Filed under: Advocacy, Avaaz, collaboration, Environment, Ethical Consumerism, Politics, Social Media | Tags: Activism, Advocacy, collaboration, digital, gaming, Politics, Social Media
Games designer Jane McGonigal gave a recent TED talk called gaming can make a better world. It’s slightly crazy, but very watchable. Apparently the average young American will spend 10,000 hours playing online games by age 21 – the same amount of time they spend in class.
She throws about some great concepts, such as “urgent optimism” (the dominant gaming state of mind) and “epic meaning” (the desire to be attached to something bigger) – all of which, she says, can be harnessed as a force for change.
It made me think it was about time to revisit the first post of this blog, about how social media and “digital” are making the world a better place.
1. Mass collaboration
It’s the coder’s maxim: “to enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” – in other words, anything can be fixed by a crowd. Dell’s IdeaStorm led the way on “open innovation”, and the same approach can be applied to social issues. For example, Slate magazine recently launched The Hive to tap the “collective intelligence” of its readers. Open Green Map and Project NOAH are other examples of crowdsourced projects.
2. Mass advocacy
People sometimes say that social media is self-absorbed, narcissistic – but social media can also be part of a powerful collective force. Recent examples include Fuck Cancer and the NoH8 anti-homophobia campaign – and thanks to the Twibbon, these things can spread fast. Avaaz.org is the biggest advocacy movement, with over 4.5 million users across the world.
3. Crowd funding
Ever since the Age Of Stupid film raised £450,000 from crowd-funding, it’s been the holy grail of social enterprise. Sites like Kickstarter and Pledge Bank connect ventures to micro-funding, and Go Fund Me works on a slightly bigger scale. We Pay helps organizations manage their funding, and White Label Crowd Funding – well, does what it says.
4. Asset Sharing
The web makes it possible to easily organize resource sharing – the result is initiatives such as LandShare and FreeCycle, and businesses such as ZipCar in the US and Street Car in the UK.
5. Consumer Power
Sites like Group On allow people to buy in bulk – collective buying power. Consumer power can be harnessed by activists – either negatively, such as Greenpeace’s Nestle campaign, or positively – what John Grant refers to as Joycotting, such as Greenpeace’s Green My Apple campaign.
6. Informed choices
Using the web to find the best deals is now part of mainstream life. There are also plenty of ethical comparison sites, such as EcoSwitch and Your Ethical Money in the UK, and Think 2010 in the US. Brand Karma tries to harness user feedback on brands, but none of these sites yet has a full social dimension. Maybe people want to think about planet and price together, not separately.
7. Taking the piss
There was much chat about how the recent election would be all about social media. It wasn’t, really – but social media did make a critical contribution: taking the piss. Satire by the people (maybe with a little help from the parties) – such as the brilliant My David Cameron, or the Cameron Anecdote Generator:
“Last week, I met a lesbian miner, who told me that left-wing extremists in the Labour Party was no substitute for a proper married relationship.”
“Last week, I met a young baker, who told me that anti-capitalists needed to get a proper job.”
“Last week, I met a disenfranchised gentleman, who told me that teenagers high on meow meow were stopping first-time buyers getting onto the property ladder.”
Well, he who laughs last, and all that…. So although social media wasn’t as decisive as people expected in the election, it’s probably changed the landscape for good. Last word to Alistair Campbell, talking to The Times:
“…public resistance to heavy messaging has grown, and for politics in particular there is no guarantee that the rewards of a well-funded, well-crafted and well-executed ad concept will outweigh the risks. The internet and, in particular, social networking have changed the terms of the relationship between the parties, the media and the public, taking at least some of the power to influence away from parties and media, to the benefit of the public.”
Filed under: Activism, Advocacy, Amnesty International, collaboration, Social Media | Tags: Activism, Advocacy, amnesty, collaboration, Social Media
It’s been interesting working with Amnesty on their digital strategy. Obviously any campaigning organization needs to really understand how activism, social media and participation all fit together – so we had a look at various models. They’re all suspiciously linear (lots of ladders) but interesting starting points.
First up is Monte Lutz from Edelman who wrote Barrack Obama’s Social Media Toolkit, which describes the strategy in terms of an Advocacy Ladder:
Then we have the Social Technographics Ladder from Forrester – I’ve seen this in three or four presentations in the last few weeks, and Forrester have done some work to quantify the “rungs”:
Then back to the 1960s: social scientist Sherry Arnstein developed a Ladder of Citizen Partipation which looks at political engagement (I think we currently swerve between “citizen control” and “therapy”):
Much more recently, Mark Earls blog has a post called The big picture of social stuff which links to an interesting paper he’s pulled together on how social media changes the map.
Filed under: Advocacy, collaboration, Environment, Microdonations, Microlending, Social Media | Tags: Advocacy, collaboration, digital, environmental, Microdonations, Microlending