Last week I attended the Northern Voice Conference – Canada’s blogging conference. While attending, James Sherrett and I took some detailed notes to share with the One Degree Community.
These shorthand notes represent what was presented at the conference. For ease-of-use, I have formatted them with the Session Name, Presenter, its Big idea and a ha moments, as well as links mentioned in the presentation.
Keynote: Making Change Happen
Anil Dash from Six Apart
Anil started the session with the statement "Blogs have Changed My Life". How? Two key qualities of blogs: Persistence and Awareness. These together create a Relationship between blog author and blog reader – an outcome that was not possible with Web 1.0. Persistence: the idea that something you create has lasting value. So much of our communication is ephemeral. A date stamp on a blog = a social contract — I will be at this place again. There is value in providing content that will be viewed more than once (think about how kids watch the same movies over and over again). Awareness: notification that something is going on, but notification with control (e.g. RSS .. I can control when I get my information).
My favourite observation: "The technologies that delight people are the ones that give them more control."
Audio for Making Change Happen
Opening question: What do people want to get from this session?
* How do you keep people engaged in social topics?
* How to avoid cargo cult activism?
** how to make sure the advocates know something about the issue
* In what domains does online activism work?
* what are the difficulties in making social change happen?
* where do you find funding for social change projects?
* see some good examples of things that have worked / continued working
* politics, war and the media
* how to integrate user-generated content into corporate experience?
* grassroots storytelling and how it can be integrated
* social media will change how change happens
* in organizations where the funding and decisions are made the change is not happening anywhere near as fast as it is online
* but it is starting to happen
* participative media is starting to change the way that social campaigners approach campaigners
* old school
** think of policy, decision makers
** build a flashy website to send representatives an email
* new school
** how can the pros who want to run campaigns add participation into it?
** people are searching for more meaning
** how to get them involved
* organizations are nervous about what’s happening
* the ways they communicated in the past are eroding and their influence is waning over time
* organizations and institutions are afraid of what’s happening because they don’t have a monopoly on participation now
* Jason thinks that we all don’t yet know what’s happening or what will happen
* social change still really happens in old school ways
** policy change
** massive consumer change
** value change in society
* most fundraisers still raise most of their money through vast fundraisers dinners and other old-school ways
* 2 models of social change
** inside game: you talk to the insiders (executives, politicians) to get them to change big decisions
** outside game: you target the mass to create a grassroots movement but is noise alone enough to create change?
* organizations change slowly and people change slowly
* a lot of the questions brought up in the beginning may be answered through plugging into old school practices in new school ways
* Q: do you make a disinction between social change and charities
** Jason: makes a good distinction between social service and social change
** either make change in the system (social service) or change the system (social change)
* introduction of Vancity’s ChangeEverything.ca website
* there was a big concern about moderation when they first launched the site
* they had done a lot of work seeding the conversations online
* they found they didn’t have to moderate the discussion at all
* the practices of the community became the norms without pruning
* Kate told the story of Got Hats — in the span of 24 hours they delivered all kinds of warm clothes to Vancouver shelters during a cold snap
* lesson: when it comes to action you have to ask for action
* you can’t just put information out there and hope people will take the initiative on their own
* once the idea caught on it took on a life of its own
* the event had some spillover effects that inspired other people to take action
4 Phases of social change (from Jason Mogus)
# grounding and visioning
* how does it align with your values
* how is it sustainable
* who has funding for it
# creating a plan
# executing to a high level
# feedback loops to keep it rolling