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

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.

 

Tips and Tricks #2

For this tips and tricks, our activated almonds in their slacktivewear (yes I’m still trying to make this happen, like ‘fetch’ only cooler) are going to run you through some of the wonderful activist work you can actually complete from the comfort of your couch whilst wearing your fluffiest robe and patting your dog!

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Luckily for us, the internet has already come up with so many ways we can contribute to activist causes online.  There are even sites dedicated to helping with not only their chosen causes but to any and all causes its members suggest, or they want to bring to our attention.  See Indiegogo, Change.org, Upworthy, and Take Part.

One of the most successful sites for activism is called Avaaz.  Avaaz has managed to connect more than 10 million people to 46 million causes online.  How?  It’s EASY.  If you log on, you have access to thousands of actions and causes already in progress and you can sign their petitions, contribute to letter-writing campaigns, and be a part of the facilitation of group organisation.  You can even start your own campaign.  In fact most of the causes Avaaz takes up have been members’ suggestions.  And even cooler on their part is that their funding and donations comes wholly from these members.  More than $20 million has already been collected, with each donation having a cap of $5000.

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Activism from where you’d rather be, photo by Nick Turner.

If you aren’t sure you want to start something on your own, we know the task can be daunting, you can use any of these already well-established hubs to join movements, suggest movements and grab info on movements that interest you.

If you are super keen, study what these sites do.  And then replicate it!  All you need is an internet connection, an issue that’s ignited your passion, and a few minutes out of the time you’ve already mentally designated to chillin’ online.

 

 

Tips and Tricks #1

Before we get into the tips and tricks today, I want to introduce you to a couple of health nuts.  Yes, it’s a terrible pun, but if you know anything about me wordplay keeps me going!

Introducing your slacktivated almonds!  These guys will appear at random through my posts.  Mostly for my benefit, no lie.  I love them.  Plus they’re all in slacktivewear!

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Ok so… Tips and Tricks!

Identify the cause.

Once you know the issue you want to tackle, you then need to really get down to the core of it.  If you’re not sure you want to start something on your own, this is the part where you need to do a little research.  Literally I mean a little.  There are so many fantastically inspiring and wonderful do-gooders out there that you could type in some keywords on google and find a hundred pages and people trying to fix the same problem as you. I google searched domestic violence Australia and instantly found 1800Respect and Domestic Violence NSW.

I’d recommend this exercise just as one to restore your faith in humanity.  People want things to be better.  It’s as simple as that.

If you want to start your own movement, your ideas need to be concrete.  Specify, note, research, break apart, expand, drill down.  What are the symptoms of the problem?  Is it systemic?  Know it inside and out.  You can be thinking about this wherever you are.  We all have boring board meetings to attend to, bus and train rides to take, long chats on the phone with that friend who can’t seem to get her love life sorted no matter how good your advice is… There’s a MILLION moments in every day for you to be doing deep or surface level thinking.

 

Nail your objectives to the wall.  (LITERALLY… nails. I want nails.)

What is it that you’re setting out to do?  Do you want to change an attitude?  Do you want to change a behaviour?  Or are your goals more motivational?

It can be all three, it can be more.  But know what your aims are, and know how to talk about them.

 

Read this!

This above is a gold mine for the beginning innovator!  It is an easy read even though it’s academic!  Get used to using Your Slacktivity Feed for these sorts of articles!

 

Finally, research as much as possible.

I don’t mean plumb the depths of the academic archives of your local library, nor even stealing some uni-going friend’s login details for their institution’s online catalogue.  I mean that if you plan on being an activist online, all the stuff you need is all there.  In the ether, in front of you and surrounding you.  You’ll see this stuff in your news feed.  You’ll see this stuff in your conversations.  Because it is IMPORTANT, and it gets a lot of attention.  Research here means, where possible dive as deeply as you can, but where not as easy simply listen.  Listen online to the people you already know.  Listen online to the news media outlets you trust (question these often just by the way, they always have agendas).

Once you’ve listened, you’ll know the path of activism you want to take.