Starting off 2010, the monthly #4change Twitter chat focused on the topic of campaigning with social media. There were quite a few participants and some really great conversation. I’ve tried to pull out some of the relevant tweets from the Twitter stream to help follow the flow of the conversation in case you missed it.
This is more of a transcript than a recap, more of what I hope can be a refresher or stimulator for follow up blogs than simply the whole story itself. Please leave a comment or use the #4change hashtag to tweet your post if you do write something of your own!
Question 1: How do we define campaigning in the context of social media?
amysampleward: does growing a Facebook Fan page numbers count? does growing an email list count? what about calls to action that aren’t online?
rootwork: In terms of #s, the easiest things to measure (FB fans, Twitter followers, web hits) seem least useful in online organizing
rootwork: I strongly believe list building w/ petitions etc. that are NOT actually effective for the movement is abusive of one’s supporters
annanten: @rootwork list building is just a strategy to engage more folks in your campaign
ChristinasWorld: I think campaigning has to do w/achieving a particular end – not building a fb fan page, but using that page to achieve x, y or z
engagejoe: Hmm…What about ‘using webby tools 2 organize ppl for impact on an array of issues, w/the goal of creating real world change?’
annanten: @rootwork list building is just a strategy to engage more folks in your campaign
rootwork: @annanten To me the goal should be change, not growing one’s base. 200 engaged members are better than 20,000 petition-signers
SethHorwitz: Seth from Philly here @rootwork altho building lists is not signif per se, NE1 of those low barrier entrants may bcome an advocate
realize_ink: Q1. A campaign (in my definition) is anything that mobilizes action
annanten: social media is here to help you empower your followers with a story to create powerful activists for your cause
lozz: @amysampleward Campaigning is obsolete – social media disrupts “start-end” mentality – constantly adapting efforts now
paddaniels: @realize_ink SM changing the way we see campaigning as not only r small acts of giving visible but so is the collective outcome
ChristinasWorld: building a network of awareness is different from campaigning: 1) campaigning is about mobilizing action toward specific objectives
ChristinasWorld: 2) Network building is about communicating, telling stories, & building trust over time
realize_ink: @christinasworld I agree completely! Good campaigns move away from awareness 2 spur action
annanten: @engagejoe online campaigning = (relationship building + storytelling) * shared cause ^ common goal
SethHorwitz: @christinasworld: agree w/ distinction betw. network building (awareness, trust) and campaigning (action). Both important.
Question #2: what are some of the best examples you’ve seen? Why are they great?
@elliotharmon Here’s a good example from just today of the wrong way to use social media http://bit.ly/88sR45
creativegreeniu: The 350 campaign is one of the best uses of social media I’ve experienced and it worked on a worldwide basis.
creativegreeniu: and why the 350 campaign worked is because it effectively reached a diverse demographic & moved them to action on a complex goal
ChristinasWorld: @kanter‘s recent campaign 4 Sharing Found. was amazing – what made it great was existing network ready to take action when called
5MillionPeople: GetUp in Oz do it well. Many of their online campaigns are short and sharp.
cian: Big up to @350‘s work. So successful at creating real world actions. do they in themselves create behavioral change too
realize_ink: @creativegreeniu I’d add to that, it succeeded b/c it moved ppl toward a *specific* goal
5MillionPeople: @realize_ink: Agreed. Works best when people can see that action leads to affect. Specific goals help focus.
neddotcom: Another campaign worth mentioning http://twestival.com/
rootwork: I remember a campaign from some time ago about getting more women on tech panels, but can’t find specific blogs abt it.
annanten: @realize_ink @rootwork indeed – it was @WomenWhoTech who lead that – http://bit.ly/y2twf
rootwork: I think the Jena Six was an early (though not the first) success of social media campaigns http://bit.ly/5hKmih
rootwork: The Powershift youth climate change conf in 2007 was also largely organized via social media http://bit.ly/8MyWtH
elliotharmon: Great example of organizing people online: Sean Tevis campaign. http://bit.ly/5VSjxh
rootwork: @tomjd @bensaint My Society @mysociety is incredibly awesome. Produce great tools for effective UK campaigns
Question #3: What are elements in these examples that are integral to the campaign’s success?
realize_ink: Q3: specific ask.
rootwork: Key element for success, to me, is allowing ppl to speak in own voice, e.g. http://jointheimpact.com was abt ppl, not an org
rootwork: Creating a sustainable org #4change is good, but not at the expense of cultivating leadership among activists IMO
rootwork: Great repository of online campaigns #4change can be found at @DigiActive – lots to analyze: http://bit.ly/4BbKWG
creativegreeniu: Direct contact from national 350 organizers incredibly effective in motivating me. I used that tactic locally 2 move others to act.
creativegreeniu: first step is recognizing value & necessity of it and specifically asking campaigners to do it.
zerostrategist: Q3: I think Access 2 the net, uncensored information, being unmonitored or not fearing reprisals for being an active are important
engagejoe: ‘An element that’s integral 2 a campaign’s success?’ Agree w/@rootwork‘s highlights: truly valuing & empowering supporters is key.
zerostrategist: Google / China comes to mind! Thank god for SMS, proxy servers & smart mobs right?
ChristinasWorld: key to good campaign is offering meaningful action for supporters to take; having a network who is ready to take action helps alot
realize_ink: Q3: empowerment & ownership
realize_ink: @amysampleward Giving ppl the opportunity 2 make it their own. Like @350 encouraged ppl’s cr8ivity 2 bring change but hd 1 ask<
ChristinasWorld: @amysampleward sharing thru soc med can help maintain an action network – don’t just talk to supporters when u need something
5MillionPeople: @amysampleward: A big part of it is surely about making sure your network feel their actions are having an effect.
ChristinasWorld: Building an effective network #4change who is ready 2 take action requires consistency – sharing stories, building trust in an ongoing way
rootwork: Be honest w/ppl about how a given action gets the movement closer to change. Like a lg version of mission line-of-sight
neddotcom: Cluetrain may be 10 years old, but was 20 years ahead of its time, very related to social media today http://cluetrain.com/
ehon: Online campaigning – the power offer to stakeholders needs to be designed and executed properly & strategically.
Question #4: What are the most difficult aspects of managing/running a campaign?
engagejoe: another best-practice for online campaigning? making it about the cause, not the org(s) that’s coordinating it.
rootwork Giving up control.
ehon: @engagejoe @rootwork valuing & empowering is obvious. Most campaigns lack long-term strategic plan to keep momentum flowing.
SocialBttrfly: @amysampleward For me, one of the more frustrating items, not nec. difficult, is overcoming the campaign mentality.
SocialBttrfly: Along lines of what @ehon was saying. Needs a strategic plan. Most campaigns address short term and focus on one P, promotion.
realize_ink: Q4: in some instances, seeing campaign as a tactic, not the entire strategy.
realize_ink: camp strat brings u closer 2 achieving org strat. camp success = met org objective. org success = worked out of a job.
ChristinasWorld: Q4 I think keeping up campaign momentum can be tiring for campaign champions. I hate that feeling of bugging people
zerostrategist: @christinasworld It IS tiring, mastering the art of the “light touch / soft ask” is not easy to keep that campaign momentum going
zerostrategist: @christinasworld I found that when you run a great social media campaign, other champions and supporters can help keep that going
SocialBttrfly I personally like the term “initiative” vs. “campaign.” “Initiative” tends to get people motivated and is action-focused.
neddotcom: Is your campaign for good push or pull? America’s Giving Challenge = push vs. Kiva peer-to-peer microfinance = pull
neddotcom: Pull can be more effective because people are coming directly to you, hopefully in great numbers and ready to do something
SocialBttrfly: I can expand in a post. In ways, it’s semantics. But the word campaign, to me, says push rather than a fueling a movement.
ehon: Challenge w online campaign – lots of sympathisers not enough activists. Inspiration doesn’t transform to action.
rootwork: .@ehon That’s why “awareness-building” is such a limited goal. I’ll take “action-building” or “change-building”!
zerostrategist: @ehon Might be right about that challenge, but I have seen the reverse too. Where everyone wants to lead but no one wants 2 follow
Question #5: What are the best ways for would-be campaigners to identify possible collaborators/partners?
engagejoe: w/online campaigning, seems a (natural?) challenge 2 coordinate w/other movement builders working on same issue
rootwork: With social media, it seems easy (maybe too easy!) to find the natural leaders & activists and bring them into the “inner circle”
rootwork: But I think that leadership cultivation is key. Someone always Tweeting out yr action alerts? See if they want to help plan them!
ChristinasWorld: Q5 thinking of @kanter & #tweetsgiving, seems clear that existing networks built over time produce strong natural collaborators
ChristinasWorld: btw – meant @kanter‘s recent b-day campaign & #tweetsgiving from @epicchange as 2 examples where collaborators identify themselves
engagejoe: w/@christinasworld that building on & seeking connections from yr ntworks makes for a gr8 starting place 2 find potential partners
Question #6 – something people always ask me: how do you measure impact of campaigns (esp w/ social media)?
ChristinasWorld: Measuring impact of #4change soc med campaigns: count unique actions/donors/RTs/shares/posts… but most important, was objective achieved?
zerostrategist: Q6 Most SM people say that it’s the number of “social actions” taken during campaign period, but I think it is much more then that #4change
zerostrategist: Q6: The fact is many things are just just not measurable even with the best tools so pay, attention to tangibles & intangibles!
zerostrategist: Q6: Do the best u can to setup automated systems to capture metrics, look at the numbers, but don’t obsess over them or the ROI
Steveistall: @zerostrategist Agreed! It’s much more important to measure outcomes (especially behaviour change) than to measure outputs
engagejoe: w/@zerostrategist that “How do you measure impact?” will never be as easy as counting clicks, challenges & solutions too complex.
engagejoe: few measurement of success: Did you build relationships? Is the mvmnt bigger, stronger? Are we closer 2 our goals?
zerostrategist: @christinasworld Like how can you measure the depth of a “social action” or an interaction with a human (virtual or physical)?
sdmediareform: Measure campaigns by if it is helping advance community exposure. Ask around…
engagejoe: social media also offers a gr8 opportunity 2 discover, seek out, & highlight the stories which may show the success of a campaign
The idea was suggested during the chat last night that next month we discuss the issue of “Cause Fatique.” I think there are lots of stories to tell, questions to ask, and examples to share on this topic and hope you’ll join us!
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