A case study of the power of we
This post is published in support of Blog Action Day 2012.
This year’s theme for Blog Action Day is the power of we. It might sound like a strange kind of theme to have but when you think about the power of the internet for progressive social, political and environmental change is about the power of we. Never before has a mass communication tool enabled and empowered millions of people to publish, share and re-tell their stories and stories of those they find interesting.
The power of we is truly alive and well and for my contribution to Blog Action Day 2012 I will highlight a case study about how the internet and social media contributed to a socially and environmentally responsible outcome.
The case study I’m speaking about is the Say Yes Australia campaign.
I was involved with developing the online campaign components and strategy for the Say Yes Australia campaign, which helped counter the overwhelmingly negative campaign against the introduction of a price on carbon pollution (a carbon price). In the face of misinformation and some pretty negative over-the-top polemic, various environment groups, civil society groups and the union movement joined forces to counter such negative polemic and misinformation.
The power of we was instilled through the development of online and on-the-ground strategies that were able to reach out to different people at different points in their understanding of climate change and its possible impacts if left to continue as business as usual. There was the ability for people to use their own personal networks (online and in real life) to spread the message about the positive outcomes of a price on carbon pollution. Tools were provided to assist people to not only help spread the message online but to take the message into their local communities with leaflets to letterbox and posters for community halls and workplaces.
Quickly the Say Yes Australia campaign was able to create a significant buzz online through the combination of active and regular
participation on Facebook and through Twitter; with an interactive website. There were digital organising tools developed to make sure that people were informed of how the campaign was progressing and how they could help the campaign. A digital campaign kit was created and refined to help empower people to write their own blog posts or status updates about their reasons for saying yes to a carbon price.
Supporters were actively canvassed to support events and activities; they were actively encouraged to share each others’ content and the official content created through the Say Yes Australia campaign. Pictures, videos, status updates, blog posts, virtual postcards and more were created by thousands of people across Australia. People were encouraged to organise their own events and to promote them online, supported through the Say Yes Australia campaign.
But just as importantly people that were contributing their own content to the campaign had that content shared and acknowledged. Linking people that supported the introduction of price on carbon pollution was a massive part of the Say Yes Australia campaign, and one of its biggest achievements.
Through the power of we, massive rallies were held across the country in June 2011, with nearly a hundred thousand Australians saying yes to a price on carbon pollution. Thousands of people held events across the country and thousands of people put leaflets in their neighbourhood’s letterboxes. The power of we was able to send a powerful message to the opponents of the carbon price that Australia said yes to putting a price on carbon pollution.
I hope this quick case study provided a little taste of how the power of we is alive and well.
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Alex Schlotzer by Alex Schlotzer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License.
Based on a work at alexschlotzer.wordpress.com.