The Social Web for Skeptics (or, Using the Social Web for Social Change)


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Hype, hype, and more hype: To many, the whole Web 2.0 revolution feels like one big bandwagon with little relationship to real-world concerns. And let’s face it: A Twitter account and a Facebook page will not change the world all by themselves. But let’s talk about what’s at the heart of the social web, and where its potential for real change lies. Web 2.0 has been around for a while now, and we’ve learned some important lessons about what works. In this presentation, I share five effective strategies for facilitating social change movements online, and encourage you to identify your own top priorities for using the social web to further your organizational mission.

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  • You might think I just threw that last one in there. But my clients & colleague know that I’m a bit ornery when it comes to jumping on techie bandwagons. I was late to the Twitter party. I never check my FB mail. I have priorities and many of them are offline.

  • Here’s what a lot of people think when they hear the phrase “Web 2.0” or “Social Media”.
  • It’s easy to drown in a sea of available technological tools.
    Start by understanding what the Social Web is good for – then select the right tools to serve your mission.
  • Beyond the sheer overwhelm of the techie stuff, there are real concerns about how to fit social media strategy into your overall mission.
  • Too often, we get mired in the surface-level stuff. But what *really* fuels the web?
    This isn’t just about your website, or your Facebook page, or your Twitter account.
    What -> How -> WHY: Let’s try to stay focused on the WHY first and the how & what later. Widgets without purpose are just annoying.
  • There are 161,000 nonprofits & charities in Canada.
    That’s 1 for every 200 citizens.
  • A solid social media strategy will help you identify and develop ambassadors who will help spread your message, raise funds, and keep your work and mission relevant and alive.

  • We all love the idea of having people hang on our every word - but that’s not very realistic. Fact is, most people like being part of the conversation. One-way communication is still important (TED talks! Movies!), but it has its limitations.
    Right now, I’m speaking to you in a Web 1.0 kind of way.
  • We all love the idea of having people hang on our every word - but that’s not very realistic. Fact is, most people like being part of the conversation. One-way communication is still important (TED talks! Movies!), but it has its limitations.
    Right now, I’m speaking to you in a Web 1.0 kind of way.
  • Similarly, nonprofits and other organizations have tended to think about their communications as one-way, and as branded (even if they didn’t call it that). We want to “own the space” – but that’s not always the way it works, either. Constituents may be more passionate about a cause than about your org. And they may want you to change your ways to respond to their interests & needs. More & more, need to make value for them.
  • Ideally you want a mix of talk & conversation, top-down & bottom-up approaches.
    There are different ways people can connect & influence one another, on- and offline. Consider all of your “audiences” (community niches) and the connections between them.
  • Now, I’m not suggesting that publishing should disappear. There’s definitely still room for experts, research, and one-way communication. We’re just opening the doors to two-way conversation when it’s appropriate and on mission. This isn’t conversation for conversation’s sake, but rather
  • Technology: Coding languages & protocols, software & hardware
    People - the user rules: We create our own content & organize it
    Open, interactive platforms: Designed for interaction, contribution, customization
  • Technology is a critical element, so I’m going to give up four and a half minutes to a short video, because it illuminates how technology fits into all of this.

  • “Do what you do best, and link to the rest.” - Jeff Jarvis
    The technology has evolved to a stage where it is so easy to use that you can focus on creating the content and connecting with your community.
  • We don’t generally get married on the first date. And we don’t often give money to an organization the first time we ever hear of them. The social web is about relationships - so how to we use it to build genuine trust and engagement?

  • These are in a pretty specific order.

  • Twitter is an amazing tool for listening & participating in converstaion.

  • Frances Bula, former Vancouver Sun journalist, now freelances & writes her own blog. Journalists like Bula now rely heavily on online connections.

  • Wikipedia is just one example of the Wiki phenomenon. Here’s another.
  • “Who you know” is still the deciding factor in a lot of situations. The Social Web helps you build, track & leverage a bigger network than you could reasonably cultivate in “real life,” b/c the transaction cost is lower & even loose ties can prove strong in certain circumstances.
  • A lot of the time, we’re back to talking about finding the key influencers in your network.

  • Co-branding w/allied orgs? (MEC, CPAWS)
    Feedback (see upper right corner)
    Connect w/existing communities (see FB badge)
    Clear statement of purpose

  • I’m going to talk about each of these 5 strategies. These are in a pretty specific order.
    It’s important that you build on a strong foundation.
  • Here’s one way to phase your online strategy. We’re going to come back to this as a DIY self-assessment exercise, and you’ll get a better chance to look at it then.

  • Expanding your audience might not be central to your mission. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Really focus on the work that’s core to your mission and start there.

  • The Social Web for Skeptics (or, Using the Social Web for Social Change)

    1. 1. The Social Web for Skeptics …or, Using the Social Web for Social Change Sunday, October 17, 2010
    2. 2. Lauren Bacon • Online Strategist • Volunteer • Nonprofit Technologist • Skeptic Sunday, October 17, 2010
    3. 3. We’re going to look at: • What does “Web 2.0” mean, anyway? • How does the Social Web work? • 5 effective strategies for facilitating social change movements online • DIY self-assessment exercise Sunday, October 17, 2010
    4. 4. Web 2.0 is Human(s). Sunday, October 17, 2010
    5. 5. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    6. 6. No wonder we’re overwhelmed. Let’s talk about the strategies behind the tools. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    7. 7. Face your fears • Loss of control • One more to-do • Unknown & unpredictable • Transparency • More noise, less signal • Flash in the pan trend Sunday, October 17, 2010
    8. 8. Drilling Down: What fuels the web? Code • Graphics • Widgets Storytelling • Conversation • Sharing Function • Meaning • Delight • Evolution • Humans! Sunday, October 17, 2010
    9. 9. 1:200 Sunday, October 17, 2010
    10. 10. Chances are, you need more humans on your side & working for you. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    11. 11. Web 1.0 ➞ Web 2.0 How Did We Get Here? Sunday, October 17, 2010
    12. 12. The Way We Were • Old way = One-way • Traditional media & communications were all about broadcasting, top-down, “experts.” Photo courtesy of ralphbijker on Flickr Sunday, October 17, 2010
    13. 13. Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0 COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA SOCIAL MEDIA Space defined by Media Owner Space defined by Consumer Brand in control Consumer in control One way / Delivering a message Two way / Being a part of a conversation Repeating the message Adapting the message/ beta Focused on the brand Focused on the consumer / Adding value Entertaining Influencing, involving Company created content User created content / Co-creation Source: Neil Perkin, “What’s Next in Media: How Social Media Changes the Rules for Good” Sunday, October 17, 2010
    14. 14. The Social Web = Cross-Influence Top-Down Media (online & offline) “Consumers” Employees Influencers Conversation Talk Government Donors Academics Members Bottom-up Adapted from: Monte Lutz, “The Social Pulpit: Barack Obama’s Social Media Toolkit” Sunday, October 17, 2010
    15. 15. In 10 words or less… • Web 1.0 is about publishing. • Web 2.0 is about participation. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    16. 16. How does the social web work? Open/Interactive Technology Platforms People Sunday, October 17, 2010
    17. 17. Technology minute: Let’s turn it over to Professor Wesch. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    18. 18. The Machine is Us(ing us) Source: Michael Wesch, Anthropology Program at Kansas State University Sunday, October 17, 2010
    19. 19. Key Takeaways • Links are currency • Separating form & content • Sharing, reusing, remixing • Collective wisdom • This is a human phenomenon Hat tips: Beth Kanter, Alexandra Samuel & Rob Cottingham. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    20. 20. Humans online: How do we build trust? Sunday, October 17, 2010
    21. 21. The Ladder of Engagement Source: Monte Lutz, “The Social Pulpit: Barack Obama’s Social Media Toolkit” Sunday, October 17, 2010
    22. 22. The Ladder of Engagement • What are the actions you want your community members to take? • How do offline actions map to online ones? Sunday, October 17, 2010
    23. 23. 5 Effective Strategies for facilitating social change online Sunday, October 17, 2010
    24. 24. 1. Listen & Participate “The desire to be part of a group that shares, cooperates, or acts in concert is a basic human instinct.” - Clay Shirky Sunday, October 17, 2010
    25. 25. 1. Listen & Participate • Listen to • influencers • your “audience” / community • others in your sector • Research & data collection Sunday, October 17, 2010
    26. 26. 1. Listen & Participate • Collaborate with allies • Build coalitions • Comment on blogs & articles • Join the conversation where it’s already happening Sunday, October 17, 2010
    27. 27. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    28. 28. 1. Listen & Participate • Find the insiders who care - “grasstops” / “community champions.” (We will talk more about these people shortly.) • The long tail of public policy Sunday, October 17, 2010
    29. 29. 1. Listen & Participate 1 9 90 Every community has super-users – high authority, highly active Know who they are Source: Neil Perkin, “What’s Next in Media: How Social Media Changes the Rules for Good” Sunday, October 17, 2010
    30. 30. 2. Storytelling “The truth about stories is, that’s all we are.” - Thomas King Sunday, October 17, 2010
    31. 31. 2. Storytelling • What are the stories that influence change? Look for stories with… • Emotional impact • Personality • A vision of a better world • Successes, statistics, momentum • Especially online, we crave connection. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    32. 32. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    33. 33. 2. Storytelling • How & in what form are they best told? • Videos/Podcasts • Photos • Blog posts • Interactive tools • Consider multiple/combined media Sunday, October 17, 2010
    34. 34. 2. Storytelling Source: The New York Times, “Geography of a Recession” Sunday, October 17, 2010
    35. 35. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    36. 36. 2. Storytelling • Users want to remix, so make it easy for them to share. • Bookmark, tweet, post to Facebook, Slideshare, etc. • Creative Commons licenses vs copyright • Platform independent (mobile, RSS, etc.) - think “small pieces, loosely joined” Sunday, October 17, 2010
    37. 37. 3. Knowledge Sharing “One part anarchy, one part aristocracy, one part democracy, one part monarchy” – Jimmy Wales on the Wikipedia Community “In the past you were what you owned. Now you are what you share.” – Charles Leadbeater Sunday, October 17, 2010
    38. 38. 3. Knowledge Sharing • Sharing stuff of value to others leads to authority, recognition, attribution • What you can share that will create maximum value for your community members? Sunday, October 17, 2010
    39. 39. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    40. 40. 3. Knowledge Sharing • Media advocacy: Connect with journalists, bloggers, engaged citizens • "The media" isn't unified anymore; citizen journalism is on the rise, and as the tools of the news become ubiquitous, getting your message out is a more complex matter. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    41. 41. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    42. 42. 3. Knowledge Sharing • Blogger outreach: Find the online influencers and connect with them. • Cultivate these connections the way you would traditional media contacts (but less formal) Sunday, October 17, 2010
    43. 43. 3. Knowledge Sharing Participatory culture: “The architecture of the such that users pursuing their own ‘selfish’ interests [refining open source software; downloading music; voting for content they like on social bookmarking sites] build collective value as an automatic byproduct.” – Tim O’Reilly, What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns & Business Models for the Next Generation of Software, Sept 30, 2005 Sunday, October 17, 2010
    44. 44. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    45. 45. 3. Knowledge Sharing • Web 2.0 takes social capital to a whole new level & blows the power & potential scale of personal & organizational networks wide open. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    46. 46. 3. Knowledge Sharing • The Wisdom of Crowds… • creates & polices Wikipedia (crowdsourcing) • decides what sites become popular • determines which stories, videos, etc. go viral Sunday, October 17, 2010
    47. 47. 4. Fundraising & Revenue Generation “Communities already exist. Instead [of building your own online community], think about how you can help that [existing] community do what it wants to do.” - Mark Zuckerberg Sunday, October 17, 2010
    48. 48. 4. Fundraising & Revenue Generation • Fundraising (and sales, too) has always been about building relationships. • Web 2.0 is all about relationships, too. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    49. 49. 4. Fundraising & Revenue Generation • • $11 million out in loans, from over 113,000 people • that’s an average loan of under $100 • Mobile giving raised over $35 million for Haiti earthquake relief (Source: Huffington Post: Sunday, October 17, 2010
    50. 50. 4. Fundraising & Revenue Generation • Lessons from Obama: • 3 million donors made a total of 6.5 million donations online, adding up to more than $500 million. • Of those 6.5 million donations, 6 million were in increments of $100 or less; the average online donation was $80. • The average donor gave more than once. (Source: The Washington Post: Sunday, October 17, 2010
    51. 51. 4. Fundraising & Revenue Generation • So…the amounts may be small, but if you can hit critical mass, the number of donations can multiply the effect significantly. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    52. 52. 5. Community Building & Social Networking • Social networking isn’t just about Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Ning, etc… some groups are creating their own online communities. • It also includes lobbying & online activism. • MoveOn/Avaaz • Human Rights Campaign • Greenpeace: Green My Apple Sunday, October 17, 2010
    53. 53. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    54. 54. 5. Community Building & Social Networking • Advocacy tools • Community blogging • User profiles & connections • Contests • Mobile Sunday, October 17, 2010
    55. 55. Haiti Earthquake Relief via SMS Sunday, October 17, 2010
    56. 56. Micro-volunteering Sunday, October 17, 2010
    57. 57. Micro-volunteering Sunday, October 17, 2010
    58. 58. 5. Community Building & Social Networking • Creating an online community takes major resources – and critical mass. • Participating in existing communities must come first. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    59. 59. 5. Community Building & Social Networking • It all boils down to providing maximum value to your community members. • How can you make it worth their while to create YAFP (Yet Another [umm…] Profile)? Sunday, October 17, 2010
    60. 60. Let’s recap those 5 strategies. 1. Listen & Participate 2. Share Stories 3. Knowledge Sharing 4. Fundraising & Revenue Generation 5. Community Building & Social Networking Hat tips: Beth Kanter, Alexandra Samuel & Rob Cottingham. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    61. 61. Take a phased, iterative approach. Source: Monte Lutz, “The Social Pulpit: Barack Obama’s Social Media Toolkit” Sunday, October 17, 2010
    62. 62. Don’t ignore the basics. Your web strategy cocktail should include: • One part web presence • One part one-way (e.g. email, advertising) • One part social (Adjust quantities to taste.) Sunday, October 17, 2010
    63. 63. But also… • Risk making mistakes & learn from them • Iterate, measure, refine - and try again Sunday, October 17, 2010
    64. 64. The tools must support the mission. • Not everyone needs every tool. • Where are your community members? (The data might surprise you.) • Select the tools that support your mission. Sunday, October 17, 2010
    65. 65. When we come back… • Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly: What stage are you at? Sunday, October 17, 2010
    66. 66. Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly: What stage are you at? Sunday, October 17, 2010
    67. 67. Remember “crawl, walk, run”? Sunday, October 17, 2010
    68. 68. Remember “crawl, walk, run”? • What are the outcomes you want to achieve? • How successful are the tools you’re using now? (And what metrics are you using?) • Do you have the basics covered? Sunday, October 17, 2010
    69. 69. Please keep in touch. @laurenbacon @raisedeyebrow Sunday, October 17, 2010