Network-Centric & Alinsky

Network Rules for Radicals.... I have been cooking ideas of how to mashup the Rules for Radicals and network-centric advocacy for a few years. The puzzle lies in front of us "the rules" are scattered on one side of the desk and papers the "network attributes and components" are on the laptop sitting on the other side of the desk.

I find myself struggling to combine and remix Alinsky rules to contexts that bridge transnational organizing, extreme poverty, new social networks and digital culture. The scale of connectivity and tempo of life, campaigning, attention cycles and change are different today but the core levers of power are based on the same principals Alinsky teased out over a life time of hell raising.

I look at "the rules", the network culture, the most modern warfare strategy and the traditional gurus that struggle to create our modern movement of NGO's and I can not yet make them meet.

How do we best help the powerless and pissed be creative find power and voice to demand change. Where do our legacy organizing power meet todays disenfranchised? where is the powerful connective tissue between networks of people? It is not just the churches Alinsky organized but in hidden dark matter of our social space.

Where does the modern body politic connect? How do folks polarize in a world that refuses walls?

When does the new technology and professionalism serve to keep us in "our expertise and not our enemy" and when does it alinate and scare the very base we need to organize? What does constant pressure look like in the world of ADD? This clip may be the first link... Link: Alinsky.

In the closing chapter of Rules for Radicals, he calls upon radicals to "return to the suburban scene...with its PTA's, League of Women Voters, consumer groups, churches, and clubs. Search out the leaders...identify their major issues, find areas of common agreement, and excite their imagination with tactics that can introduce drama and adventure into the tedium of middle-class life."

Many of the 600 posts here are snippits that find the drama and adventure of change and genuinely connect the participants into the struggle. Netcentric campaigns are not point and clicktivism.

This is not make a donation activism strategy is about leaning into the network of people tied together by billions of investments in communications, internet and transportation and asking them to meet, asking them to talk, asking them to participate and lead.

This new organizing in the age of connectivity is about the fear of power that is not pre-assembled but about projecting the fear that power can be built on the fly. This is about youtube ridicule that is fun and viral. This is about making transparent the rules that they must abide by as well as their mistakes being public at a level that Alinsky could not imagine in the 60's and 70s.

There are still strategy struggles before we write the network for radicals guide but we can see the future and I am curious to see how we can build the new movement for peace, new economy, new justice and new healthy planet. peeks at the stories that say there is something new out there... building health networks (here) (here) connecting the homeless The fear of power on the fly (how can you reach half a million people) Staying power of fun campaigns ....The connections between old and new strategy are there. New strategy in a new culture with similar core threats. 

The Agitator – Screening Process for Evangelist : Social Market

This post got me thinking….

How Find Your Missionaries | The Agitator - Fundraising, Direct Marketing and Advocacy Strategies for Nonprofits

How do I find out which of my missionary prospects has the "right stuff"? Until we have a scoring model that can pre-identfy these folks in a donor file (something our partner DonorTrends is working on) I guess there’s no substitute … I have to ask or "test" them!

So, I’d come up with a simple missionary request for my prospects (actually, a few requests over time to really probe my prospect pool) … something that involved outreach — such as passing along a message or sending in a prospect name. The donors who responded would be my missionaries. …I’d then attempt to "graduate" them to some explicit donor-to-friend fundraising promotion. I’d conduct as much of this program online as possible, using the latest viral marketing and social networking tools. And I’d create a recognition program to keep my missionaries motivated.

This is good but I think most groups are missing the deep outreach to new members.  The people likely to be “missionaries” are the “sneezers”  which has more to do with the rank in a social group, the topic area and personality type.  In “grapevine” there was talk that it is the new members that are your most likely evangelist.  They just “found you” and eager to tell friends of the “new experience”.    Social marketing is not about donors and loyalty.  It is about buzz. i don’t think the process outlined really gets at the evagelism you seek.

I would start mining the data of new people that arrive.  Focus on the tools and behavior that the new people engage in and and make sure they have the tools they need to “invite” friedns and keep confident that connecting with your cause or group was a great idea.  

Focus on launching services to as existing base and see how they pick up and open issues and then see if i could get them to perform.   I would focus more resources on the “new customers” that are just coming to you for whatever reason and understand why your group is attractive in the current context.   Getting old members that joined 5 years ago to give you a few nnames is fine but I don’t think it is going to be the approach that will give you the best ROI. Tags: ,,
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The New Assumptions : Plans for the Economic Crisis

At this stage, it is clear that nonprofit and advocacy groups are also headed for extraordinarily difficult financial times. The cash crunch for the advocacy movement will be as bad as we can imagine and far worse than we can easily manage. We need a plan for how to remain effective.

We should all begin to operate with new assumptions:

1. We are going to be poorer nation. We are going to have less money to work with and we are going to be paying off debts and expenses for years to come. We must squeeze value out of every asset we have built or purchased.The decline in the national economy is going to reduce the cash flow into the advocacy movement by between 20 and 50 percent. Almost every organization will lose staff. The progressive advocacy movement at the end of 2010 will look very different from the movement at the end of 2008. all the best "recovery plans do not really mean "go back to 2007" they mean avoid 1929.

2. Unlike large, centrally managed corporations, the movement is going to dissolve in unpredictable and erratic ways. The sector’s many externalities, as well as its unregulated and dysfunctional reward and punishment systems, will bring about a rapid, non-linear unraveling of capacity. This means that the most effective groups might not survive, and the least effective groups will not automatically disappear. Nor is there a model to predict which group, partner, campaign staff, or policy wonk is going to be around next month. No one knows what regional offices national groups will close. The groups are not coordinating reductions. The talent and assets that remain are going to be scattered across the landscape. The movement will be left with a bunch of loose threads. The economic crash is going to require a sustained effort to repair and reconnect these threads--the elements of our movement--in order to continue to mount successful campaigns.

3. The deepening recession, environmental changes, political shifts, technological evolution and the ongoing wars will combine to create movement toward rapid change and cultural instability. There will be a quickening of political, cultural and individual behavioral change. For at least two years, the federal government is going to be dominated by Democrats. They are going to be able to move legislation and government action quickly on issues like health care, energy and public works. Opportunities to influence significant events and policies are going to come in tighter and more intense waves.

These assumptions will drive the way leaders in the nonprofit sector plan their organizational budgets. In the advocacy and social change movement, however, we rely on networks in addition to organizations to lead and drive change. Just as managers are creating plans for their organizations, the networks need plans to rationally deal with the reductions in overall capacity while also capitalizing on the opportunities that these disruptions will produce. We need something that is not “more of the same,” only smaller.

If we can ask the energy industry to remake itself, if we can ask health care industry to transform, if we can assume the auto industry will be totally different ...where is the vision for our own sector?

The network plan should take advantage of the technology and organizing tools developed in the last several years to manage a constructive reorganization and establish a new model for organizing that is smarter and more effective than the current model primarily dominated by large silos of competing institutions.

Join the planning discussion over on a wiki I set up to kick start the conversations

Notes inspired by Harold Katzmir (FAS)

I was recently in an amazing session/discussion with Harold Katzmir of FAS research. Harold a started talking about his experience and some of the network theory around "energy" that he has been developing. At one point, he summarized work in one slide where he said to "save a network" you can:

  1. increase the flow
  2. decrease the complexity
  3. increase the networks ability to do aggregation.


It is great to look at these three things that need to be done. We can think about ways to increase the flows in the advocacy networks. We can spell out a series of ways to decrease the complexity in our networks. And, we can find ways to increase the aggregation power of our advocacy networks.


We have to think about what are the things that flow in an advocacy network. Flows could be money, trust, data, information, reputation, intellectual property, media and multimedia assets, opportunity or vision, energy, time and skills. Those are the good things that flow in the network I would assume that the opposite of those would also flow across the network including hatred, debt, lies, confusion, etc.


If we are working to "save the network" and we can not put more money into the network, we can put other flows in like information, trust, reputation, intellectual property, the vision, energy, time, and skills. It is these flows that will sustain our networks through the economic crisis.


The second part of his challenge is to look at the things that would decrease complexity. In the network-centric advocacy model, we generally talk about elements of feedback, leadership, shared vision, shared language, better communications channels and resource sharing. The building of each of the elements make a network function. Each serves to decrease the complexity because the rules, the language, the throughput and outcomes, the words and the pathways through the network, become clearer to everyone.


Decreasing complexity and increasing aggregation, are directly related to the ability to streamline and organize. If we want to increase aggregation, then we have to have feedback mechanisms to allow the participants in the network to see each other's transactions and activities, we have to have a capacity to harvest resources across the network. We have to have the ability to synchronize intellectual property, synchronize time contributions, synchronize money, and synchronize vision.


Much of the work in the coaching and the training and network design that we view as around finding new flows, streamlining network complexity, and aggregating network power.


I really enjoy anytime I get to spend with Harold and his team. The theory behind his work is brilliant. (Check out an FAS presentation)

The Network Changes Everything..

The centrality of group effort to human life means that anything that changes the way groups function will have profound ramifications for everything from commerce and government to media and religion. Page 16 Here Comes Everybody – Clay Shirky


This is just one of the many lines that I have made notes on in my copy of Clay's book. I struggled for a while, feeling like the guy with a hammer who sees everything as a nail. I could understand that once I had started playing around with the network organizing principles why it just seems so pervasive. Clay's book does a good job at nailing my perspective. So much of what we do as people spins out from our social nature. We built networks because we must. Networks are our survival mechanisms. We are in some ways like ants evolving over 10,000 years to become highly colonized hives of people colonized living in an ecosystem with other networks of people. These changes in creating and managing networks, the reduction in barriers to participation in the network, and the new scales of networks are changing everything.


It is uncomfortable to say that the networks change everything but they do. They are in the process of rebooting our global commerce system, our religions, the way we fight, the way we produce food, the way we manage our security, the ways we do our accounting of our friends, and the way we stay in touch with the people that matter most to us.


We are add a transition point in the rebooting process, we still have many parts of the network that have not "migrated" and the role of some of us ants is to get busy connecting and wiring the new system.

Road Runner or Wile E Coyote?

One of my board members recently sent me a note that analogized the financial situation to the “Wile E Coyote Effect.”

You might remember the coyote running along and not realizing that he has run off the cliff.  He keeps running suspended magically by denial. He stops, feels around his feet for the ground, and then looks down to find the ground has disappeared beneath him.

As nonprofit leaders, here we stand. Some of us are stopped on the edge of the cliff, some have kept running and are suspended way out over the cliff, and some of us are holding the anvil over our heads. 

Our movement has received a lot of our 2008 budget that has the Economic Crisis hit us so late in the year it is difficult for us to act fairly project 2009 budgets.  additionally there is a lot of confusing information circulating out there on how philanthropy changes in an economic crisis.

The big overall studies are misleading to people in the advocacy and campaign space. In 2001, the last big recession the crash was created in part by terrorism. The philanthropy and overall numbers of giving stayed neutral or went up because people gave more to 9/11 relief funds and they started going to church in huge numbers again.   I would be interested in more studies that tease out the type of giving targeted at anything except advocacy and campaign related donations during previous economic downturns. 

I'm focused on this because I believe it is really important to networks.The entire movement is not going to go out of business. Many of our groups are not go out of business. There may even be a growth in the number of groups that are formed as people with the skills get laid-off from larger groups, and there are very low barriers to starting groups, and the tools that they have in a new start up are identical to the ones that they had in the large institution. The movement may go the number of groups engaged in the advocacy. In places where there is money, we will see a swarming towards it. Some of that swarming will come from large institutions that shift message or mission or creep over to grab market share of the money that exist or the available people who are laid off from these other institutions will set up new brands in the niche to compete for money. 

Focused on the aggregate number because there will be a network effect associated with the economic downturn. Most managers can handle a reduction from 20 up to 40%. It is hard, but with focus on the books and asking everyone to contribute a manager teams really squeeze an organization on travel budgets, new purchases, staff layoffs, benefit reductions, meeting cost, new initiatives and cut program expansions.  It is painful but it is manageable. just like the American banks were able to hold back money, reduce their exposure to risk, and cut costs.

The problem is that if everyone goes through this at the same time within a particular network you can create a network collapse which exacerbates the problem. if you are running a national campaign on park funding and you work with it coalition or network of thousands groups, or 100 groups. With each one contributing several hours of staff time per month to the campaign, how do you manage a reduction of 20 to 40% when you are not in charge of which resources stay and which ones go? how do you manage when you don't know which of the 40 people out of the hundreds that you work with, are not to be here next month for your big campaign? 

These are the network effects of a downturn and the overall numbers are the numbers that matter when you're thinking about network planning.

There are going to be great opportunities for change in 2009. In the economic crisis will create opportunities and create problems. It will create these problems and opportunities for groups and for our networks.

On the network level, are we prepared to take advantages of the opportunities that will emerge for our advocacy networks because of the downturn?   On the network level, do we have a plan to avoid the obstacles that this crisis will create?

My sense is that there is a lot of thinking around how to take advantage of the network opportunities but there is little planning or thinking around mitigating the network effects of the downturn.

join the planning conversation. (it is a wetpaint wiki site)

Network-centric advocacy and organizing meets New government

The NYTimes moment has arrived.

The network and the movement combined to set a new standard for organizing . We might even see network-centric government. A government that creates and fosters social ties among its people. A government that helps establish peer to peer communication around the biggest issues and challenges. A government that creates shared resources that can be mixed and reused. A government that provides open transparency and feedback data that people throughout society can use to to identify important societal trends. A government that welcomes outside leadership and engagement. A government that realizes that the answers to its challenges are not in the handful of expert staff but distributed in the power and skills of the people it serves.

A government not focused on the survival of one player, one lobby or one interest group but a government that embraces the roll as a network organizer. Not reaching out to get others with only options to "Join or donate" but one that offers engagement, leadership and the ability to really influence outcomes to all participants.

Network-centric governance and leadership.

“I think it is very significant that he was the first post-boomer candidate for president,” Mr. Andreessen said. “Other politicians I have met with are always impressed by the Web and surprised by what it could do, but their interest sort of ended in how much money you could raise. He was the first politician I dealt with who understood that the technology was a given and that it could be used in new ways.” The juxtaposition of a networked, open-source campaign and a historically imperial office will have profound implications and raise significant questions. Special-interest groups and lobbyists will now contend with an environment of transparency and a president who owes them nothing. The news media will now contend with an administration that can take its case directly to its base without even booking time on the networks.

Benkler on TED

I have said it before Yochai Benkler is my hero. (hard to read ..better to watch)

This is a good background on the foundation of what trends are really playing with modern movement organizing. Network-centric advocacy stems from exactly the trends that Yochai introduces here. As Benkler's ides sink in it transforms the way you think about organizing and what is possible.

The challenge for the movement is to think about network production and social change endeavors. The model of radical distributed campaigns are just taking shape in our sector. Long-term campaigns built deliberately around network organizing are just being contemplated by the leaders in our sector.

The web and these networks are going to transform social change movements but not just in fundraising. It could easily be argued that in America today our successful social movements are not dealing with a scarcity problem from a lack of resources (ask AARP).

Money was a problem in social movements. Organizing solved this problem and focused on addressing the scarcity of money (both Presidential opted out of public financing) by compiling small donations.

As time of supporters becomes scarce in political and social organizing the challenge and opportunity for the sectors is to collect smaller parts and build them into something wonderful.

Work for me? I am picking up entry level staff and interns.

If you tune in here often (the 86+ of you), you might find this job really fun and interesting.

We have been picking up quite a bit of work in line with training people on the concepts of network-centric advocacy and we are providing partners with direct support, online training and strategy services. I am looking to grow this part of my work at Green Media Toolshed over the next few years.

Hopefully, in the next few months I can bring on a few people interested in this work, train them and work with them over the next several years to build the Netcentric Campaigns Division of Green Media Toolshed. I am looking for great staff that want to get into the real work of networking the movement. Please check out the job and pass it on to friends that are interested in a great job in DC.

Network Advocacy Coordinator

Small Group Dynamics. Small is better because factions can not survive? Nope.

There are some interesting assumptions in this theory of the "inefficiency coefficient." I think physicswold has it wrong (how often do we get to say that?)

Stefan Turner says that inefficiency goes up when there are enough people to support independent coalitions and factions. That seems to make sense, but it should be universal across government, private sector, and public interest sectors.

However, as the barriers to coordination go down, it would seem that smaller coalitions and factions will be able to sustain themselves with less energy (need less people to maintain a viable faction then in 1933). We have actually observed increased fragmentation and increased inefficiency which is the opposite of what the big theory and conclusion would suggest.

This methodology doesn't make sense to me. There are other things at play. It is as if the indicators for success and the political systems that demand large cabinetes (include more people because the culture is deeply fragmented) are conflicting rather than any proof in the magic of the 20 people to a group. It may be something even more fundamental to human nature people are less willing to question authority in bigger groups? People less will to challenge leadership in larger group settings? Leaders less willing to throw open questions and reverse thier opinions in larger groups?

Less perfect information would lead to worse decisions not group size. Close the doors on opinions and limiting the seats of power as a way to make better government choices would only make sense to physics and math guy.

The real challenge then is to look for the ways to scale small group dynamic. To access the wisdom of the crowd and scale effective coordination using better communicaiton skills and technology.

Or you could tell the EU to limit committee size... Are they actually buying that?

Physicists quantify the 'coefficient of inefficiency' -

Parkinson, who died in 1993, discovered a strong correlation between a committee’s ability to make a good decision, and its size. In particular, Parkinson found that committees with more than about 20 members are much more ineffectual at making decisions than smaller groups — something he dubbed the “coefficient of inefficiency”.

While many organizations are aware of the 20 person rule, Thurner and colleagues had not been able to find any reference to a mathematical explanation of the coefficient. So they set out to first empirically verify Parkinson’s law and then develop a mathematical model to describe

Tag cloud and analysis of 952 ProgressiveExchange emails. (what has this list been talking about in a glance.)

I have a killer project in the works. I am not sure Net2 application and/or presentation does the project justice.Progressexhange_folder

The Advocacy Email Index will change the way we scan emails and understand the movements. Who wants to be on our our allies email list? This project will help us scan and navigate thousands of emails more easily. Users will figure out new ways to find allies and swarm issues.

I want to know what all the groups at Green Media Toolshed are talking about (clients, or peace movement, yada..yada) Green Media Toolshed has 194 member groups. I wish I knew what issues they are working on today, this week, over the last year. What is important to them? What are they discussion with their members in email? I want to know so I can swarm on issues and support folks. I want help our members network better and self-organize on issues. I need a technorotti or digg for the issues of the movement.

My inbox is full and I can't seem to read newsletters fast enough. Our best content is in our enewsletters. I need to be able to process email faster. I might know more about training needs, expertise and partnership opportunities. I need to know the words and trends in my network. (images of progressive exchange - inbox folder and tag cloud. It is all email subjects since Jan 1. What does it tell you?


The Advocacy Email Index
will identify key words used in emails to members. We need to know who is talking about what, and where. By illustrating the community “chatter”, this tool will empower messaging, appeals and issue framing. It will help our disconnected and fragmented movement swarm.

Vote for it. Pop it on net2 and we will get it finished.

We also ran on Center for American Progress emails....over on our blog.

A better title would also be great. (comments)

PreOrder: Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

Clay has pulled together a solid theory of organizing and networks. I can not wait for the new book and hope everyone picks up a copy. He is a solid leader in the space and has thrown down a new set of case studies and frames for thinking about what make networks function.

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations .

A revelatory examination of how the wildfire-like spread of new forms of social interaction enabled by technology is changing the way humans form groups and exist within them, with profound long-term economic and social effects-for good and for ill

A handful of kite hobbyists scattered around the world find each other online and collaborate on the most radical improvement in kite design in decades. A midwestern professor of Middle Eastern history starts a blog after 9/11 that becomes essential reading for journalists covering the Iraq war. Activists use the Internet and e-mail to bring offensive comments made by Trent Lott and Don Imus to a wide public and hound them from their positions. A few people find that a world-class online encyclopedia created entirely by volunteers and open for editing by anyone, a wiki, is not an impractical idea. Jihadi groups trade inspiration and instruction and showcase terrorist atrocities to the world, entirely online. A wide group of unrelated people swarms to a Web site about the theft of a cell phone and ultimately goads the New York City police to take action, leading to the culprit's arrest.

With accelerating velocity, our age's new technologies of social networking are evolving, and evolving us, into new groups doing new things in new ways, and old and new groups alike doing the old things better and more easily. You don't have to have a MySpace page to know that the times they are a changin'. Hierarchical structures that exist to manage the work of groups are seeing their raisons d'être swiftly eroded by the rising technological tide. Business models are being destroyed, transformed, born at dizzying speeds, and the larger socialimpact is profound.

One of the culture's wisest observers of the transformational power of the new forms of tech-enabled social interaction is Clay Shirky, and Here Comes Everybody is his marvelous reckoning with the ramifications of all this on what we do and who we are. Like Lawrence Lessig on the effect of new technology on regimes of cultural creation, Shirky's assessment of the impact of new technology on the nature and use of groups is marvelously broad minded, lucid, and penetrating; it integrates the views of a number of other thinkers across a broad range of disciplines with his own pioneering work to provide a holistic framework for understanding the opportunities and the threats to the existing order that these new, spontaneous networks of social interaction represent

Here is Clay ..riffing on space.

RSS for nonprofit staff. Why?

Tuesday Tips: Why Nonprofit Managers Must Use RSS ... And How to Start | DemocracyInAction

You're not getting information -- about your cause, about your people, about your profession -- efficiently enough, which means you're not getting enough information, period.

And someone else is getting that information, or will be soon.

* Someone eyeballing your job.
* Or your press release.
* Or your grant application.
* Someone competing with you for your constituents.
* Or someone competing with your constituency for influence.

They'll know when someone writes about your issue or blogs about your cause or has something to say about your organization, and know it without refreshing dozens of links and scouring dozens of mailing lists so their hands are free for the other hundred things they have to do.

Distributed Research: needs 43 phone calls to track Hill staff

your chance to do some old fashioned, person-to-person reporting: Call
up a lobbying firm and verify that we have indeed identified a former
congressional insider who's moved on to K Street. We give you a really
simple script, and an easy way to record your efforts. Just click here to get started.

Where Are They Now? Staffers Needing Verification

These staff members still need researchers like you to verify them. A call typically only takes a minute and helps ensure our research is as accurate as possible.

Online Organizing: Social Network Study of Race and Use Clusters of Myspace or Facebook based on Incoming Class at Northwestern

Kudos danah boyd

We get asked questions about social network sites and use all the time. This is a great peak not just at the social network services sector overall but this article looks at some key infomation about the different groups each online social network attracts and a good discussion around the issues on why that may be occurring.

Link: Whose Space? Differences Among Users and Non-Users of Social Network Sites.

his study has considered how people's demographic characteristics and the social surroundings of their uses might relate to the particular social network sites they embrace. When SNS usage statistics are considered in the aggregate, the results only show a relationship of gender to SNS use, in addition to the importance of context of use and experience with the medium. However, when specific site usage is considered, statistically significant relationships emerge between race and ethnicity and SNS uses, in addition to the predictive power of parental education.

In particular, Hispanic students are significantly more likely to use MySpace than are Whites in the sample, while Asian and Asian American students are significantly less likely to use MySpace. Additionally, the latter group is much more likely to use Xanga and Friendster than are Whites, a practice that may be due to these services' popularity in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia (boyd & Ellison, this issue), where—given the immigrant nature of the sample—many students may have extended family and friends from earlier parts of their lives.

Regarding parental education, students whose parents have lower levels of schooling are more likely to be MySpace users, whereas students whose parents have higher levels of education are more likely to be Facebook users. These associations are not evident when aggregating all social network site usage, probably because the various relationships cancel each other out.

The goal of this article was to compare SNS users and non-users; the findings suggest some systematic differences in who chooses to spend time on such sites and who does not. Importantly, the findings also suggest that different populations select into the use of different services, posing a challenge to research that tends to collapse use of all social network sites. Most studies that look at SNS uses focus on one service only. The findings presented in this article suggest caution when generalizing findings from the use of one site to the use of other related services. A significant finding of the study is that aggregated SNS use statistics hide important differences concerning usage preferences within a diverse sample of users by specific site. Simply looking at, for example, whether race and ethnicity are related to SNS use suggests that there are no differences across groups. However, once specific site usage is disaggregated in the analyses, significant divergences emerge. Insofar as use of Facebook is qualitatively different from the use of MySpace, and these uses in turn are different from the uses of Xanga and Friendster, recognizing and critically considering these differences is important for SNS use research, regardless of the methods of analysis used.

Lessons from Online Community Summit « Connectable Dots

This is worth going over on how to keep online community healthy and engage new members. Gail started "the Well" and is pushing out notes from Forum One's Community Conference.

Link: Lessons from Online Community Summit « Connectable Dots.

xamples of high barrier to entry include — Social networking for doctors: Trusted by physicians because they look up your license to admit you to hang around with other doctors. (That’s way tougher than The WELL!)

* Research on collaboration implies designers should assign challenging specific goals!

This was tested at the research project at the Movie Lens site. The site’s goal was to get lots of user-rated movies.

* Don’t just ask to “please rate as many as you can” but ask people for specific targets: please rate 10 this week was compared to please rate 30; 90; 120. PROVEN: a specific goal is preferable, and a higher goal works even better so long as it is doable. (A drop off in contributions was seen when they asked for 120 movie ratings in a week. Most likely this was seen as impossible. Researchers expected a softer goal to keep the group happier and performing better, but saw the higher but not impossible goal of 90 yielded the best outcome.)

An audience question was asked about aggregate goals for group (Moveon, etc) From research on NPR fundraising, etc. aggregate goals DO help. Tell what others are donating or accomplishing … but tell about the 90th percentile, not top 10% of donors.

* Speculation from the researchers anticipated that people will shirk work that is assigned collectively to a group but the opposite effect was seen. An arbitrary group membership was announced to users. The other group members were unseen, there was no feedback or ability to observe the group’s work independently. Still, in this arbitrary group members showed loyalty to making the group succeed, and did better compared to those not told they were in a group.

* If you’ve got some kind of karma rating, when you show people at the bottom how they compare to median they will move up. (unless it looks impossible)

* If you tell top producers that they are excellent they will do less. (But they may do something different and even more special if challenged to do that.)

(He shared the amusing tidbit that Psych research (where deception is required in almost any test) and Economics research (where there is no deception allowed) were the two study types merged for this study. The solution: Selective truth. No lies used, but no whole truth was told to various sample groups.)

On welcoming newcomers:

* What happens in response to a first post or any initial contribution matters

* Getting a human response makes a 12% difference in retention.

* The tone of the response does not matter! Fights, praise, whatever!

* Accuracy of information in the response does not matter either! Response creates stickiness.

The Hawthorn effect is a problem in studying this stuff, too. (That’s from an old AT&T study in the 20s. More lighting = better productivity; then less lighting also = more productivity! One might cite the Hawthorn effect as a reason for redesigns, actually.)

Google Presentations: Tell a Story Together: Network Presentations

I am really big into presentations. I like to use them to communicate and interact with an audience. I think many of the presentations nonprofit groups and campaign do stink. I am a huge fan of Andy Goodman and Edward Tufte.

It seemed like the space had not yet really hit any new developments since powerpoint came along. I think most the bullet talk with powerpoint is not really a good thing anyway. However, slides with photos and images to accompany a good story, along with extensive handouts can not be beat as a way to communicate a messages and ideas.

Now Google has launched Google Presentations. Work on them together. Share them with others present them online. VERY COOL. It will change my work.

To start one go to google documents and hit NEW -> PRESENTATION... and you are on your way. Lets see if I can start posting some more of my presentation materials on the blog.

Birdcinema: New way to build birding community!

how are the groups you are working on lands conservation, birding, habitat conservation posting something visual and compelling out there? Why was a private company vs. big birding groups the first to launch user generated content site like this? This is beautiful. Figure out how to get conservation ads on this site.

I need to dig around on the web and figure out how to hack a channel like this out of youtube or rever functionality integrated with a simple site to create the same effect.

Pew Press Release on Internet Coverage and Use

This is all Pew.

I expect to need to quote and point to these stats again when presenting culture changes to the advocacy community leaders. Unfortunately, our leaders and strategists too often seem to fall in the final 41% (but then again they also usually don't watchTv and know what OMB stands for Office of Management and Budget....)

Food for thought from Pew...

Fully 85% of American adults use the internet or cell phones – and most use both.

8% of adults exploit the connectivity, the capacity for self expression, and the interactivity of modern information technology.

Fully half of adults have a more distant or non-existent relationship to modern information technology.

Some of this diffidence is driven by people’s concerns about information overload; some is related to people’s sense that their gadgets have more capacity than users can master; some is connected to people’s sense that things like blogging and creating home-brew videos for YouTube is not for them; and some is rooted in people’s inability to afford or their unwillingness to buy the gear that would bring them into the digital age.

8% of the adult population – contains long-time and frequent online users who don’t like the extra availability that comes with ICTs.

10% of the population – expresses worries about information overload and doesn’t see ICTs helping their personal productivity.

8% of Americans are by any measure deeply involved with Web 2.0 activities, such as blogging, sharing creations online, or remixing digital content.

8% occasionally take advantage of interactivity, but if they had more experience and connectivity, they might do more. They are late adopters of the internet. Few have high-speed connections at home.

15% have some technology, but it does not play a central role in their daily lives. They like how information technology makes them more available to others and helps them learn new things.

11% indifferent despite having either cell phones or online access, these users find connectivity annoying.

15% with neither cell phones nor internet connectivity tend to be older adults. few of them have computers or digital cameras, but they are content with old media.

The interesting question does not stop there but goes deeper to look at who are the influencers in all age groups and segments of society. Where are the influentials in new markets on these? Do the old people that are "off the grid" often turn to more "wired" peers or younger crowd for information and services. (my mom would self report in the last categories but she turns to all her kids and students as the final sneakernet bridge to connect her to information culture. Conversely, how much do the most active 8% produce "self-expression" content for others that don't fall in that category?

The Long Sunday Mass: Organizers and Blogim Stori (Storytelling Blog)

Here is an interesting thread of insight for organizers who work in "oral cultures" including of us that work in environmental advocacy, worker rights, health, politics and other communities. We have seen the themes of this storytelling blog play out again and again in community meetings across the US.

The "professionals and organizers" want to keep the meeting short and punchy while the "old church ladies" (which includes people that are also young or male) want to gab and gab. They want to tell a story that seems like a crazy ramble. They want to make the audience listen. They can go on and on with an endless story of why they are there. People want to be heard at length and it drives the "professionals" nuts.

This blog post on Blogim Stori is a note of respect for the nonlinear ramblers....Here is a really interesting riff on the redundancy that is a finding from research on story telling in oral cultures.

"Once redundancy characterizes oral thought and speech, it is in a profound sense more natural to thought and speech than is sparse linearity. Sparse linear or analytic thought and speech are artificial creations, structured by the technology of writing.... With writing, the mind is forced into a slowed-down pattern that affords it the opportunity to interfere with and recognize its more normal, redundant processes."

Kudos to Mark and Shawn for the find.

When you are in community meetings the issue people feel and story creation needs time to breathe. The frustration and anger and outrage needs time to "catch fire". The redundancy of local community leaders baffles the "professionals" but in reality they are working in a way that is most wired into the way we learn as a species in oral histories.

I used to wonder why church in Jamaica took 3 hours. The old priest used to say when it takes an hour to walk there and an hour to walk home in the sun it better take more than 20 min for the priest to talk about god. In truth, there may be something deeper about the way summons go "on and on". They are organizing through story telling in oral cultures. The literacy rate is low and audience needs time to index and organize the stories. the audience needs time to redundant telling of the same stories to create mental pathways for the information to stick.

The truth is maybe these great grassroots leaders go on and on because it works and ultimately in oral cultures it is the most efficient way to communicate effectively. Anyway it is a cool thread of paths to explore.

Citizen Journalism - connecting with those who are doing it. : Training for Green MEdia Toolshed folks.

At Green Media Toolshed (GMT) we are hosting a skill building training: Citizen Journalism - connecting with those who are doing it. The event will be online and at my office. There are a few extra seats open as of today so if you are in DC please let us know at GMT.

The training is on Wednesday, May 16th, at 3pm EST. It should be great because we are focusing on citizen journalism, the act of citizens "playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information." You can read more about this in We Media's report on how audiences are shaping the future of news and information: Citizen journalists are looking to provide accurate, independent and reliable information to their audiences.

The training will focus on the current diversity of citizen journalism efforts, the citizen journalism mindset, and how environmental advocacy organizations can work more effectively with citizen journalists. the trainer is Amy Gahran, a media consultant, journalist, editor, and entrepreneur based in Boulder, Colorado. She's covered energy and environmental issues for various news organizations and think tanks for nearly 20 years. She's also worked extensively with the Society of Environmental Journalists since that group's inception. She's been working mainly in online media since 1998, when she launched, an early weblog on content issues for online media. She also blogs on conversational/social media issues. In addition, Amy blogs for several clients -- currently she edits the Poynter Institute's group weblog E-Media Tidbits. Amyportrait

In the last few years, Amy has gotten deeply involved with the emerging realm of citizen journalism. She and business partner and longtime journalist Adam Glenn co-founded IReporter-- a project to engage, guide, and train citizen journalists and the media/communication professionals who work with them. Amy and Adam also recently launched a grant-funded pro/community journalism project on an environmental topic,

Call GMT if you want to sign up (Yvonne is coordinating the head count and GMT members get best service.)

Mashup: Don't Fight the Internet : Advocacy and Political Organizing

This Link: O'Reilly Radar > Web 2.0 Compact Definition: Trying Again. has kick started another level of thinking about network-centric advocacy and organizing in the age of connectivity.

We are not after profits but social change. We are not building software companies but advocacy and political engines.

What is the meaning of "the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform." in advocacy and political contexts? Who is the network?(the people and the social, issue and brand bonds among them) and how can the people be "the platform" for change? (we become a functional mechanism as a unit ... not just through organized nonprofits or parties)

"Think deeply about the way the internet works, and build systems and applications that use it more richly, freed from the constraints of PC-era thinking, and you're well on your way." In our context of advocacy we need to understand the way these large scale people networks work and build systems of change or campaigns that use these networks in new ways and freed from the constraints of organizational organized change.

Much like the new world of software development we need to think of campaigns in perpetual beta. Campaigns are not set by decree and packaged and rolled out to a public in precut brochures and media events. New campaigns like beta software are "process of engagement with your users" support by network staff supporting and adjusting the product based on valid feedback.

As a movement, we must "Open your data and services for re-use by others, and re-use the data and services of others whenever possible. ("Small pieces loosely joined")" from mediadata to government contacts to creative commons of our reports, polls, opinion research images and other works.

We must "build applications that reside in the space between devices. ("Software above the level of a single device")" We must look at the social and issue ties across the movement and build campaigns and resources to serve those campaigns in a way that they are not locked into silos of companies, organizations or issue groups. We must create issue and campaign commons and the rules needed to protect the commons.

There are lots of quotes and bits here to chew on but the "advocacy network as platform" is the next step to movement as network"

Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them. (This is what I've elsewhere called "harnessing collective intelligence.")
(Eric Schmidt has an even briefer formulation of this rule: "Don't fight the internet." That's actually a wonderful way to think about it. Think deeply about the way the internet works, and build systems and applications that use it more richly, freed from the constraints of PC-era thinking, and you're well on your way. Ironically, Tim Berners-Lee's original Web 1.0 is one of the most "Web 2.0" systems out there -- it completely harnesses the power of user contribution, collective intelligence, and network effects.

Power to the Edges: Advocacy and Politics in the Age of Connectivity

It is good to touch base again with stuff that I have written in the past, dust it off and kick it around again. I have been kicking stuff around in this space since late 2002 and moved Advocacy in the Age of Connectivity to Typepad on March 19, 2003. In the early days, I often was able to focus more time and energy and lately I have been thinking about ways to repackage all or the materials into a useful guide, set of workshops and some sustainable consulting services from Green Media Toolshed to help convert new folks to the network-centric advocacy strategy in their planning and investments. So in addition to the continued use of the blog as my note space, I am going revisit and recycle some older posts to spotlight them in new ways and update them with my current thinking..

The age of connectivity brought about by the Internet and other digital information technologies is reshaping how Americans do business, obtain news and information about the world, engage in social functions, shop, express their creativity, and engage in community life.

Things change: In the midst of this moment lies an opportunity to reshape politics and progressive populist organizing for the better to be more powerful, more inclusive and boldly successful. To take advantage of this window (3-10 years) of technology and mobility induced destabilization will require a change in organizations and organizer culture.

Organizations must:
1. Nimbly jump on to the fast-moving wave of opportunities that the Internet both delivers and makes
2. Integrate online activities with offline.
3. Leverage extended networks of activists, friends and sympathizers across issues areas.
4. Lead using a new set of facilitative skills.

Culture, industry and technology are connecting people together. The web is there.The barriers to full participation are lowered, and the potential for powerful participation increased. The web has shifted from a tool to use as a delivery mechanism to a platform to harness. While the last many years have focused on training individuals and building organizational capacity in specific areas, now is the time to “wire” these investments together while supporting new training, leadership and planning skills. Now is the time to think about the progressive network as a platform.

Like many web2.0 businesses, we now need to build new business plans based on "the assumption" of the infrastructure web. However, our web is a social web that is weaved wider and more far flung than any our social organizing strategies have dealt with in the past. Centralization is not an option so the guiding principle of organizing needs to change to "push power to the edges."

The future of civic engagement belongs to communities and organizations that effectively align online and offline policy, strategy and campaigns efforts; and it belongs to those that harness the passion and power of individuals.

Download Pushing_Power_to_the_Edges_05-06-05.pdf

Questions for Campaign Staff ? Role of the Network ?

Network Questions for RootsCampers:

1. What role did social ties play in your campaign? Did information, strategy or advise from friends alter your strategy? How much did you trust people working in the same region as you (did you know and trust the people in the 527, democratic coordinated efforts, or other similar BUT uncoordinated efforts?) Did you develop "social relations or trust" with loggers or other content providers who you never really worked with in face to face contexts?

2. How did you stay in sync with the common story of the election? How did you track the story "landscape"? Did you read CAP? Democracy Corps? or other shared political and message framing content and publications? Did you look at thee for framing talking points and other appeals? How many other candidates email lists were you subscribed to? Did you read any blogs that helped shape message or story? How did you try to build off messages in the wild and connect them to you campaign(Foley, Iraq, Scandals, etc) ?

3. How healthy was your communications grid to people outside the campaign? What email lists were you on? Who's polling infraction idid you get copies of? Where you on IM and Skype with folks from across the movement? Did that help you stay in touch with trends, braking stories, opposition tactics? Internally in the campaign how well did different offices coordinate?

4. How much were you willing to work with information and resources that were "not yours" did you use shared resources? Did you post YouTube clips on your site? Did you work with open source software? Did you access data warehouse materials? Did you use Flickr? Did you clip and run with talking points or research findings from others? Did you use googlemaps? Did you use yahoo groups or meetup? Did you rely on other people's pools of volunteers? or volunteer coordination from outside groups? Did you pass on others flash ads? or voter information? What shared resources of the movement were useful?

5. Clarity of Purpose? Did leaders form within you ranks and network help you define positions? Where there campaigns or efforts that were clearly self-organized by network leaders? Where these useful? Where they a distraction? Did you assign people to manage and lead networks or participate in online forums and high traffic sites on your campaigns teams response?

Draft: Lessons from the Election and Vultures

I am still looking for all the examples from friends. I need to clean this up a bit and shorten it but this is the direction of the lessons from election that are of interest. We should all work to refine the lessons learned from this election cycle so that we can build on our successes and continue to inspire Americans to walk the path to a more progressive and genuinely compassionate America.

This election is the first time in 12 years that we can look to our own strategists, communicators and online organizers to figure out what happened. We must avoid taking the wrong lessons away (or here) from the progressive turn America took Tuesday.

Regardless of the GOP spin, we know the President and Rove did not hand this election to Democrats. Republicans had the levers of power ripped from their corrupt hands. At every turn, the progressive movement has been counter-punching the conservative machine. They made big mistakes as they often do but this time the mistakes were so big and we were effectively organized that they could not turn the agenda and debate.

We know the GOP did not loose because they were ill prepared or poorly organized. They were not out gunned in message and polling work, GOTV operation, data, media control or technology. The GOP power machine was broken up, rolled back, crushed and neutralized.

The DSCC, DNC, DCCC, Unions and the 527s, did a great job. A new power base was organized to fight the dominance of talk radio. I really want to study (Jon Stuart and Stephen Colbert take on Rush and Talk Radio... Comedy Central clips get played on all major media as wrap up of "the morning funnies" in ways Rush never did. Additionally, the huge ratings and online audiences) and an online netroots (including bloggers, our future, MoveOn, and old Gore, Kerry lists) organized to counterbalance the power of the GOP evangelicals (in a unique moment of pathetic disorganization still showed up.), Democratic investment in micro-targeting data, and solid field work of MoveOn, 527s and Unions organizing drove out the vote.

This cycle there was a huge improvement in communications (everyone had blogs) and transparency. It was the first time that groups could work off of each other effectively without being coordinated. It is not legal to coordinate but information can be made public and everyone can work from public information. Using public informaiton in RSS feeds, rss readers and open information was almost as good as being able to email each other.

There were presentations in hotel rooms as far back as Feb 06 that laid out detailed plans on a seat by seat basis to win much almost exactly as we did (kudos to Karl). The plan was not funded. However, a collaborating network was able to realize the opportunity to turn those exact seats via alternative strategies.

Bunch of Vultures

I am an environmentalists so that is not a slam. I love vultures. SIDE NOTE BACKGROUND…. Vultures scatter across huge grids of the earth. Some Vultures fly relatively low to the ground using smell while others circle way up high on winds and thermals using sight. The low to the ground vultures can only cover small bits of territory, they use smell and would likely starve alone. The vultures in the sky have no smell and use sight. It is hard to find road kill from a mile up. When one smells food the vulture circles. The vulture hones in on the smell. The high sky vultures then shift over toward a circling vulture. This is like a signal flare to the other low flying vultures to move and partner with the other "smellers", the vulture that finds food first drops from the sky at a speed that notifies vultures in near by grids see “I found food”. The dive of the high sky vulture triggers their neighbors for miles, the chain of actions can pull vultures to create huge ad hoc carcass parties. WE were a successful bunch of vultures.

On a systems level, there was a huge set of infrastructure slowly syncing up for this election. The 24 hour news, youtubeing all ads, email lists and information awareness fed by open information on blogs and email appeals made this race different for the grassroots. Top party leaders have always had that kind of awareness of what is going on but now an avid blog reader could stay as briefed on the national landscape as the party bosses. The MT blogger could challenge mistakes of a national party and the party could turn a few million to focus back in MT and TN in the final weeks based on what they were understanding about the success of 527s or gotv operations.

In the final weeks, netroots candidates picked up money or momentum. DCCC and DSCC picked up the energy of the netroots. The Party and 527s dropped in media help, environmental groups started feeling traction on the LCV dirty dozen … the election swarm was bossless and leader full. It was uncoordinated self-organizing. The GOP had centralized all these operations under Rove and the party but the connectivity, transparency and speed are what enabled the progressives to swarm just as effectively.

The synchronization pulled efforts and leaders into closer proximity to each other. The tension across leaders grew (it seemed like a disorganized battle royal across netroots, DNC, DSCC, DCCC, consultants and often the candidates too). AS they worked closer the friction grew louder but the overall result in the field was positive.

It is this distributed self-organizing that is of most interest. It is also this lesson that is likely to be lost as different parties try to centralize power and claim as much credit as others will let them. I look for lessons in 2006 in the network management. I am very interesting in the macro-level network lessons that need to complement the lessons politicians, field, tacticians and messengers will write. It is the network lessons that start to draw the interesting thread of the competing stories together into a stronger more cohesive understanding. You don't learn about floods and rivers by focusing on the raindrops.

What were the lessons?

No single message. No sole messenger. There will be lots of assessments of messages and values. However, based on the type of ads and themes on Youtube and candidate websites there was not unifying message or frame. The message of “new direction” helped but it didn't seem to get legs. The Democrats did what they always do they talked about policy, programs and what was popular in the moment (corruption, stem cell,protecting kids.) CAP draws these into themes. We can put to rest the idea that you need one frame, one message to win. Getting rid of corruption and change in Iraq seemed to be national themes but in many important races candidates emerged that had very conservative and moderate messages on the war until the end (PA, MO, MT, VA) . The meta-narrative is dead.

A frame of the President “Stay the course - don't cut and run" was turned from a great frame for the GOP into anchor around the political fate of a party as the situation in Iraq went into chaos. Twisted in a matter of months into a epitaph of disgrace, the moniker and bumper sticker slogan of the White House’s stubborn strategy of no strategy.

After 2004, there was much lamenting about values voters, one message and one frame. In every race the candidates and groups knew the national message and talking points but they chose to ignore them because they knew it would cost them too many votes or distract the local momentum. If we insist a universal progressive message or new values frame, we ignore the wisdom of our own crowd. There are some analyst that will continue to insist on one tightly controlled national message but they will be ignoring the lesson no single message, no sole messenger. (This is the direct conflict to the GOP national message discipline…terror and economy which ended up not playing in their favor.) In any case, it is nice to see that you can win without a unified message as well as you can win with one (Bush 04) so unified message or not a determinate of success.

You know you don't know.
There were many events in the cycle that threw the momentum back and forth. It was these events that shifted tides in the races from the Allen race’s self destructive fumblethon to Foley case reconnecting GOP back to the culture of coruption. NJ courts last week ruling on gay marriage to last minute Sen. Kerry gaffe. All shifting again as Rush attacked Fox.

Some of these were predictable, most of them were not. The ability to adapt was one of the keys to success. The diversity of message and messengers enable the progressives to hammer on successful gaffes by the opponents very successfully. The bloggers fed the media and sustained stories. In a distributed leadership and multi-message campaign, there was a capacity to test reactions without approval from the boy genius architect and commander.

Shenanigans get caught in the Connected Age.
The evil robo callers, voting problems, voter suppression are thankfully no longer effective strategies. The connected base from both parties will hunt this down and publicize it instantly. The connected grassroots will put out a bounty ($250,000 from MoveOn) so that folks document and push the issue. The media coverage becomes so all consuming that the media is hungry for content and will cover voter suppression and harassment. Media also saturates our culture so the risk associated with suppression has also gone up.

When centralized organizing fails it fails completely.
Diversity is a strategy. The fight between DNC, DSCC, Netroots, DCCC was the key to diversity in approaches to the campaign, investments in races and messages. The “50 state strategy” was brilliant as was the netroots organizing and the old school DSCC strategy to have the war chest to move resources into play in the final two weeks and abandon OH, PA to bring the campaign to VA, TN and MT. NetRoots worked on some long shots made critical support in the lead up to election day competitive races possible.( Joe Sestak, Patrick Murphy, Jerry McNerney, Tim Walz, Paul Hodes Jim Webb)

The netroots could not have done it alone but they helped candidates along until all the other players could pile on to help. Conversely the complete reliance on evangelicals to be the GOTV base coordinated by Rove 72 hour plan left no room for error or to easily replace evangelical leadership fallen into abusive self-loathing while hiring prostitutes .

Connections and Connectivity Made a Huge Difference.
The diversity moved fast and was transparent. This was not a campaign of back room deals. The cards and thinking on every race was “out there” candidates, parties, issue groups, 527s and every organizer had tools, blogs and outreach organizing capacity at their finger tips. Want to know who was going to work on GOTV in Ohio …Google. Groups that could coordinate were on each others IM networks (the second biggest shock in the Foley scandal was that a congressmen could IM).

The connectivity made a difference from the rapid use and deployment of youtube video to entire campaigns finally working in shared intranets. Creating ads that could be microtargeted or video that could be quickly shared with reporters and other influentials.

Move It OR Loose It
It was a campaign of mobilization. Volunteers organizing ads, opposition research, field activities, attacks in the press, attacks online. Record mid-term turnout mattered in all the races. The unsung hero of the election was the phone. The distributed phones and impact cell organizing had from youthnoise’s victhevote to MoveOn’s phone parties. The field and GOTV operations of 10 years ago with radios and quarters is a thing of the past. Mobilization started with mobile phones at house parties phonebanking, in the street on GOTv and across networks of friends that collaborated on instant needs in a campaigns from the visibility, to fundraising to candidate briefing up to the minute. Voice connection was everywhere at all times because of cell phones.

Mass Volunteer
Mass Volunteer and mass network coordination is still a challenge but shows enormous potential. Ask volunteers from all the big states. Were you used effectively? Were there ways you could have improved the operation of volunteering and the universal answer is yes. From the old strategy to sign up to volunteer emails ..give us all your interest …then the only thing you get is donation appeals (happened on multiple lists I was sniffing) to hundreds of hours of potential support early in the cycle wasted in not thinking through the scale of modern volunteer operations. Mass volunteer systems (Moveon made 7 million calls) and shared network organizing was a big missed opportunity but given the creativity of the bloggersphere and party operatives one that showed the power of volunteers from Googlebomb to Ads created by volunteers.

Ads and data matter.
For better or worse winning an election is about reaching out to people that are to busy to read the policy papers. Advertisement and direct mail reaches those people helps them understand the issues and provide inspiration to act. In every race, ads supported shifting perceptions. drove Michael Steel in MD , Webb in VA. We had data and targeting operations and we know that that helped. Exploiting data on everyone is now considered a strategy for democracy and the progressives are catching up with this invasive snooping. (i am not thrilled about it but it seems to have worked well)

God is not a US citizen. God doesn’t vote.
Moral values, religion and god are not owned by the GOP. It is impossible to stand up for a long time to excite a base that God is “on your side” when ultimately that statement is a lie. God votes early and often on both tickets. Claiming God is a looser strategy. Letting others walk away with your god is a looser strategy. Casey and other candidates held firm on spiritual and religious beliefs.


Iraq and corruption fueled the opportunity, it was likely our network that saved us. It is very important that in the weeks and months that follow that the urge to streamline doesn't end up strengthening a few of the actors while weakening the network.

If we are successful in laying a new careful plan which supports, measures and monitors decentralized coordination strategies we may not allow any leader to exert absolute control on point by point progress but we can defend the country, the party and the power of the government from being monopolized and controlled by any one leader of any party.

We can not claim to support diversity without decentralizing strategy. We can not claim to be building a new strategy that will not really lift the networks power to function.

I Love Mountains: Understanding Landscape Scale Environmental Problems

I grew up in the Poconos. I love mountains. I love rivers. The mountain top removal for coal is total bullshit economics exploiting poor communities health, landscapes and futures for dirty coal.

I know these moonscapes of tailings. I walked around on the ones in PA before the industry left our community a wasteland. My grandfather worked the railroads and I think somewhere in our family past my family organized the first big union push in PA to get weekends off for miners.

I used to get in trouble because my skin would turn orange from being in the Lackawanna river (iron and metals in the water) or my cloths would be black from "skiing" down the shale piles.

They are working on an important issue. This group is super savvy and media smart. The funeral for the mountains is really powerful..."WV is not about Coal it is about mountains and rivers."

1. Watch the Video.

2. Sign the Petition

Take a minute and check it out. Here is a group with some great technology. Look at the site. They are leveraging YouTube, GoogleEarth, Forwardtrack to tell a story about small town West Virgina. Great site. Great Strategy.

The group's Web site -- -- uses GoogleEarth (TM) mapping tools to display a portion of central Appalachia where mountain-top mining is prevalent. There is also a three-dimensional tour of the range of mountains that reveals clear views of coal slurry ponds, blasting holes and previously tall mountains where the peaks are whittled down to the size of large hills.

Please kick in and sign the petition to help stop this insanity

A Bear Votes

In one of the better examples of recycle, reuse ...A Bear Votes! ...Thanks to Rob Stuart and all the folks that worked on the the original. Thanks to and Getactive for the recast

Now digitially remastered for highdef elections. A Bear Votes!


In the future should post the code so it can be embedded on lots of sites. They should remove the text so others can remix it. Can some one screencast and youtube it for future elections before the Bear disappears again....

Make sure you vote on Tuesday! Do it for the Bears.

Zack Exley: The People: Think Bold

There are few rants that get me to really pumped up. Even fewer that cause me to shake my fist with agreement. Few articles that I print and make my staff read. This is one.

Zack stands behind the idea that movements are smart. His experience is rich and he is really good at banging out some of the failures and opportunities for social change.

Because of our perception of this dumbing-down of the people, we focus more and more intensively on "consciousness raising" and "leadership development" -- to the exclusion of working with leaders who are already plenty conscious and already amazing leaders. We've been shrinking down our expectations until they're practically non-existent. We been doing this for decades.

To start to get out of this trap, we've just got to open our minds to the possibility that the people are just as radical as they were when millions took part in sit-down strikes and the Unemployed Councils. We've got to recognize the possibility that the wisest, boldest leaders have been consciously refusing to participate in our campaigns because our goals have been too modest and our strategies shaky as hell.

His piece begs a shift in organizing strategy and our leadership. However, the shift in strategy needs a corresponding shift in the infrastructure to support change. We will not change things until we stop measuring and evaluating by the same matrix as before. Zack has put together a better riff on this people leadership and respect for the masses than I have in the past but it is an underpinning theme of network-centric advocacy. It is also a theme i believe strongly in....

Mead warned that "If we let our generals and our statesmen involve us in international threats and reprisals which fail to bring out the strengths in our character--we may lose" The strength of our movement is not in the centralized organization but in the small bands of activists that sit in each neighborhood. Our movement marches lock-step with American doctrine to centralize power and control. We seek to build bigger and stronger organizations to fight for progressive policy. The promise of network-centric advocacy is that it focuses on reinforcing casual connectors to issues of social concern. Network-centric advocacy puts everything on the shoulders of the small thoughtful groups and fosters their leadership and clout. Small groups can change the world, our challenge is to help without getting in the way. "

We are in a renaissance of personality history. We are gobbling up biographies of Jack Welsh, John Adams,Rudy Giuliani and every other man figure that has found themselves in front of the juggernaut of public unity. Our society (our largest social network) will create leaders to fill our needs and visions. We will increase the reward to those willing to speak our language and serve our needs. We will help them overcome the adversity they face. We will offer a resolve they could not muster on their own.

Zack drives it home from his organizing experience ...

the leadership of a group is not a static list. In campaigns, if you're open to the possibility, you find that leadership is something that pops up in the most unexpected people at the most unexpected times. I remember one day when the whole future of a campaign relied on one worker reading a statement confidently and clearly to the boss in front of an assembly of workers. So who did we choose? Of course, the most confident and articulate worker on the organizing committee. When the time came, he froze and couldn't open his mouth. He stood there with the paper shaking in his hands. The woman standing next to him took the paper from his hands and read it just as clearly and confidently as could be. What was shocking about this was that, while very respected for being a hard worker with seniority, she was known for anything but her way with words or confidence in front of other people.
Ultimately, we need to connect the dots that leadership takes place in a context. A context that the family living room and factory floor creates is different than the context that currently shapes the "leadership" on a national scale. Taking over talking points on a stage is very different from swapping out leadership of NRDC or the Party. Why is it so different? Because leadership on a national scale is about control of resources (money, people, brands, intellectual property) and resources right now are governed by very old and dysfunctional laws and history. Being a boss of an organization means decades of work, ass kissing, political maneuvering, positioning, family ties and maybe even a history of success or successful spin. It is our structure that sets the context for leadership. It is our structures that set reasonable "measures".

Hopefully, Zack will follow up with a bit of thinking on the role of structure in picking leadership and experiment with ideas and proposals that loosen the barriers to bottoms up leadership taking shape. There is more here than blaming good hearted organizers that went to college. I would push Zack's summary a bit more.."

But it's clear that the progressive movement overall is still suffering from a lack of trust and faith in The People. Take a leap of faith, trust The People, and I guarantee that as long as you combine that with good organizing, you won't be disappointed."

Good organizing flows from the ends you want to achieve. As long as the organizing goals are set by the organizational leadership that employee the organizers and the resources poured out are from spigots controlled by traditional leaders then you will run into structural and governance systems that are set up to lack trust and prevent leaps of faith.

There is an old saying about the idea that soldiers talk about fights, captains talk about battles and machinery and generals talk about logistics. The movement, our street organizers, our media, and our message sharpers seem to miss the focus on logistics entirely. We need to build the network power of a distributed base.

BlogTalkRadio: Internet Radio for the Membership

Here is a little new site that packs the phone interview and the podcast into a nice little service. It creates the opportunity for bottom up talk radio targeting those that have Internet connections or listen to podcast.

This will have some applications for the groups that can draw an audience with big names and a good email list. If you check it out please let me know. .. I listened to a few and the basic technology seems to work.

It would be cool if enough funny and creative people could create a site of feeds that ran pretty consistently with the same numbers and lots of different programs. The groups could then cross-promte the talk radio to the audiences on their membership list and use it as an alternative channel for an election cycle or campaign.

Who knows? A netcentric podcast may be in my would definitely need to be a call in show.

Link: BlogTalkRadio.

Your BlogShow lets you host your own talk show online. Receive live callers, interview guests, and broadcast to an unlimited number of listeners. All you need is any type of phone, an internet connection, and something to say. All your listeners need is streaming audio or any type of phone should they choose to call in

Final Chapter: Chevy Tahoe Sales Falling 46.2%: To the clip

There once was a debate. Were the culture jammers being played by the PR firms? Did they predict our creativity, voice and passion? Did they expect 40,000 ads (mostly negative) viewed by five million people? Did they expect most of the mainstream press and viral networks would all hone in on the stupidity of SUVs? Or were they thinking we would boost sales?

For those who wondered about the ad campaign? Was it positive advertising? What is Spin and what is BS? Was the ad agency manipulating those of us pushing the campaign?

Nope. We are addicted to oil and Chevy is one of the pushers. No more questions. Learn your lessons GM. 46.2%

Light trucks, amid persistently high gas prices, took the biggest hit, down 37.1% to 236,019, with the Chevy Tahoe and Trailblazer falling 46.2% and 33.6%, respectively.

Let's play the clip.....

Air Force Mining Blog World : Air Force Discovery Internet Rich Source of Information

There were a few things that are note worthy in Valdis' post.

1. Air Force Blogs Study May Provide Credible Information
The Air Force Office of Scientific Research recently began funding a new research area that includes a study of blogs.

2. “The fact that the web is a vast source of information is sometimes overlooked by military analysts,” Kokar said. “Our research goal is to provide the warfighter with a kind of information radar to better understand the information battlespace.”

3. Valdis does a good job talking about the implications to political strategy and the next cycle. The "big guns in politics" are thinking and talking about network mapping but everyone is unsure are they mapping it to build networks or rip them apart.

Link: Network Weaving: Un-Weaving Networks II.

In a political war[the upcoming elections of 2006 and 2008?], the battling parties would like to know their opponent's structures -- how are they organized, who are the key nodes in their network, and where are their points of failure. With the no-holds-barred political strategies of today the following questions are being asked: Who do we discredit today? Where do we split the network so that it declines into ineffective fragmentation? Whose switchboard do we tie up? Who do we start rumors about? Who do we turn against each other? In other words, how do we disrupt the others from waging an effective campaign? These are all questions that can be answered beginning with link analysis of public information on the WWW. Link analysis tools and public data are available to all who desire them. Which leads to an interesting possibility... if the government is mapping the blogosphere, will the bloggers map the government?

Disrupting terrorist networks is a good thing -- we want to dismantle their networks. But is it a good thing to do with your neighbors and fellow citizens? Political polarization is an effective election strategy, but it just makes us weaker as a group to our foes. Weaving together perspectives and people here at home, and with our allies, makes us much stronger to any and all enemies.

Psssst... for the Airforce blog report... Let me save a ya a few bucks...lots of bloggers thought the war was a really bad idea. Lot's of bloggers don't think the administration has a clue or a strategy. The best way to peace is rarely via a gun. It is possible to inspire revenge.

Real Youth Voices: YouTube - Hope: Myspace and YouTube Organizing for Peace

Here is an example of a high school peace activists (skyracer90) mashing together his own calls for brotherhood. From the way he has included a Twista song (powerpoint/video) to his connection with S.T.R.O.N.G (STRONG mySPACE) to the way Myspace connects him with 500 members.

He also was able to set up a multi-media, network building site all for free. In many ways, this site is more engaging than many of the site and much of the content our professional movement produces.

Link: YouTube - Hope.

Music: Hope by Twista ft. Faith Evans

Please visit S.T.R.O.N.G. "STRUGGLING TO REUNITE OUR NEW GENERATION". They are great people who are trying to put an end to gang violence. Visit them at:

This site is expressive without fancy words, collective (without tell-afriend), open for feedback and connected to culture and organizations. It is smart and a growing example of what our groups should be putting out there and encouraging members and staff to produce.

A few years ago a site with this open feedback and multi-media streaming would have cost thousands of dollars. Why do we still have so many brochureware movements?

Analytical Visions: US Senate Votes Cluster Network Map

How well does the Senate network work? Who votes with who? These visualizations of the Senate netork are really cool.


The map looks good but I don't understand some of the outlayers. Santorum is an outlayer? It would be nice to see his dot labled and a but of access to the "out" dataset. Most important is the idea that network maps provide managment tools.

Do you think the whip has one of these?

Link: Analytical Visions.

Senate voting patterns I have started analyzing the voting patterns in the Senate. Although this post involves political analysis, future posts may involve analysis of demographics, pop culture, sports, education, buying patterns, the stock market or anything else that I happen to be looking into at the time. I made a matrix that shows how often senators vote the same.

Republican Ipod! Ken Melman : Invites you to network: GOP network ...

Does the GOP get the power of social networks? Yes.

>> From: Chairman Ken Mehlman

>> Date: April 28, 2006 10:01:58 PM CDT

>> Subject: XXXX, You're Invited to Change Politics


>> You have a powerful new tool to grow our Party from the bottom up.

>> It's a website built around you - with your personal message, your

>> photos, links to your friends online, and the ability to set your

>> personalized grassroots goals. The new activist network will

>> revolutionize online politics - and we're launching it with a bang on


>> And when it's all over, the most successful house parties in America

>> will receive a special thank you.


>> Here's how you can be a part of this exciting launch. First - set up

>> your May 22 house party today. When you create your party, you'll

>> also be able to set up your site with grassroots goals tied to

>> the party - whether it's grassroots fundraising for a Republican

>> victory in November, recruiting volunteers, or registering new

>> voters.


>> Make your party a friend - raiser simply by bringing friends and

>> neighbors together. If you recruit at least one new volunteer, voter,

>> or donor through your MyGOP - powered house party, you and your

>> guests will be eligible to participate in a special conference call

>> with Republican leaders on the evening of May 22.


>> As a special thank you, the hosts of the five MyGOP house parties

>> that raise the most money for the Republican Party through MyGOP from

>> 10 or more friends will receive a special Republican edition iPod

>> Video*. To see what it looks like, click here.


>> The dollars you raise, the volunteers you recruit, and the voters you

>> register will determine the outcome of this fall's elections - and

>> the direction of our country for years to come.

>> * The Republican National Committee is not affiliated with Apple

>> Computer, maker of the iPod Video.

There are lots of reasons this is interesting and lots of ways it can be done better in true network building. Do the networks have a say in the agenda? Do they have ability to use the tools to raise money for charity or other directed investments by the network? Is there total "awareness" of folks across the network? Are the reputation of network actors tracked by each other.

I am suggesting you not join but it does not look like organizing social change by focusing on the network is unique to progressives. Both parties seem to understand the idea of distributing fundraising out to the edge but that strategy is really only the tip of the iceberg.

On a Personal Note: NOW THE GOP video IPOD --
What are the features of the Special Republican Ipod....
1. It says all the music is in there (but there are none).
2. It is the first Ipod to digitize bullshit.
3. It comes preloaded with the news for the next three years ahead from FOX future casting.
4. It is the only Ipod that also records all your conversations and uploads them to the NSA.
5. It has 5 times the heavy metals and pollution with a sticker on the back encouraging you not to recycle.
6. It only works for rich white people.
7. The adult channel filter also catches New York Times, CNN and facts as "inappropriate".
8. It only works 3 months out of the year and then must be stored in TX to recharge.
9. It runs on lobbyist cash not batteries.
10. The favorite song count is always off by thousands of votes in the wrong direction.

Google Video News: Iraq Distributed TV

Some thoughts are slowly coming together on the power of distributed creation of content.

A few months ago, I suggested folks watch Epic 2015. It is an amazing look into the future . The movie presents the power of user generated content and the way technology and connectivity will change the media space forever.

While working on the Chevy Tahoe Ads, I came to understand the power of distributed content creation. The barriers to entry into being creative online were lowered to such a minimum threshold that anyone could participate.

The Chevy Ads campaign was to online content creation as Howard Dean was to online fundraising. Before Dean, we knew people donated online but are millions interested? The same dynamic just played out with Chevy Ads. (Sorryeverybody,, May's Field, Virtual Protest, Bushin30seconds) YouTube and Google video are taking this discussion and persuasion to a new level.

Our challenge to "see" the path where a connected culture begins to tell its own stories to each other without the middle man of media, organizaitons or political leaders. As advocacy groups, we need to create these pathways. Blogs have done that for those of us that like be wordy (yeah I am guilty) but for a huge segment of the population new tools open the use of video and voice to help them be more creative, honest and/or expressive with photos, video and voice.

Video from War Zone...

The tale from Iraq is starting to move from people to people. Across the network ties and tools of our time. Check out these links...

Sniper Fight in a Village - Can hear the Bullets Hitting the Tank

Private Contractor on a Job? Shooting at traffic and Anyone that comes close (very unsettling)

Cleaning out an ambush from a C130 gunship (killing Iraq's at a Distance)

Listen to the tale...Sending soldiers in to do police work. They flip a grenade into a room of a guy in a domestic abuse case. The guy sends the grenade out a window onto a family eating dinner

What are you doing to open up the story telling ability of our grassroots? Look at what the ways the connect public are organizing without you. Hope - Put an End to Gang Violence slideshow, video and mix pulled together on Youtube. Or cyber-banging .

People are organizing on the web with little or no money. On myspace or the hundreds of other sites the connected culture are offering tools that are more powerful than sites that cost tens of thousands of dollars just a few years ago.

Organizing is no longer merely about "being the voice" of the membership. New tools and new connectivity make the new challenge to empower the voices of the grassroots. Synchronize their voices and aggregate voices to inspire and inform each other. We need netcentric approaches to our campaigns and to find new ways to scale these emerging trends to power the next generation of social movements and social leadership.

Feeding Yourself: Dynmics of Business vs. Social Change


I am in a meeting today and we were talking about campaigns and business models. business cycles and campaigns for change. The woman across from me was fantastic battle hardened change maker. She raised a great challenge.

1. the bottom line of business is to make money.
2. as businesses spend money (if they do it well) they get more money.
3. money can be reinvested to accelerate growth and scaling to provide service.

The social change movement is different.

1. the bottom line is to create change.
2. as groups and movements spend social/political capital they create change.
3. at the end of campaign (win or lose) they are depleted (people are tired, donors are tired, staff need to see families. Success often just leads to agitation for more change in more states. But the energy (political and social capital) is gone.
4. Success (she says) often creates the next failure instead of fueling more success.

How does the distributed engagement and network-centric approach to advocacy break that cycle?

Chevy Ads : Network Culture Jamming the Apprentice (whack at Trump, GM and SUVs)

This is a great example of real voice vs. fake PR. The last post generated 43 ads in 48 hours.

Step 1. Review the funny ads.
Step 2. Make your Own (link is to the right bottom of any ad)
Step 3. Post your link (so we can save this.)
Step 4. Pick the date Chevy folds and takes down the site.

My favorites:

Funny Chevy Ad - Oil

Chevy Ad - Tribute to brother in Iraq

Funny Chevy Ad - Who is that

Funny Chevy Ad - Little Piggy

Funny Chevy Ad - Hippy

Funny Chevy Ad - Impeach

Funny Chevy Ad - What?

Funny Chevy Ad - Yo.

Funny Chevy Ad - Hot hot

You MUST try This: Culture Jam Chevy and Global Warming: Sloganator II

This is a BLAST. (Thanks Noah.) Chevy and the Apprentice set up a tool to create commercials for SUVs. They want you to create ads for their crappy products. It is a good idea but I don't think folks should be saving Chevy ad money.

These machines are driving us all to the edge on global warming. We are more dependent on oil and we are less safe. The owners try to "be cool" but are really like sheep manipulated by advertising and GM. Ride your SUV in traffic...what a waste.

Please make a funny ad and put a link in the comments... or send me your link via email. The network can take down this ad. Help people connect the dots between SUVs and global warming. Go get them.

Chevy Ads can be fun.

Someone please record these too.

My ad

My second ad

Chris Lundberg ad


Who Loves Flowers?

Listible! - Group Priority Tool for Campains and Shared Task

I set up a list for online strategy and tools related to advocacy and political organizing.

Ahhh. I have been waiting for something like this.

1. Anyone can add things to be done for a campaign. (tasks time, description etc)
2. People can rank value of tasks and help sort and tag items.

Now I want to see
3. Checkedout by (username with contact) on date.
4. Checked in as completed by on date.
5. Needing confirm as successfully completed from second party.
6. double checked.

Doing this in AJAX seems more and more friendly.

Link: Listible!�-�About.

Voting cannot be the only answer for relevancy. Even though the most popular resources are on the top, if the system does not have a way to differentiate varies topics, you still wouldn't find any resources easily.

Listing combined with tagging and voting gives you a greater relevancy. Finding a list called "Resources related to IE browser CSS bugs" tagged with css is easier. In each list, community can provide any relevant URLs. The most relevant and popular resource will be sorted on the top, thanks to the voting system. Is this resource listible? If it is, then you are sharing the resources to the right person. This is listible all about.

There are so many different ways you can use the listible system. The sky is the only limit here.

I set up a list for online strategy and tools related to advocacy and political organizing.

Nice Clip: GettingTheMessageOut Developing Online Strategy Basics

Here is a solid traditional comment on the M&RSS study. A basics reminder about getting serious about online communications. I might add a final filter. If your strategy, engagement or message is unremarkable don't expect remarkable results.

Does the communication open up opportunities to create stronger social ties across the participant base? Does the message reinforce the common story of the active network likely to participate in the campaign? Does the message or strategy build the shared communications grip the participant base will need to exchange ideas, inspire or lead each other? Does the message or campaign create awareness or deliver new shared resources for use in the campaign? is there a clarity of purpose in the bigger picture?

Link: GettingTheMessageOut.

What does it take to communicate a real strategy for real success? I'm going to make this sound easier than it really is. First, believe in your ability to succeed. Second, analze yourself, analyze your opponent, and analyze the terrain between you. Take out a calendar and actually lay out key dates that affect your campaign (legislative session dates, major holidays, election dates, corporate board meeting dates, study committee meeting dates, filing deadlines for ballot initiatives). Add to this calendar the timing for online communications from your e-activists that might influence different targets and move your campaign forward. Then add to it things that offline volunteers can do, things other organizations can do (your allies) and things your opponents are likely to do. Identify the best moments for offense, and the likely moments for defense. Finally look at your internal capacity and start to pare down the things you want to do to a core calendar of things you can actually pull off. Now, you have a strategy to communicate to your list.

If each volunteer activity (whether a simple email action or a complex field endeavor) actually helps put pressure on a decision maker, bring in a needed new ally, or split off a problematic opponent, then your volunteers and e-activists will gladly dive in and do what it takes. You will see the results immediately in your open%

Google Video for Nonprofits: Developing multi-media on the cheaps...

So.. Google Video has an embed function and an upload program for all of the nonprofits that have been wanting multi-media on your web sites. Is there a documentary that tells your story or inspires your supporters. Consider playing with Google video to place it on your site.

I am looking for one of my network-centric advocacy recorded talks to plop into Google Video. I'll let you know how it goes. ( I am hope to post something like this.

Link: About Google Video.

You've found the world's first open online video marketplace, where you can search for, watch and even buy an ever-growing collection of TV shows, movies, music videos, documentaries, personal productions and more. Just type in your search term (try ipod or Charlie Rose) or do a more advanced search (try title:CSI) and we'll search our archive for relevant results. You can watch brief previews by clicking the "play" icon () in the image thumbnail. Clicking on a thumbnail image will take you to a playback page, where you can watch the preview or, for free content, the video itself. In addition to viewing free content, you can also purchase or rent premium content at the Google Video store using your Google Account.

It is time to flip "don't call us we will call you" model of advocacy to a "call us when you care" strategy --> eNonprofit Benchmarks Study

Here is a new study by MRSS and the big boys of online donor tools and databases. This looks great. It is a real contribution to the field.

On a quick first read, I take away some very different messages from the conclusions they reach on page 50.

1. Stop collecting so much data on people. Email and ZIP -- Targeting doesn't matter much. You are just making everything harder on your web process. No matter what you do churn is 28% and issue and generic targeting produce almost identical results. Given the staff time you put into designing, buying and harassing folks. Smaller groups with list of under 10,000 a bump in 7% on page completions or 4% on actions it is not worth it. Plus when you take into account increases in drop off on sign up forms and privacy concerns I bet it is barely worth it for anyone to track more than zip. (page 17)

2. Open rates are not shown over number of communications... Is it fair to assume more messages went out? If yes ... maybe people on the list have only so many "opens" in them per year with more groups stuffing the inbox. So one strategy would be to send lots of messages to win the competition of opens against other groups... We are creating a tragedy of the commons with our support base.

3. The report focuses on Churn but I am not convinced it matters. The data doesn't look at if non churning people perform better or worse (again we don't really know from the data here because we don't have numbers of "asks or numbers of communications to the dataset? ) Did new people perform better or worse than old list people on each set of asks? We don't know so I am not convinced churn matters. In fact, many of the stories are about the campaigns or events that happen and everyone jumps on to the list , signs the petition, does the game etc. Are those people really joining the group? NO. They are hi churn (new people doing one task and then we harass 30-50% to go dead immediately (footnote on p19) or we convince 28% to leave annually.

The data presentation on page 30 is a problem. I can not tell if people who are on a list over time really perform better. The only thing offered is that people on the list for more than 3 years took 8.5 actions vs. 1.7 for the people on the list for less than a year or 3.2 for people between 1-2 years. It actually looks like people perform less well over time. These are the crazy supporters that have not been part of the 28% that leaves every year!

4. Web traffic is really important. Eyeballs, links and viral opportunities grow lists to create donations and actions. See comment above on all the new people you get from a good campaign and good exposure. Think of a good website as a banner ads and opt in space.

5. Connections matter (offer people Meetup opportunities) and a diversity of actions to complement online engagement. (read page 37!)

6. (Finally .I agree with them) Act Quickly to Respond to Timely Events.
The online community can connect to issues quickly. When the online world wants to help or can be "tipped" into action move to organize and channel that energy effectively. " This was made possible, in part, by reacting quickly to this emergency, to make information about relief efforts and donation opportunities available via organizational Web sites and to e-mail subscribers. All organizations
should have rapid response fundraising plans in place to move quickly in response to urgent events and give subscribers opportunities to donate online." (p.50) (this is a major benefit of network-centric strategy in advocacy context)

I would love to work with the data to see if it might be cheaper overall to recruit new people for each action then tell them to comeback next time they see your stuff rather then spending any money on all the database and customer relations. ( flipping "don't call us we will call you" model of advocacy on it's head to a "call us when you care. ") The total costs of ownership and maintenance are not calculated here nor did the firms talk about the ways the money was allocated (strategy, communications, advertising, tools, etc.)

It is a good paper and worth a read and debate.

Link: eNonprofit Benchmarks Study.

The eNonprofit Benchmarks Study is the first of its kind look at the effectiveness of major American nonprofit organizations using the Internet to raise money and influence public policy. The study is a tool that nonprofits can use to measure and compare their online performance to other organizations' online programs.

Distributed Research on Stardust Project - Public to look for dust grains in Stardust detectors

How do we find the dust? Ask the network.

Link: 01.10.2006 - Public to look for dust grains in Stardust detectors.

Astronomy buffs who jumped at the chance to use their home computers in the [email protected] search for intelligent life in the universe will soon be able to join an Internet-based search for dust grains originating from stars hundreds of thousands of light years away. In a new project called [email protected], University of California, Berkeley, researchers will invite Internet users to help them search for a few dozen submicroscopic grains of interstellar dust captured by NASA's Stardust spacecraft and due to return to Earth in January 2006. This aerogel array, which was mounted atop the Stardust spacecraft, was used to collect interstellar dust particles as well as dust from the tail of comet Wild 2.

Link: [email protected] - participation.

The only way that we can think of to find these exciting interstellar dust grains is to recruit talented volunteers to help us search. First, you will go through a web-based training session. This is not for everyone: you must pass a test to qualify to register to participate. After passing the test and registering, you will be able to download a virtual microscope (VM). The VM will automatically connect to our server and download so-called "focus movies" -- stacks of images that we will collect from the Stardust Interstellar Dust Collector using an automated microscope at the Cosmic Dust Lab at Johnson Space Center. The VM will work on your computer, under your control. You will search each field for interstellar dust impacts by focusing up and down with a focus control. The more focus movies you examine, the better the chances are that you'll find an interstellar dust grain. But we have no minimum expectation -- you should search through focus movies as long as you're having fun doing it. Just remember that you are looking at the first collector that has gone into deep space and come back. This is a very special opportunity!

Presentation Tips: Tech and Communications Tips

I have often riffed on subjects raised by Andy Goodman and suggested participating in the survey and signing up for his newsletter. Andy has asked me to spread the word about the free copies of his new book for nonprofits. So I am always glad to help. It is really good stuff.

Link: Welcome to agoodmanonline.

Would you like to deliver more engaging, informative, and persuasive presentations? Do you supervise colleagues who must give presentations on a regular basis? If you have wasted enough time with bad presentations – on either side of the podium – there is a new book which you can order online today, and it’s free to full-time employees at nonprofits, foundations, government agencies, and educational institutions.

Based on unprecedented research across the public interest sector, and incorporating the advice of twenty highly regarded public speaking experts, Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes, can help you avoid the most commonly made mistakes (“The Fatal Five”), structure your information in ways that help audiences absorb it, use PowerPoint more effectively, and deliver your talks with greater confidence.

Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes was written by Andy Goodman and was designed and published by Cause Communications (the same team that created Why Bad Ads Happen to Good Causes.)

If you participated in the survey, or if you are a full-time employee at a nonprofit, foundation, government agency or educational institution, you can request one complimentary copy while supplies last. To place your order, please fill out the section below.

Note: Complimentary copies cannot be shipped to a home address, so please supply only business addresses.

My old posts on Andy:
* Sign up for his letter.
* participate in the survey
* a riff on his messenger story .

BuzzMachine: Who owns the wisdom of the crowd? The crowd.

Jeff nails the heart of new internet strategy and why it conflicts with old world activism and traditional politics. Our culture increasingly wants to "own" its activism and voice. Brands and campaigns need to adapt to the privacy gnereration and the ownership generation not by building more ways to harvest ownership and power but by increasingly amplifying the power of the citizen.

saving the environment is not our groups mission and you support us. Advocacy is taking a turn that saving the environment is your opion and we are here to serve you. (centralized vs. decentralized).

Link: BuzzMachine ? Blog Archive ? Who owns the wisdom of the crowd? The crowd..

On the individual level, I want to own or control my stuff, don’t you? That is a given that too many companies and institutions forget. Thus my first law of media and life: Give us control and we will use it. The corollary: Don’t give us control and you will lose us. So I want to control the things I create: my content (this blog); my identity (my addresses); my collections of neat things (my bookmarks); my analysis (my tags); my reputation (my eBay rating), my behavior (my history, my clicks). What does control mean? I want to be assured that somebody else can’t muck with or kill it. I want to be able to use it wherever I want — and that means I need it to be portable. I also want to control the things I consume: my content (obviously, I pick the sites, shows, words I take in); my advertising (I’d like transparent targeting… and so should advertisers, because it would be a helluva lot more effective). Other players may try to get in the way — keeping me from my stuff, or pushing me to this page instead of that, or showing me this ad because they get paid to do so — but, again, if I ruled my world, this is what I’d want. Less interference means less friction m

Sweet. Kudos to Identity Women