Mobilizing Generation 2.0 outlines seven keys elements of the “2.0” virtually dependent reality we currently thrive in. Those elements, outline as chapters are blogging, social networking, video and photo sharing, mobile phones, wikis, maps and virtual worlds. To some, these may seem obvious as the term “web 2.0” is really up to how the user chooses to define it. This book refers to the world we now live in, the next phase of the web, being referred to as 2.0 or second edition. We are even hypothesized as to be moving quickly into web 3.0. From my experience in CCT, web 2.0 has been referred to as the ability for users to interact and share personalized data, text or graphics in real time. To some or most, their definition is a mixture of the two. In Mobilizing Generation 2.0, each element (or chapter) is broken down into a series of examples, tips and steps as to how one could use the tool to generate mobilization of youth in a digitally dependent world.
Personally, I was drawn to the mobile phone and virtual world chapters. Mobile phones will definitely be playing a central role in upcoming elections, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts. It’s been used in the past for petitions, event recruitment, and the timeliness of this medium is heavily discussed as in a n example of the Asthma U.K. text-alert campaign that warned asthma suffers about high pollen days, and times to avoid being outdoors to bring along some remedies. When applying information from this chapter, it is clear that (published in 2008) this book does has not yet realized the potential of smartphones. With smartphones we can connect not only through text messaging but through mobile applications, which can be used to store and collect much more information as well as connect individuals through mobile mapping and messages without tapping into text messaging.
When first investigating Mobilizing Generations 2.0, I was a bit skeptical as to how virtual worlds could be used in mobilizing a generation, as they don’t seem very mainstream or have the ability to mobilize people to vote or become active towards a cause. I then learned of examples where media coverage can be taken into the virtual world, connecting and engaging supporters is possible. Maybe not on a large scale population frame of mind, but on a global scale.Users have sold virtual items for charity, but I still don’t personally see how this can translate into a large enough impact into todays economic environment to make a difference.
A more recent piece, Year One of Organizing for America, was written post Obama Campaign and features a wealth of information about the permanent field campaign in the digital age and was written by Ari Melber. It looks at a number of arenas where digital campaigning came into play and how people were mobilized. Organizing For America (OFA), is what Obama’s campaign was referred to. The report focuses on the first year of OFA in 2009. The first area that was looked at was Community and Reform and looked at areas of politics where people could become engaged and support Obama and where they could begin to reform.”Obama’s post-election effort provided a separate, nonpolicy organizing track explicitly focused on fostering community,” as the OFA was more focused on community and indirect contact with supports. The image of engagement was there, but the actual interaction with OFA was less obvious. OFA was thought of as being a non-political, but governmental campaign to support issues directly affecting america and not the elections, although they were a secondary triumph as the majority of issues that were sided with under OFA were democratic. It effecting increased volunteerism and had a clear strategic agenda.
Back in April 2011, Google unveiled what would be its version of “Like” or “Retweet”, in respect to Facebook and Twitter. Recently, I’ve found myself unabashed, stating “I’d plus one that“. Too easily, I fall into these social media/real life crossover effects. In an article from webseoanayltics.com, I discovered what exactly the +1 feature does.
It has effects on click through rates for ads and websites, weighs in on search engine optimization and works as a bookmarking feature (which is much more evident if you are a Google+ user). On Google+, your profile has a +1 tab where you can view everything you have +1’d. Articles you post or posts in general have a +1 for their popularity or a number totalling the number of people who have added a +1 to the post.
In regards to SEO, “Google already uses data from 3rd party Social Media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr etc) as signals to determine the Search Engine Results. As a result we should expect that the number of +1s of a page will be used as asignal on the future. Nevertheless by definition the +1 button gives more weight to what your friends think as important and as a result we should expect that it will carry more weight when one of your contacts voted for a particular page,” states Vasilis Vryniotis, who wrote the article The New Google +1 Button and the Effects on SEO. He went on to state ‘As we said above the +1 button will allow users recommend and share content with their friends and it will be visible next to the search results. Along with them the logged in users will be able to see if the people that belong to their Social Circle have +1’d any of the pages that appear in SERPs. Currently the Social Circle is calculated based on the data that come from Gmail, Google Talk, Google Contacts, Google Reader and Google Buzz. Nevertheless Google says that on the near future they will incorporate information from other 3rd party networks such as Twitter, Flickr etc.”
On Google’s website describing +1, they state, “Sometimes it’s easier to find exactly what you’re looking for when someone you know already found it. Get recommendations for the things that interest you, right when you want them, in your search results”. The main point of this article, published soon after the release of +1, is that the more people that +1 this blog post on Social Ed Culture, the more likely it is to pop up higher on the list of results for a google search related to this article or with words within my “tags”. So please, +1 this article!
Dr. Alan Roseblatt published two articles on FrogLoop.com in October 2010, which to this day remains relevant. In the first article, Measuring the Impact of Your Social Media Program, he discuss the critical assessment of Return on Investment, for both non-profits and advocacy campaigns. For social media campaigns/programs, the ability to measure your engagement can be crucial to the success of your campaign. It allows you to determine what works well and what can be altered. In Measuring Social Madia Reach, Rosenblatt looks at the audience size, hashtags, impressions, and an analysis of your followers/fans. He opens the article by discussing how influence is comprised of three main categories of metrics: reach, engagement and driving traffic to your website.
“Simply put, reach is about the size of your audience and how many people see your social advocacy messages. Reach features your largest success metric number—the number of people who see (potentially) your message. Since more people will see your social media posts than will click on any links within them, it is imperative that the posts contain your key message points. That way, just reading the posts will deliver value to your audience and to your programmatic goals,” opens Rosenblatt when discussing reach. This leads to his second article, Rules of Social Media Engagement, in which Rosenblatt discusses ways in which to track what’s trending through social media (ie. re-tweets and hashtags). He looks at top websites that offer link shorteners and the ability to track who clicks on and shares your link, such as bit.ly or hootsuite.com. By far, the largest takeaway from this duo of articles, is his Final Thoughts on Metrics of Success, “The metrics discussed here provide a good set of indicators to help you identify the general performance of your social media program. But in and of themselves, they leave out some important performance metrics. For example, you still want to know if you are improving your brand recognition and reputation, are you creating enduring memes and raising public awareness of your issues, and did the policy you pushed for pass or fail as you hoped it would. These remain important metrics, but inevitably are the most difficult to use. They are easy to measure, but attributing causality to your social media program will be as difficult as saying a commercial caused a person to buy a product. You can correlate them to each other, but assigning the causal relationship is tough”.
From these articles, we learn the importance of hashtags, where to find out what they mean, why they’re being used and how you can start trending. We also learn some metrics of measuring engagement and reach and how those figures can help drive traffic to your website. Finally, we’ve learned that the resulting affect of measuring social media performance is that these statistics generated can be used to influence those that allow the social media manager to continue engaging users for an advocacy group or non-profit, which in todays environment may carry the largest benefit due to the earned media, costing little to nothing for these groups that already have little funds to allocate to campaign advertising.
In the article “How Candidates Can Use The Internet To Win In 2010” by Colin Delaney is like a “how to” guide for online campaign developers. He discusses first how the Obama campaign utilized their online presence to reap the rewards of online donations and what worked well for them, outreach. He then goes into tools, the timing of asking for donations and resources one can use, online reach, fundraising/mobilization and concludes by putting all these pieces together. Delaney is clearly an expert on a number of topics related to political campaigns, specifically online. He also wrote an piece, which was the onset of a series of articles, titled, “Learning From Obama: Lessons for Online Communicators in 2009 & Beyond,” which discusses similar points as to how the Obama campaign used the internet and social media to rally voters and obtain donations.
“On MyBarackObama.com, or MyBO, Obama’s own socnet, 2 million profiles were created. In addition, 200,000 offline events were planned, about 400,000 blog posts were written and more than 35,000 volunteer groups were created — at least 1,000 of them on Feb. 10, 2007, the day Obama announced his candidacy. Some 3 million calls were made in the final four days of the campaign using MyBO’s virtual phone-banking platform. On their own MyBO fundraising pages, 70,000 people raised $30 million,” this quote clearly from Delaney Learning From Obama article shows the magnitude of what Obama was able to do online, and he was the first of the presidential candidates to take advantage of this open space to reach voters.
In Lessons From Obama, Delaney points out how we can learn from Obama’s success and touches on a few main points, these points are elaborated also in his article Winning in 2010:
- Start early
- Build to scale
- Innovate where necessary; do everything else incrementally better
- Make it easy to find, forward and act
- Pick where you want to play
- Channel online enthusiasm into specific, targeted activities that further the campaign’s goals
- Integrate online advocacy into every element of the campaign
In the upcoming election year, we will definitely see these social media tips incorporated as well as elements incorporated that may not have been anticipated in 2010, such as the heavy use of smartphones and cellular donations.
One of the key elements discussed in Lessons From Obama, that I personally feel stuck out was Delaney’s view on Constituent Relations Management and the importance of this within the online presence. Too easily, I believe web managers are driven to think of getting the donations and being done with the customer with a simple “thank you, come again”. What worked, as Delaney pointed out, is that with CRM the user is able to break down the list of followers by gender, demographic, location and target specific user. This in turn, makes the user appear as though the candidate knows who they are would reach out to them personally in this targeted outreach. Staying in touch with supporters is also helpful as Delaney states, “Staying in touch with supporters via cell phone text messaging, it’s been the “next big thing” in online politics for several years now – and it still is”.
Recently, I came across an article by Lauren Drell titled, “How Social Media Is Changing Paid, Earned & Owned Media“. The take away from this article is definitely the benefit of each type of media coverage. In the Internet Politics course at Georgetown University, we had a guest speaker, Simon Owens from Jess3 on July 18, 2011. Owens, the Director of Public Relations, discussed how the agency he works at differs in that they operate through earned media for their clients. Drell says that media that is earned is “squarely social”. “A YouTube channel will succeed only if consumers watch and share the videos they see. A brand needs to earn those eyeballs with creative execution of content”.
Drell and Owen discussed earned media in that same context, in order to be successful through earned media, the publisher must produce content that appeals to the widest range of users possible. Not only must this appeal to a wide range of people, they must also want to share it with others, therefor they must also be an influencer or at least have a range of influence where they can reach other influencers. “So, the goal of the modern agency is to connect the dots and integrate all media for maximum results. Of the three buckets, the holy grail is earned media. Earned media can be most easily described as the result of paid and media — you buy a Super Bowl ad (paid) or you run a promotion on your brand’s Facebook Page (owned), and then and then people in the media talk about it (earned) and the Twitterverse erupts into conversation about that topic. You may shell out big bucks to flash an ad before a consumer, but you can’t force them to buy anything or tweet about it — you have to earn that consumer’s dollars and tweets, you have to engage and empower him to become your evangelist, says Sean Corcoran, an analyst at Forrester“.
Also within this article, Drell discusses paid and owned media. Owned being media that which is published by and on a company’s website. Paid being media that which is purchased (usually at a much higher price than the other two) and presented on the purchased space. The article goes further to discuss the value of using each type of media and how they work together to promote the overall package, if applied concurrently. “As more consumers get on board with social media, generating earned media through social shares will become an even higher priority. And that means paid and owned media — and the teams that manage each — will need to work together even more seamlessly. The barriers of the silos are broken, and they’re only going to crumble more”.
In a series of articles published by PoliticsMagazine.com and written by Professor Alan Rosenblatt Ph.D., the main focus is on The Dimensions of a Digitally Networked Campaign, followed by three supporting articles in which one dimensional, two dimensional and three dimensional digital networks can be utilized within a campaign and must be integrate together for that campaign to potentially be successful. The ability of individuals receiving and collecting messages from the campaign and how they internalize those messages is related to how they are broadcasted, transacted and discussed (or networked). Within the first dimension there is a focus on information and a campaign disseminating relevant facts and statements in a one-way communication. For campaigns, this would be the obvious first step, telling people what you’re all about or what you stand for without expecting a verbal response. In a two dimensional strategy the individual, or “voter”, as Rosenblatt references them, is given the opportunity to transact or engage in an action that would preferably benefit the campaign or cause. Finally, in the three dimensional strategy, the voters are able to discuss the cause or issue without interference or interaction of the campaign. they are interacting “off the grid”, in these cases you would hope that your initial message you disseminated in one-way communication would have a root meaning, allowing voters to spread the “gist” of your argument.
Rosenblatt’s Campaign Dimensions article series provides a framework by which a political campaign can be designed within. A campaign would realistically start with communication, rallying people to join you for a cause you can effectively articulate. In Online Politics 101, by Colin Delaney, we are introduced to a comprehensive online guide to social media and social networking, web design/layout, strategy, influence, optimization and rules for online politics. This guide is humorous and witty, allowing the reader the opportunity to image how they might utilize these suggestions without overshadowing jargon. Delaney shows how through social media tools, or online political tools, you can effectively communicate one dimensionally through your website or “hub”. In a transactional sense, he provides insight on what and what not to do in an email marketing campaign and how to manage your email list, as well as pointing out some issues to look out for or what to expect. The community aspect of Rosenblatt’s articles can be demonstrated in Online Politics 101 from a bloggers point of view or through social networking. The culmination of a informative, transactional and community oriented dimensions and spread throughout your overall strategy, which Delaney broke down for each element, within the online campaign.
In conclusion, Rosenblatt’s series on campaign dimensions set a framework for how to gain useful tactics from Online Politics 101. Looking at the tools in Delaney’s text from a dimensional angle, you see a clear path of how to logically construct a political or advocacy campaign.