Case Study: #HeForShe

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Barack Obama is #HeForShe, by Elena Duggan.

Getting close to the end of our campaigning here at Your Slacktivity Feed, and we’ve looked at some really amazing on and offline activism in the lead up to this weeks case study on #HeForShe.

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Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, by Elena Duggan.

This one was saved til the end because it is one of the most well-executed strategies I have found, and includes easily accessible ways to contribute in multiple ways.  In terms of commitments, it’s also had a crazy amount of support from its followers.

On social media, there have been about 1.3 billion conversations started with the hashtag.  Committing oneself has garnered 1.1 million signatures of which 966926 were from those that identified as men.  They have held 1.1K events around the world.

What started as the first campaign of its kind about gender equality run by the UN, has blown up.  How, you might ask?

I’m sure you’ve all seen it, but know-it-all (this is a compliment, I love her) Hermione Granger, aka empowered and empowering woman, Emma Watson gave an incredibly moving speech to kick it off.  If you haven’t, you should watch it now.  It’s 11 minutes of your life, but after you’ll understand no matter how you felt to begin with, that gender equality needs to happen to free us all of the shackles that bind and dictate our emotional responses to the world.

I am often told I’m too aggressive, too passionate.  I have often punished and subordinated myself by saying things like, “Yeah, I know… I’m a bitch.”  That’s a habit I need to kick.  I’m honest, and I don’t have time for BS.  I know you all have stories like this, and I’d love to hear them.  As I’ve stated early and often here, sharing stories is the beginning of change!

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Tom Hiddleston is He for She, by Elena Duggan.

If you search #HeForShe on Twitter you will immediately be taken with the widespread contributions from the world over.  Regardless of legislation, there is social change happening.  People’s beliefs are changing.  All of a sudden activism isn’t such a difficult or extreme behaviour.  This campaigns success is that it offers so many ways for people to be involved and all of these contributions are considered equal.

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Eddie Redmayne, by Elena Duggan.

As much as it can be problematic for celebrities to function as the voice of a generation I am continuously grateful for those with reach who put themselves on the line and stand up for what they believe in.  Not just Emma, but men everywhere.

Sign up here.
Read more here.
Get involved here.

 

Takeaways:

  1. If you’re going to have ambassadors, they need to connect with your message on a personal level and be able to speak about it on your level.
  2. Have a call to action: get people to sign up, get people to show up. Invite them.
  3. Always document your goals, and your achievements.
  4. Give people multiple ways to be and feel involved.
  5. Move people over and over again.
  6. You should comment with your own experiences of gender inequality!

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Benedict Cumberbatch, by Elena Duggan.

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Tips and Tricks #5

Content Creation and Assemblage!

Not everyone starts off being as big as the #IceBucketChallenge, where their content ends up being delivered on a silver platter by the biggest names in pop culture when they contribute.  But we all have to start somewhere.  Imagine your audience.  And then imagine you sitting with your audience in a lecture.  Some people are highly focused and engaged. Others are fidgeting with their phones, doodling in their margins, checking the likes on their latest ‘grams.  You might be zoning in and out.

What could the lecturer possibly do to keep everyone engaged the entire time?  I mean the things that are outside the lecturers oration skills.

How much does what they have to say keep your focus?
How much of it is based on the words on their visual aids?
Is it how they break up their content with different features?

I know that the best lectures I’ve attended have been rich in visual content and don’t require much reading… which is why this blog will be short.

A combination of video, photos, infographics, words and style all come into play.  When all of these things are utilised, it’s impossible to not grab a wide ranging audience even if just for a moment.

Make some of it funny, and you’ve won!

Unsplash is my favourite site for free images in case you need a photographic boost to your content but aren’t as skilled as the guys who upload their work over there!

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Tips and Tricks #4

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Activist Essentials, photo by Vadim Sherbakov.

Listening.

Listening is honestly going to be not only the most important part of any successful campaign for social change that uses online digital tools, but also the biggest timesuck.

No lie, it’s like 80% of the gig.  And if you’re anything like me, bighearted, fiery and passionate, the problems you’ll be spending 80% of your time reading about will probably really impact upon how you feel about the world.  These last couple weeks reading about Black Lives Matter, equality, people suffering from debilitating diseases… Safe to say it’s been hard at times.  And it’s really hard for me to believe that these things haven’t changed the more time we spend listening, so just be prepared for all of the feels.

What makes listening easier though?  Emotionally, not much is there to support you except having really good conversations with people talking about the same issues… But in terms of social media tools, this is the cool part, there are HEAPS of sites, people, tools already created to help you get the most out of these platforms.

The internet really is pretty phenomenal, and with a campaign for social change it is one of your best friends.

If you’re using Twitter, I can’t recommend HootSuite, My Top Tweet, and Sprout Social enough.  HootSuite is a dashboard for you to essentially see every page of Twitter you want to monitor all at once.  You can dedicate a section to whatever #hashtag you’d like to watch play out, and this is honestly a great way to get in touch with people who care about your topic.

My Top Tweet allows you to see the most liked, retweeted tweets from people’s handles, and is therefore great at allowing you to see what hashtag networks from your identified hubs get seen by loads of people.

Sprout Social is a tool that helps you measure your Twitter engagement.  I won’t go into them all in depth but logging on is enough to give you reason to stay.

Handy thing about Facebook pages is that they’ve built most if not all the analytics you could want right into their Insights page.  It gives you reach, engagement, page visits, likes, and the list goes on.  One thing I’ve noticed about listening on Facebook though is that searching for hashtags and people don’t necessarily give you the goods when it comes to how they preferentially deliver search results to you.  So for this one, make sure you already know your hubs and you spend significant time on their pages to read comments and share their info.

Once you’ve listened to what the rest of the internet has to say, deeply consider what the internet around you says with regards to your content.  The things that have the most views and engagement, the posts that have generated the engagement you’re looking for, the times of day people spend looking at your data, etc. and then adjust your strategy accordingly.  If you believe it to be content-based engagement, keep pumping that kind of content out! It’s not difficult, but it does require a lot of focus, energy and time.

Happy listening all!

Links to other cool listening tools:
1. Google AdWords
2. AllInTitle
3. Market Samurai
4. Google Alerts

#BlackLivesMatter: Case Study

So our last Tips and Tricks post was all about Telling Your Story, and in it I mentioned the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

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Kobe Bryant wearing his I Can’t Breathe tee in warm up, by Elena Duggan.

Before we get started, there are a few things I want to mention.  I need to identify and position myself truthfully and accurately with regards to this movement by stating that I am a white cis female Australian and therefore cannot possibly feel or experience the things that people fighting for this movement are going through.  I say this so that if any of my language could possibly be construed any way other than my intention, please know that my intent will never be to hurt.  I would call myself an ally except that I have seen numerous people online say that do not think allies either can really exist or should have their opinion heard in any way that subordinates that of someone experiencing the same situation as someone who identifies as black.

Another thing I want to address is that this blog in particular is dedicated to analysis of different acts of activism, and what’s involved in making successful or not successful online activist campaigns for social change.  #BlackLivesMatter is representative of centuries of race relations and anguish and murder, systemic racism that proliferates all industries including those that think they are more open like Hollywood, and more recently the despicable, horrifying and tragic events involving people like Michael Brown in Ferguson and Terrence Crutcher and the Charlotte riots… How could any singular blog post tackle or even attempt to negotiate these incredibly deep and highly emotional concepts?  I don’t think it can, what I do think though is that talking about these problems is the first step in effecting positive social change.

And that right there, is the crux of what this blog is all about.  Story telling, and how important it is.

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Tyga, by Elena Duggan.

What we all need to understand is that all problems we have as a group of people have been created entirely by us.  Therefore the only way these issues can be corrected is through people.  How do you get someone to change a belief, attitude, behaviour?  Get them to care.  Get them to care about their own future, the future their children will have.  Get them to care about the people they love, get them to care about their country.  You need to appeal to their senses of justice, morality, fairness, humanity.  If you know anything about advertising, you know that the story is what will sell your product.  Watch any Apple ad

Another thing I need to state is that while I’m talking about #BlackLivesMatter as a campaign for social change and I’m using words like success, I am well aware that this campaign will be in progress as long as necessary for systemic change to be in place.  #BlackLivesMatter is not something that’s over.  It’s not finished and everything is perfect.  I’m talking about it because it is very much something we should be talking about every single day.  Everyone.  In the whole planet.  No matter where you belong or where you call home.

The thing that draws me to talking about it is actually because of how powerful it is as a movement.  It is one of the most discussed topics on all social media platforms.  Millions of people are contributing.  Thankfully we live in a time where social media and smart phones exist.  Crimes like the ones we are seeing in videos uploaded to these platforms used to be hidden away in the shadows and not discussed.  I remember the way my stomach dropped as a kid when I saw the Rodney King footage.  I remember it so viscerally because it’s the way I feel on the verge of physical illness with each new image and hashtag dedicated to another black person killed in the streets.

These videos are stories.

And they are hard to watch, but even harder to ignore.

Stories are important to get people onside, but they are equally important in the education of the people reading them.  The messages encoded translate as important because of how much a story makes us care.  And we remember those messages.  We share those messages.

For a better description of this, you must watch or read Jesse Williams’ speech at the BET Awards this year.

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Jesse Williams at the BET Awards, by Elena Duggan.

And if you’re sitting there reading this thinking this doesn’t all apply to you, you’re wrong.  If you need convincing just have a look at the mass outpouring of solidarity expressed in recent protests held in Melbourne and Sydney.

Or if you think you can watch and love Beyoncé’s Lemonade for just the musical content, you’re wrong.  She’s telling you the stories of millions of lived experiences, you just need to listen.

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Beyoncé, Lenny Kravitz, Queen Latifah, Kevin Hart, Janelle Monáe, Chris Rock, Jennifer Hudson, Pharrell, Alicia Keys and Rihanna talk about 23 Ways you could be killed if you are black in America, by Elena Duggan.

Takeaways:

  1. Even when it’s the hardest thing to do, tell your story.
  2. Even when it’s the hardest thing to watch, watch the videos shared.
  3. Even when it’s the hardest thing to say, call out racism.
  4. Even when it’s the hardest thing to own, own and acknowledge your own prejudices and do your best to change them by educating yourself.
  5. Even when it’s the hardest thing to believe, believe that change is possible.

Tips and Tricks #3

This Tips and Tricks post perfectly aligns with the case study I’ll be posting later this week on #BlackLivesMatter.  That, and this, will be given our current circumstances quite difficult topics.  As much as possible, as this is a blog about online activism we will try to separate our academic theorising from the politic and emotion surrounding this topic. To preface, this is not because we don’t think those are important, it’s actually because we think the politics and emotions involved are so important, challenging and necessary to discuss that this is just simply not the right forum for it.  I’d need thousands of words, thousands of open hearts and ears, and a ridiculous amount of strength.

So what we’re focusing on here in Tips and Tricks, is making sure you tell your story.

With any campaign for social change, you need people.  You need them on your side, you need them invested, and you need them to care.  How do you do that?  Well picture you’re in school or university and you attend lectures every week on the same topic.  Do you remember the exact words your lecturer used to explain something they are telling you is incredibly important? Maybe, but probably not.  Do you want to share that with anyone you care about that isn’t also taking the course?  Almost definitely not.

What are the things you do remember?  What are the things you want to tell those you love? See here for a whole chapter on how this works.

Stories.  You want to tell your family a funny joke, something witty, incredulous, fascinating, unbelievable… Something that sticks.  Anything that stuck with you.  Think about telling ghost stories around a camp fire.  Somehow those stories we tell we can remember word for word, and we LOVE telling them.

This doesn’t mean you campaign needs to be full of funny stories, jokes or fear, but it does mean that it needs to have something that will make your audience care.  Think about all the social problems out there and what you might want to change.  Nothing funny or entertaining about that.  In fact most problems are truly heart wrenching and tragic.  Just like the stories being told in the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

These aren’t stories we want to share, these aren’t stories any of us want to hear, but these stories are real, true and necessary.  And the people in these stories deserve the whole world to know the pain and suffering that is happening.  People care about stories.  So find them.  Chase them.  Tell them.  Make them memorable.

 

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Case Study

This week we’re thinking about how perceived #slacktivist movements go viral, get thousands of people involved, and then get criticised.

I’m sure you’re all aware of the ALS #IceBucketChallenge.  If not, you literally must have been on a digital cleanse or under a rock for like a year.  For those that need a refresher, the viral movement was all about raising awareness and gathering donations from those who participated.  Think #WorldsGreatestShave where people get sponsorship for performing an act like shaving their head or getting a bucket of ice thrown over their head, videoing it and uploading it to their social media platforms in this case.

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Kim Kardashian gets soaked by Ellen Degeneres, by Elena Duggan.

If you look this movement up, you’re not only going to get a lot of YouTube videos of the world’s most famous celebrities getting dunked in their most creative ways possible, but you’re also going to see hundred of articles from pop journalists and academics alike heavily criticising those that participated.

They have their reasons.  They state that many of those that participated either never donated and participated only to be seen engaging, or ended up spending more on the buckets of ice or expending time and effort on the action rather than research on the issue.  This is real.  I see their points, and I agree with them that this is endlessly frustrating, especially for those that suffer with motor neurone disease who at points during this campaign’s virality it could have seemed unhelpful.

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Rita Ora contributing to #IceBucketChallenge, by Elena Duggan.

But the coolest thing about this is, that despite all the negative criticism and the negative world-view type of reporting we’ve seen on this, news came out in the last couple months that all the proceeds of the #IceBucketChallenge actually contributed to the funding of a new scientific breakthrough.

The money from donations helped fund the biggest and most widespread study of samples previously collected, that allowed the discovery of a common gene found among ALS sufferers.

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Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, Rob RiggleHoratio SanzSteve Higgins soak themselves on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, by Elena Duggan.

A relatively short case study, because there’s really not much else we need to say.  This is proof that movements that start online can contribute in multiple ways to offline change.

Takeaways:

  1. You need a phenomenal strategy.
  2. Your strategy needs to be accessible.
  3. Know your objectives.  If donation is one of those, it needs to play a big role in your strategy.
  4. Make engagement fun.  You only get people interested if their role is fun!
  5. Once your campaign has created change, you need to publish and emphasise what your contributors helped with!  Follow up is key.

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ALS Ice Bucket ready for dunking, by Elena Duggan.

A Small Break in Tradition

Exciting stuff guys!

This blog post was not scheduled ahead of time and is additional but its because I’ve found new information that has been awesome to read and I want to draw your attention to it!

First of all, I want you to consider the concept of physical activism and think about the bodily experience of protest.

I read this incredible post and not only did it echo my sentiments on the usefulness of online activism but it also really opened my eyes to an entirely different perspective on bodily experiences with regards to getting involved in change.  Criticism of ‘slacktivism’ comes from those who are able-bodied with negative world views as Heather said.

Secondly, as I’ve stated previously ‘slacktivism’ is not an answer to, or coverall method of activism… And even the sites that I’ve referenced in previous blogs are not necessarily able to fix or change everything they aim to even with all their resources.  This article has genuinely influenced my opinion on online activism’s place in the world of social change.  We will always need to adapt and adopt change.  Hell it’s what we’re all fighting for anyway so we need to be aware that the things we once did that worked, may not work again.  Take virality and consider the fact that some famous YouTubers will always be successful, but that most are one-hit-wonders.

The same goes for social innovation.  It’s not called social innovation for no reason.  Let’s focus on the innovation part.

Let’s innovate.

I’m so keen to hear what’s worked for you on any project big or small.  Hit me up.

 

street-corner-smallThe New Street Corner, Photo by Gabriel Beaudry.