in the middle of every movie, jersey, billboard, book, show and on every carton that junk food is easy and fun. The things that pass for school lunch are heavily influenced by industry. The default kids meals in restaurants don't meet healthy meal standards. We cut budgets for PE. We build over the woods near kids houses. We surround them with dangerous roads and fast cars. We cut budgets for school meals, food preparation, and parks. We don't do anything to bring healthy food into reach while junk food has an industry nudging parents influence out while superloading sugar, fat and salt into things packaged as healthy. We were making some mistakes that are driving this epidemic.
Working with everyone isn't easy. Change is hard. The good thing is there is no doubt we can do this. There is no doubt if we do the right thing we will reap huge benefits. But we have to ask.
Can you join the movement? This is what we asked in our first effort on the petition site. Today, we are building a movement to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity. We need to make that 150 calorie shift. You can play a part. You can lead. You can support those who lead by tuning in and getting engaged and participating in all they do.
Will you join? Others are. It is time.
Dan Cohen has a nice little riff over on the communications network blog about seeing social media success in your future.
I really like the visualization of the future idea.
I would add a few questions about the network nature of the tools.
She asked then to think who their allies were. She asked what tools they thought made the most impact over the “past” year.
There are lots of resons that I like working on childhood obesity. None of them seemed linked to the pure data that explains the problem.(obesity rate widget) Data is compelling. The control of the widget helps make you think about the issues behind the data. I typically can be a bit geeky but I am not sure I would have "connected the dots" these trends, the widget and data with people.
However, I was at a conference a at the end of last year, a doctor from the CDC gave a talk that has stayed with me. (My sister is a doc. ) I know what good doctors do. I know how hard they work to be a good doctor. I know what it means to my sister to help someone. Anyway, this doctor (I need to go back and look at the agenda to get the name straight.) talked about walking away from bedside practice to take a job at the CDC. She looked into the room and of activists working on health and childhood obesity and pulled from a lifetime of experience to tell us "we are all at the bedside."
She took a job at the CDC because she realized shifting just a few percentage points on this issue, was going to save many families from the need to hold hands of loved ones with tubes up thier noses. She knows addressing childhood obesity was going to reduce suffering, pain and loss on a massive scale. She knows what early death looks like in a hospital. She has faces on the numbers below. She challenged of us in the room to dig deeper in our work. She challenged us to realize we all stand with those families everyday.
I didn't go to medical school but I have been at a bedside during to many of those moments. I can easily put my own faces behind those shifting numbers. I am also very proud of the work we are doing at Preventobesity.net.
Check it out. think. act. Take the widget for your site.
When I think about the elements that need to be in place for a campaign to succeed. I imagine that each campaign needs to have a focus in four areas throughout the campaign. The campaign needs effective management, it needs the right policy, it needs an effective communication strategy and it needs the right network. These elements interplay with each other.
A great communications strategy can open up new policy options and build a new network. A strong network can achieve significant policy change with a very poor communication strategy. The perfect policy is not always good enough. There is no way around investing in developing each of these four elements. Effective management balances the tension between the communications team, the policy team and the network team. Having a good policy does not mean you have an effective communication strategy. Having effective network strategy does not mean you have figured out how to communicate about it or tested any kind of policy.
What I find most surprising is that we do not balance our investment and expertise in these areas. Most campaigns and nonprofits that I work with are too heavily focused on policy expertise. Boards, strategy staff, and the policy people that want to see change need to be more deliberate on establishing a better balance in their management structures to deal with the development of each of these three elements.
Across the board, on almost every campaign I see a need to focus management on bringing both communications and network strategist to the senior leadership table.
If your organization has the opportunity to develop the perfect policy, the perfect communications campaign, or the perfect network which do you believe provides you with the most strategic value to leverage towards success?
Gideon Rosenblatt is enjoying “retirement” digging into some important concepts that feed social change. His riffs are must read content for serious organizers (online and on land). I like his focus on teasing apart the spectrum of “engagement”. I love his work. I enjoy debating with him via blog post to sharpen my thinking and figure out what he is saying. These posts are thought provoking.
Engagement is important to define. However, I don’t think I like the way it is defined here. I don’t like the way he set up the word engagement to be tied to productivity. I also react negatively to the idea that to the idea …
In this framework, you are not engaged if you are in a relationship (connection of ideas and discussion) and you are not engaged if you are doing weekly tasks for someone. It is only engagement by connecting the relationship to tasks.Or as the Church used to say “faith without works is dead”
In this model, unless we use some really loose definitions of task and relationship then solidarity, alliance, alignment and accompaniment are not engagement. Learning from another (is that a task or transactional?) This definition makes “issue engagement” focus on a defined set of relationships and tasks. I don’t think that is consistent with my experience.
Getting work done with other people is hard. Getting work done by people that you don’t pay is harder. In this framework, engagement is a proxy for making people work because they like you. Again, I disagree.
It is hard to work with people when you don’t pay them. However, there are lots of reasons for failure outside the relationship/task balance. When you are not paying them, they need to either like the work (you don’t matter) or they like you, or they expect rewards in the future, or the do it because they hate who you are also working against. Are you “engaged” with other people when you are at a rally together but don’t know each other?
Finally, this framework of engagement also seems makes engagement “scarce”. I am struck that engagement in the model is not regenerative. You “discharge” relationship points to get things done and when you are “broke” of relationships you have no capacity to get tasks done together and still be “engaged”.
Engagement is about promise and entanglement. Like one of captains on Star Trek “Engage”. Engagement comes from the “engagement period”. The groups that are great at engagement are the groups that know how to create promise. These groups entangle their allies together close and far with attention and listening and excitement. Those that excel at engagement often align people into action but it is important to unpack and tease farther apart failure to effectively “work” an engaged public in a productive direction and the failure to be successful at engagement.
If you want to build engagement create promise and entangle with your audience (listening, work, learning, accompaniment, campaigns, actions, etc). If you want the engaged group to be productive empower your network leaders to get things done, and invest in the network capacity of the engaged group to share, collaborate, adapt, and act collectively.
I've been thinking about a response to write Malcolm Gladwell's Small Change and his typical "advocacy doesn't happen online" half-hearted probe into causes and movements. However I've been waiting to see if there is another riff out there that I agree with most so I could just re-tweet it and move on.
I have seen some strong rebukes of Gladwell's article but I'm compelled to jump into the fun. I think the bottom line is that Gladwell needs to hang out with more activists (smart guy and great other books).
Not that it matters what us advocates think, but I totally disagree with Gladwell. There will be no revolution that is not supported (and tweeted) by a coordinated advocacy network. The network will leverage the most powerful and accessible tools to communicate persuade and coordinate. The successful movement will use every means possible to connect and synchronize with people who care about an issue. I don't know if Gladwell ever worked on a campaign or part of a movement with a loose network of people to get a policy changed but based on this article I doubt it. I also think he totally confuses deep personal anger and connection with the effects of racism with social ties. I bet there were all kinds of new friendships made in the protests and after not before as he suggests. They were not there for a social event.
First, social networks are not advocacy networks. People who hate each other can work and participate effectively in the same advocacy network. People who hate each other destroy the same social network. Social networks beget social outcomes. Invest in advocacy networks and you get advocacy outcomes. Advocacy networks use social media. Some social networks engage in activism. (Gladwell seriously confuses these concepts.)
All networks have a purpose and a value. The way the network is built sets a norm. Dating networks are sometimes used to create business deals. Sometimes people who work together date. People can use networks for other purposes but sometimes it is creepy. Match.com is not going to solve world hunger. The civil rights advocates were connected to an advocacy network. Facebook is a social network. Twitter is a communication tool. Advocacy networks use these to get things done and connect people together for advocacy.
The civil rights movement did not happen without scale, communications and coordination. It did not happen without synchronizing efforts of people. Yes, it happened without e-mail, Facebook and twitter but who the hell would do this kind of work today without using the best tools available? Shack Dwellers International coordinates with skype and email. I know advocates. We know what activism is. I also know they will use twitter, facebook and email. So yes, the revolution will be tweeted.
Activism is about creating change, shifting power, distributing rights, fighting injustice and waste. Gladwell may think it is about protests, passion, commitment and strong ties. He is simply wrong. Show me a serious force shaping today's culture or politics that is not online? Broadcasting challenges to authority, speaking out against norms, raising consciousness and fighting authority and trends empowers others to do the same. The communication grid in a network fosters a common vision, common language, and distributes ownership of an agenda. Uprisings happened when people speak the truth and are heard. Uprisings are inspired by communication of stories that move people. Networks don't centralize the ownership of the campaign they spread it. The civil rights was a movement because so many were inspired to own it. If Al Gore or any one group "owns" the climate campaign we are sunk. HealthCare reform was a massive network effort fighting very centralized efforts.
The more that people can coordinate on their own, the less they will be victimized. The more we connect resources of attention, money, wisdom and political capital behind these groups and leaders the faster the revolution will happen. It does not matter if those resources come from small donations or large, from one person volunteering for one year or 10,000 for 10 min. each. The opportunity and revolution of our time will be tweeted. We will continue to move deeper into the long-tail of engagement to engage new voices and resources.
Human nature has not changed but our behavior has. That has changed the landscape. I like committed and passionate people. I love the underdog. I'm inspired by those that sacrifice so much for the cause. Can that really be the only way people can achieve revolution? Political donors used to believe that you had to donate thousands of dollars to influence politics. The longtail of political organizing has just started. It is increasingly feasible, powerful and sustainable to act small and coordinate small bits from lots of people. A small bit of passion, money, voice and vote counts. The next revolution is more voices, and groups, and the new ways that people can engage.
The closing paragraphs of Gladwell's article reveal how little Gladwell really gets the subject of change and movements. Advocacy networks use twitter, Facebook, cell phones, blogs, secret handshakes, dances, puppets, rituals, newsletters, whatever. The successful advocacy network engages all ties (weak and strong) to create options for leveraging anything available in the fight. Advocacy networks spread issue ties like "the fever" Gladwell keeps referring to. Social networks are not required by design to grow. Advocacy networks are designed to grow.
Advocacy networks power many types of activities. In a healthy advocacy network, you have core groups planning the really big and complex activities, you have specialist that spread talents around the network and you have "walk-ins" all running experiments and operations to move the agenda forward. Networks don't have a boss but they are filled with leaders. Network means connectivity not leaderless or inept (or efficient ). Networks have varying degrees of "organized clusters " from the example of the Obama 2008 campaign (strong center) to smaller scale examples such as work on gay rights (loose center), the anti-war movement, anti-immigration, pro-migration, tea-party, deaniacs or the many, many which Clay Shirkey brings up.
Healthy networks have a fluid governance (because they are designed to have redundant leadership) but I have never been in quickly operating highly functional network "government by consensus". That's not how networks are governed. In advocacy networks, advocates and resources swarm around success and experiments (think Cindy Sheehan in Crawford TX) Increasingly, they are using communication tools to figure out what is working, learn, share and synchronize. The early successes in the next revolution will be tweeted (put on facebook, etc) the network will swarm around what is working. The next revolution will be tweeted.
Small change matters. The activists networks are getting better everyday at figuring out how to leverage these networks to drive real change. We are getting better on understanding the mechanics of what makes and effective advocacy network and designing new networks for emerging movements.
Seeing the influence of networks on social change requires the right perspective and understanding of advocacy to see what is going on. Gladwell just misses it. He needs to hang out with more activists.
Turning connections into relationships is the essence of “engagement” and we’ll be covering that (a lot) in future posts. In the end, what it really comes down to is practicing much of what we’ve been taught since we were kids. Engagement and building relationships are about “meeting people halfway”... Both sides have to reach out in order to meet each other. It’s a given-and-get world and the sooner we center ourselves in this relating, the happier and more effective we are – both as individuals and as organizations.
2. I am really interested in the idea that both engagement and relationships are scaling virtually.
I forget where I was reading it but I ran across a quote that kept me thinking. human beings are the only species that can make up arbitrary symbols and give them value. Things like art, currency, neighborhoods, brand names, even the concept of the tribe or nation. We make these up. We make them real. They all evolved from something real and tangible but have unique charateristics that allow us to share , move, exhange and trade them.
Just as if you went back to an early silk trader and offered them some google stock or money deposited into a bank they would think we were trying to rip them off. Today, I think there is a similar disconnect of relationship with the symbol of relationship. While this seems like a ripoff to those of us that are used to trading silk. symbols of connection among individuals may open up new opportunities to scale relationship and connection to numbers, cluot, voice and value across borders as never before.
We see the beginning of scaleable human connections now. It may take anther decade or more before we really understand what it means I may take another 10 decades before people actually believe you can be connected to 1 million people do something successful them. However, I don’t see the trend reversing and I feel a lot of optimism about a more connected humanity.
This is worth forwarding. Nice tools for 'listening" to the web.
As organizers, many nonprofits are focused on getting the message "out" but very few have a listening strategy.
1. Addictomatic: This is by far the easiest way to create a listening dashboard for free. Type in a search term and it will generate the latest news, blog posts, videos and even images around the keyword. After it generates results (using a variety of search engines, news sites and social networks) you can personalize the dashboard. Bookmark it and check it daily.
2. Topsy: Part search engine, part social web connector. When you search for something on Topsy, such as “climate change”, Topsy finds daily conversations that match the search term. The results are the items people link to, when discussing your search term via a social network, news website, blog, etc. Topsy ranks results based on how well they match your search terms, and the “influence” of the people tweeting or writing about your issue. Bonus: It links to the conversationalists twitter profiles so you can follow them and engage with them on Twitter.
I have blogged on many eyes in the past. It is a useful tool for generating visualizations of data, text and trends.
There is a capacity to pull together data sets including twitter feeds or government data to tell a complex story in a single image.
The world we live in becomes increasingly digital. Each activity generates a new digital shadow. The challenge to the organizers is to leverage this complex data to learn faster and make the right conclusions based on data trends.
This data driven adaptation of strategy will be the key to successful organizing. (It always has been) The tools to do it well are getting cheaper and more accessible.
Think about the data you have, the stories the data can tell to your organizing team, supporters, the media or your allies. What are the things you learn from your data .
Clay is on fire. Cultures get what they celebrate! What does your campaign and movement celebrate? Are you setting up a movement culture that celebrates sharing, collaboration, collective action and trust? Or are you celebrating donations, staff size, media attention and individual credit? What are the metrics you celebrate in movement building? Are those different than when you focus on legislative outcomes?
There are tons of good riffs in his talk and book. Ways we network the movement will directly position (or not position) civic change leaders to leverage these dynamics. It never happens by accident. In each case it took leaders to build the network, support the network and drive the network to produce. Usually, they were different leaders and each had different skills and focus.
If you are interested in that approach, here's a couple of tips. First, try to show users something as soon as possible. In an ideal world they arrive at your page and immediately see a graph that tells them something interesting about themselves or something they relate too. Typically this isn't achievable, but at the very least have a single step where they enter an email address, twitter name, etc and then within a few seconds get some information. You should also show an example of what they will get on the landing page. These techniques reduced my bounce rate massively, never overestimate people's patience, you constantly need to be convincing them to spend time navigating your site.
The second key is presenting your statistics in an actionable way. If you can not only tell a user something interesting, but cause them to do something based on that information, then your chances of a repeat visit shoot way up. Feedburner has an 'Optimize' tab that guides you through ways of increasing your traffic. I found that changing from just showing your most-frequently-contacted friends to sending a report of the people you used to talk to and haven't for a while ('Losing touch report') and giving them a link to email each person alongside the list turned it from an 'oh, that's nice' to a must-have.
This is smart.
Your data strategy must a.) provide value to the user immediately. b.) data and visualizations in an actionable way.
In an advocacy context, I would suggest that good data visualizations create a common focus point (inspire discussion), set a common language (visually based on what data you display) and give them options to engage each other because of common or opposing understandings of the data.
I like these tools to help tell the story. This widget misses a few important tweaks that would make it more valuable for both the user and PBS.
1. Sign up for updates on this story. (Name recruitment for PBS). Thank you emails should have links to charities and actions in them.
2. Donate to news coverage of the gulf coast spill. (short video talking about the cost of covering the story)
3. The logo link to news hour should be all the Gulf spill coverage NOT the homepage.
4. Tell your story of the Gulf like this..link5. Watch the Mos Def the Gulf Aid track, 'Ain't My Fault.' http://bit.ly/acApvO#mb
There are big drivers afoot shifting civic organizing again. These forces are going to be as trans formative as the web was and initial email. The forces are mobile and data.
You need to be developing strategies today that:
a. capture data
b. position you to leverage the data you capture to deliver service to users.
c. integrate this personalized information product with social and mobile media channels.
There are lots of reasons "why". and even more ways "how". It is a process I am working on right now with clients and campaigns I care about. Unfortunately, very few organizations or social movements are working on serious strategies that are going to line up with the coming wave of changes in content will be delivered.
I ran across this quote "Organizations should refocus their attention on personalizing content and disseminating news through mobile devices" - Eric Schmitt @ Google.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/35649.html#ixzz0nanfhl4Z
It is interesting to think about.
This looks like a very cool service that focuses on generating a "newspaper" from the links and stories in a twitter feed and from the feeds of those that follow a feed. It seems like it could have a great potential as a single update on a network of activitity. For groups working on issues this would work well if.
a. Main source (twitter account) links to the daily clips, actions and videos on an issue.
b. The main source follows all the members in the coalition and regularly retweets their news reports and actions.
c. The main source only approves followers that are in the coalition. (can we even do that anymore?)
The resulting "paper" would be tight and focused on the issues related to the campaign. With Google ads (grants) the calls to action and focusing on retweeting the videos the page could becomevery useful in coalition work. Just a few small tweaks (allogn others to embed sections, or adding navigation wrapping around the page and it would be a very robust hub for a coalition.
One of our missions at The Community Roundtable is to further the discipline of community management – not just in our own community but more broadly in the marketplace. Our first effort to define the discipline is our Community Maturity Model:
This model does two things. First, it defines the eight competencies we think are required for successful community management. Second, it attempts – at a high level – to articulate how these competencies progress from organizations without community management that are still highly hierarchical to those that have embraced a networked business ecosystem approach to their entire organization.
This is brilliant. I like the elements and the focus on building toward a network. Building networks can be intentional and be defined in a series of steps.
I am sure all networks are not "mature communities". I am also sure all functional networks are not "communities". However, the ideas and elements are good and worth looking over.
There is one significant failure. The network misses "feedback mechanisms." In other stages, leaders can look at the metrics to shape the direction and learning. In the network phase of distributed leadership, those leaders need "distributed leadership tools" or universally accessible feedback mechanisms so that any partipant can "see" what is working and what is not.