Online activism..Collaborate don’t just aggregate


Change.org, Takepart, Avaaz etc – I am realistic about the need and impact of online activism but I think it is time these guys take a strong hard look at their approaches.

What happens when you start becoming associated with a new cause every single day and start hollering through endless email chains and requests for support – You end up desensitizing majority of populace to issues while giving them a quasi sense of satisfaction on having done their part just by clicking a few buttons. This world has no shortage of issues that need attention, but it is important that we realize that getting attention to a problem rarely resolves it. The rate at which these petitions are growing, I’d not be surprised if I find a child raising a petition online asking his/her parents to stop feeding spinach because some TV doctor and a panel of experts on HLN have figured out in’ breaking news’ that spinach causes kids to have bad expression on their face!

Here’s some solutions – Change.org, Takepart, Awaaz, etc – Hope you are listening

  1. Don’t become a petition engine–  Restrict the number of issues your site can raise by a voting mechanism , especially the frequency of emails sent out to not more than 2 a month;
  2. Collaborate don’t just aggregate – If someone else has already raised a petition for an issue , redirect your users to that site and ask that the petitioners to do the same. Engage the petitioners with debate and discussion , not just campaigns and signatures.
  3. Follow-up – Force petitioners to timebox their results and follow-up on what they did or did not achieve; And archive their petitions if they cannot show progress every 4-6 weeks in reaching their goals.
  4. Global yet local – Target your message mix with a portfolio of global and local issues, something like one global issue to 4 local issues. Everyone cannot and will not be able to constantly feel motivated by a barrage of global issues that need to be dealt with. You cannot wake up one day to problems in Afghanistan, have breakfast conversations on Rwanda, discuss Guantanamo over lunch, sip coffee over child labor in diamond mines and dine over the devastation of Amazon forests.

Online activism is an awareness and engagement tool – Badly designed operating models will permanently blunt its ability to engage with the audience.

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~ by exploreamaze on September 27, 2012.

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