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Political Advocacy and the Internet

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campaigned utilized the that's what constant uh back at us it's movie by the on on Venus started as a flying keynote effects of goods of any new shall find the thanks Figure speaker I would welcome the been Scott but he says it is in production that the Internet revolution is fundamentally change how politics work too but yet few public interest and yields have mastered how to leverage online tools to amplify the effectiveness of their work and that has to change suspense Scott and please work on stage and
the good afternoon it's an awesome to see so many people are out at Republicans and I hope I can live up to the introduction and give you both an interesting and entertaining presentation this morning and then and then will it will have a discussion out my basic purpose here is to share some ideas on 1 question and that question is How are smart nonprofit organizations using the internet to influence politics and policy-making in new and effective ways the simple idea big topic um Ahmad take about 25 minutes to talk about it in in the Morgan have a discussion that I have started out with that with this image
on the on on the board you can probably see it if Europe right but if you can't see it what you're looking at is a real time uh integration of tweets being sent around the world and everywhere you see a light is a concentration of thousands of tweets if you leave this in the background running on your computer you will quickly get a picture of how amends the use of social media networks are today and the kind of reach scale that these networks have but so check that out so when you get
time the yes the the on then the and now done another technical difficulties
on the Internet presentation just looking for the full screen diarrhea have your full screen
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OK this that over whole numbers to move it over no so the the the the the the the the the the the I OK so here's user we begin uh all start by just telling you a little bit about myself and and maybe establish
some reason why I have something interesting to say on this topic a know a little bit about cell building organizations building online organizing because I did it for 6 years as a group called Free Press free press uh was founded in around 2003 and the idea was the is very similar to what you have seen me here with Republica with that's politics with sticky Telekurs is a shaft the idea was how can we form a group of citizens who can use the internet to talk about Internet policy and to organize citizens in large numbers to engage with government to make good Internet policies to make good media policies I we ran a campaign called say the Internet . com which was uh for 4 years the face of the net neutrality campaign in United States was a lot of fun but most importantly we built a movement with basically no
money in just a handful of people working in an organization spread around the country we built a movement of 500 thousand people which is still going strong there are now I would say the what when I started wearing a free press in 2004 there were 3 organizations in Washington that were civil-society groups with policy advocacy capability in Internet and technology there were maybe 10 of us total today there are more than a dozen organizations there are at least 100 people working in the space full time on for nonprofit organizations working just on technology policy and that movement that expansion
was built largely through Internet organizing the they're going to governments I worked for this lady and she was brilliant and then uh 1 I think 1 of the secretaries day we ever had and what the she did was to think about how we're going to change diplomacy in the Internet age and I had the good fortune to work on Internet organizing from from the other side of the table from a government position and what I found was the work that I did for 6 years of free press really informed the work that I did at the State Department and there were a huge number of overlaps turns out the logic of Internet organizing logic of online education and activation is similar no
matter what kind of organization you're sitting and that's why it makes sense to talk about a small NGO in the US State Department and the Obama campaign of 2008 all in the same breath because the basic logic of how you do online organizing is the same the Internet doesn't care what you were for what you're against the is simply empowers you to do what you were going to do anyway just on a network and we all
seen lots of great organizations emerged many of them virtual some of them merging online and offline work some of them will Hugin well resourced some of them small and and and scrappy we have seen some with nuanced and sophisticated policy in political tactics and some uh with the blue political message an aggressive strategy and then we saw in 2008
it you just seen in the last presentation if you're here we saw what online organizing can do with huge resources lots of money lots of people lots of intelligence lots of passion for the 2008 presidential campaign a Barack Obama was said was a demonstration of what's possible with online organizing that's how I think really set the bar there were lots of online organizing efforts going on before that the what happened in 2008 was
a qualitative increase in scale and what the Obama team recognize in 2008 is that power dynamics are changing because of the internet it is now possible to do things with online organizing with online education with online activation there were simply impossible before and you can do them with less money then you could if you're running a door-to-door traditional organizing campaign and you can do them was less people we saw the same logic at
play during the Arab Spring let's call this the network as catalyst theory of online organizing and social change small numbers of people well organized you use the Internet to reach a broader audience get a viral capability expand their reach organize more people engage a larger community and suddenly play a major role on the political stage is better shaping global politics the Internet doesn't start revolutions but it sure does help them along the just like the Internet doesn't start you wanting to make change on the cause that motivates you but it helps your organization helps you make your case stronger and make your change faster not always work in a positive direction some of you may be familiar with this still images is the 1st shot of a movie that was uploaded to YouTube in July of 2012 called the innocence of Muslims a movie made by the 55 year-old ex-con in the suburban Los Angeles designs to insult Islam the sat on you tube for 2 and half months until it was distributed by Facebook and got by role and reached a global audience triggered mass protests in 20 cities 30 dead 200 injured 1 guy I decided to make a youtube video it's tragedy by any measure but also shows you the power of the network the power of a small group of people well organized using network tools to reach a large audience and they change unless dies become the to glorifying of the Obama campaign of 2008 I think the most successful online organizing effort in modern memory is the tea party on the right wing of American politics these are organizations that you may have heard of and you may not have heard of they are extraordinarily effective online organizers the party has built a following of tens of millions they've hijacked American politics they transform the Republican Party they remove the entire debate in Washington to the right and they began with a small group of people well organized using the internet to make change network
as catalyst you're paying attention to
Italian politics you will know that that they grill comedian some notes organized a movement of protest against politics as usual and it's in
Italy he rejected all television interviews refused to uh be on the mainstream media use the internet as an organizing tool developed more than a million followers on Twitter 20 per cent of the vote the last elections changing power dynamics what each of these examples show are people learning
the same lesson that what was impossible 10 years ago is now not only possible now but it's happening
all the time it's happening in small groups and large groups it's happening in national politics and international politics and what it reflects is a shift in power from centralized institutions governments large companies that own media outlets transnational corporations a shift in power from centralized authority to decentralized authority small institutions and NGOs like some many of you may represent networks of individuals individuals themselves are now able to play a role on the global stage on the national stage of politics that was previously impossible we have gone
from a model of power that looks like this to 1 that looks like this now I'm not saying that we're gone from year to year overnight for that it's happened in the same way everywhere or that it's a 100 % shifts I'm just
saying there's a shift taking place the the and if you look you can see it nearly every day in the newspaper the shift from power centralized in traditional institutions to power being operated by people at the margins happens every day the question is how can we harness
that power to say to to further the goals of our organizations the let me give you an example about how to think about this this example comes from a friend of mine is professor in your code Clay Shirky some of you may know
clay our readers books he writes about this in his his book cognitive surplus which I recommend to you and he says you know if you want understand how the world has changed think about this think about it's 1985 In 1985 if there is a world historical events and event like the bombing at the Boston Marathon and event the changes politics and event it captures the world attention what are the odds that someone standing nearby has a camera like this around their neck at the exact right moment things to take that camera and take a picture gets that camera film takes so the camera develops a film takes that picture to in the media outlet as a global institution and within 24 hours has global distribution of that image what is the probability that that could happen In 1985 almost 0 almost
0 now 2013 what is the probability that someone is standing next
to a world historical events with a camera can take a picture or video and get that video distributed to a global audience was in 24 hours 100 per cent unless you're in northern Mali and you're standing next to an important event someone has a camera someone has a social network on the same phone where they took the picture with the camera and using Twitter or Facebook in in seconds that's distributed around the world a key point this is
not about technology anymore it's about social
change every institution I ever worked for from small organizations to big government always started thinking about technology is something over there it was
something that some young person did who we just hired you understood that Internet thing it was never never considered as poor to the work today that has to change it to think about technology as a part of the work we do because it it is a driver of social change so when you're thinking about this inside of your organization's think about the big networks thinking about uh social activism Sure Start with Twitter and Facebook
why not Twitter and Facebook have a billion and a half people on the networks globally that's a big number of that makes them the largest media outlets in history the world distributed
decentralized huge 25 million Facebook users in Germany alone I'm off until a been in germany 9 months and I talk about social media from time to time the people as social media is not that big of a deal Germany it's developed market in social media turns out that is not true Germany is 1 of the top 10 social media using countries in the world we have to think about social media much
more broadly you gotta think about social media as an ecosystem the other thing about Facebook and Twitter as big players will you gotta think about a lot of different other potential outlets through the communications director at an NGO you gotta understand who's using social media why are they using it and what are they using it for and has that overlap with your communications Goals and your mission when you begin the map your information environment you may decide that your strategy is not a Facebook strategy to Twitter strategy you may decide the youtube is your go to you may think flicker maybe a better option for you but you won't know until you do your homework a y
you'll find my guess is that your number 1 most important strategic the concept is how you use social media and its interactions with traditional media so how many of a word
like me watching the arab spring in particular the revolution in Egypt happen alive on television but on television do you remember these guys off almost always young guy standing in the middle of terror square big posters above their heads where they had written the name of the Twitter handles and a Facebook Urals on in Arabic and English these guys standing this huge sea of people have this big poster above their head they're showing it to the camera on the
building across the street and so what you have is all the reporter next to the guy with a camera and everybody who's watching that goes to the Twitter account to the person standing in the middle of the crowd because that's obviously a witness to
1 the most important events in modern history and so it happens that the 19 year-old with a hundred Twitter followers in Egypt has his story broadcast to 100 million Arab television households by Al Jazeera network as catalysts the thing about in the context here in Germany and becomes potentially even more interesting because the German media marketplace still it is is distinct in certain ways it has has very strong traditional media players huge audiences still pick up paper newspapers and paper magazines every day public television on abjectly on the news program still has huge market share the fragmentation has begun to uh cause ripples in media and communications politics in Berlin is is not quite as far along as we have seen in other markets to your thinking about social media must really be driven about but by by an understanding of recombinatorial affects the interaction between social media and traditional
media because really what we're describing is a new logic of information flows
I the production of information has changed the distribution of information has changed to consumption of information has changed the way we get news the way we share that news with our friends and our colleagues in the way we create our own additive content often happens on the same screen or the phone there it is a qualitative change in what
people are expecting there is now a greater tolerance for lower production values people will take a grainy YouTube video
shot on iPhone they don't need HD-quality cameras sitting on top of every building there is a higher premium put on interactivity you heard in the earlier presentation how important engagement was to the Obama campaign in 2008 people wanna talk back you wanna be hurt it when it interacts and there there is a
super speed of the internet that that everything is happening in real time often in a syntax in a language that is unusual and on on on known in traditional media forms so we have to wait to think about these things in this
combinations of of new media and old media as we plan our communication strategies so he here I wanna talk a little bit about strategy a little bit more about strategy and talk about the mistakes that we made a free press the mistakes that we made at the State Department and the lessons learned from those mistakes the biggest mistake that institutions make when they're taking on new media thinking about the internet as a tool organizing and activism in communication is they think 1st about speaking How can I take my press release and chop it up into 140 characters that is a bad strategy thinking about social media exclusively as a one-way communications medium as a way to reach new audiences as a broadcast mechanism ignores the fact that it's in their work speaking should be a 3rd priority when you're thinking about new media and should listen to use out there and what they're
saying find out who they are How much communication strategy is spent speculating on who might be out there to reach and what they think and how to tailor your messages to better resonate with where they are 1 it the old media world you had to guess today you don't spend an afternoon on Twitter and read other people's speech and you can find out pretty quickly what people are thinking about and then you can before you say hey OK now I know a thing about let me tell you what I think
you can ask some questions you can engage you can create a community in social media that allows for trust to build then when you go back to the start thinking about OK what am I gonna say what's my speaking strategy so what more likely to be
effective so if you if you think about sign done worker Change . org or other uh organizations that allow for citizen-driven petitions think about where they came
from sign on . org is a project of move on dot org and when I was in the early days of free press I knew all the people and move on they were also in the early days move on with the largest and most effective online organizing force in American politics for years in the early part of the last decade move on thought about the internet as a tool of communications 10 years later they're thinking about it as an empowering tool not how can I tell my members what I think is important as the leader of my organization but water my members think is important and how can I give them the tools to do for themselves the shift from move on to sign on is a great symbol of this move from speak to listen to engage it you
can also think about it from a different perspective from the from the funding perspective the 2nd most important thing for any NGO be besides what's my mission in my message is how my going to get money to support my costs among a pay my
that how my going to expand to grow in scale to buy a website to get access to the decision makers who can help me achieve my goal well fund-raising environment is began to change we can now think about innovative new platforms for raising money we we can see different foundations experimenting with Challenge Grants crowdsourcing new ideas we've got some great and years out there who have have have have experimented with with micro funding Kickstarter TechSoup take a look at these there really are I think beginning to move in the direction of where the network speaks for an of itself in order to bring resources to the field 2nd area of lessons learned the 1st thing we think about as a
policy organization is how we advocate how do we make change right now something bad is happening I wanna stop it some great opportunities out there I wanna sees it I need advocate any to get in front of decision makers only to make change right away that reverses the logic of advocacy the 1st thing you have to do is you have to educate people people can advocate what they don't know about and they're not likely to get organize until they're aware of the problem and I can advocate until the organized you get a flip the logic and the network is a great way to do that no so
when you're building your next e-mail our region you stimulus think about how what not how I get people the act to be active but how educate them so is there an info graphic that some friends of mine at a group called United Republic sent United Republic is all about how do we get money out of politics and keep the companies from controlling the legislative process and they said this infographic infographic out this is about the Keystone pipeline and on the left you see the amount of money that's being spent by the oil and gas industry to get the pipeline built and on the right you see the amount of money spent by those who opposed the pipeline and how to
put it into 2 slides because of the disparity but what this did for them as it was was given educational
tool an activist twist
so you see this in you learn what's going on and it may motivate you to get organized and get active networked advocacy has begun uh been happening for a long time but we see that a lot of different context you can think about it as organizations joining coalitions you can think about it the perspective of conveners but the basic idea is none of us as individuals organizations have the
power to change powerful institutions by ourselves we have to figure out a way to work together to that we're stronger than the sum of our parts we do that by coming together at events like and building connections and networks those connections are built on people and the people who trust each other are the ones who work together because they have a common understanding of what they want they become the nucleus of those small groups of people who use network communications to make change networks as catalysts were
adapting to disruptive change here we're building organizations that can move quickly were not trying to predict the future were trying to
reduce the time it takes for us to move our organization in a new direction the measure of our success is how quickly we can adapt to change this is a great example uh some of you may be aware of the campaign that was fought against an Internet a bill called so far so but long story short would've allowed network operators to change the way the Internet works in order to protect uh copyright uh what 1 organization which was less than a year old called fight for the future crowdfunded enough money to put up this billboard in the middle of the District of the chairman of the committee in the house that was controlling the future of the bill the clever and effective both so by and paper its Senate counterpart were defeated in large measure by a huge grassroots effort that brought
together I think the best example of networked advocacy I've ever seen of organizations from activists organizations to policy organizations to come big companies all joined together to black out their websites for an entire day to draw attention to legislation that was moving In Washington and they kill the bills that they defeated very very powerful lobbies and and and change the debate about what in a policy it's the now some of you may have seen some this happened here too the momentum and the
spirit of so but came into play here in Europe with the with the trade agreement called actor so a close with this which is essentially these
a a message of of hope and an opportunity now this when I was a grad student I read this book Walter Lippmann uh road 1922 and basically it is the most devastating critique of democracy the red the by a guy who loves democracy but could not understand how it would work in a complex society what he said essentially is modern societies are too complicated for us to expect that any citizen can learn all that she needs to know to self-governed to make good decisions on every issue and as a result companies and powerful organizations in centralized authority will control the government because the vast majority of citizens will simply be ignorant of it was a very
depressing and an unrelenting vision of what the future of democracy would look like and you can see in a lot of ways Littman was right but what Lipman never
anticipated was this Lipman
never anticipated the that we might be able to use networks small groups of people organizing together to represent 1 another as NGO what we do is we help
people understand the connection between their lived experiences the problems and the opportunities in their hopes and fears that they have in their lived experiences we have had help we help to connect that to the policy process and give people an opportunity to make change that then comes back in affects their lived experiences again political sciences call that monitoring costs not everyone can pay attention to all these complex issues and learn all of the ins and outs and be present in front of government at every committee hearing in every boat we do that as India this is public service organizations we pay the monitoring costs and by working together in a network it small groups of organizations can adopt the same logic of network as catalyst and we can build movements which actually revitalized self-government by spreading information education by organizing people on issues they never thought themselves to be a part of and engaging them in advocacy to make change
that I think is the business of politics and engineers in the Internet age thank you very much it take abandon uh and we take questions do you have questions handle 1 2 should not human the hands of at the so much about networks Interaction OK wonderful I am many scene and I wanted to so this is what's going on right now what do you think will be the next thing that the next step how will it evolve all hard you know what kind of tendencies to see you in any which direction going well it's always dangerous
to predict the future uh so I'll make a few simple comments 1 is more people are going to get connected over the coming years we now have 2 billion in at users globally that number is likely to double in the next 3 or 4 years and most of the Internet users will no longer be in developed countries so if you're working on a global policy issue that is this should open your eyes about what might happen in the future 2nd thing that's going to happen is the cost of the smart phones which probably 95 per cent of you have in your jackets is going to drop by 50 per cent and so more people are going to have powerful computers with them at all times that's going to change network effects 3rd thing I would say it is while Facebook and Twitter may fade away and be replaced by other social media networks the desire of people to chat with 1 another we is universal and will continue and so I can I think that the logic of information flows enabled by networks will continue and so as a planner in an NGO my counsel to you would be think think about the effect of networks on your organization issue today and I expect that that growth will be at least linear and potentially exponential over the coming years thank you very
much very interesting talk about quite amazing and we talked about and this situation how networks become acidity help us distributed power distribute the power dynamics from so essential structure into a multi node structure and show you quite similar situation you on on that bulletin in and then they're out of honor and know your opinion on the case then the net force essentially put pushed out side of the equation so there is no net with the possibility of having a network is being not there thank you that's a great
question so head it's interesting to note 30 years ago he wanted to have a political revolution right you you took over the broadcast stations and if you wanna stop a political revolution you put guys with guns around the broadcast stations today if you want to start a political revolution you go online and if you wanna stop a political revolution you control the network and you turn it into a police state and the surveillance system and you eliminate all the most powerful nodes in the network that can become a catalyst and that's essentially what's happening here on your meaning you can do in that context is go back off line into traditional organizing methods or you can build your own network and so the most interesting things that are happening in Internet freedom space in my opinion are efforts to build communication systems that do not depend upon traditional infrastructure telephone networks cable networks mobile phone systems so that people can communicate with 1 another and benefit from the logic of the network as catalysts without endangering themselves I think we're a couple of years away from ad hoc uh mesh networking technologies that will allow all of our mobile phones to communicate peer-to-peer will allow you essentially in a room like this to create a network that is completely independent from any commercial service right here and the governments in that surveillance uh but I think that is the natural to place that this is going to go over this communications technologies and network communications the logic is sort of like a balloon if you if you push on the balloon over here somewhere over here it goes out and so I think that's what's happening now is it uh governments are trying over and over 2 to close off all the opportunities for networks to empower political and social movements and people are figuring out new and better ways to get around those problems but it takes time and it's dangerous in places like it in
the the the the this no high and I was learning you mentioned the importance of the interactions with traditional media and for impact ethnicity and I was wondering do you think we not only need these impact of the city but also for framing and interpreting what we hear and what you get from all over the place very different in the long run this middle managers of healthcare eliminated
0 well I think the it it is it's less about PR than it is about framing and interpretation journalists of people in people with limited time and overwhelming and scope of responsibilities in in in in in newsrooms with with budget pressure and they're looking to figure out how to write about a story on an issue that there probably not an expert on now this this gets to a whole set of of ideas in social communications theory uh which all categorizes mean formation you've probably heard this term if you're not an expert on it mean formation essentially is is exactly that can I create through the network in a way to interpret this events which becomes normative that is the gold standard for any communications operation using social networks to do not public relations here's my message please reprinted but to framing and interpretation here's my understanding please internalize it and that is a big move but if you can successfully put off it's very powerful
appear in time for 1 more question and the any of the body you want to what we from you you you sounded overly optimistic um at a how or why should we be uh you know a positive about the future of networking on the Internet as a catalyst force as you put it when you see this rise in mass surveillance messages in the interception technology and government of corporations basically get into the market uh do you see 1984 like future or do you think that people can still master and circumvent surveillance said a
very important question so here's my basic thought on this 1 is there is a set of countries who will do everything in their power to stop this from happening they will turn in networks into a police state ends but that but most countries won't do that and in most countries actually even if they wanted to do that we don't have the resources to dedicate to tracking down every single ingle individual who does anything that the government may not like so that's point number 1 and and and there's a set of tactics to go with both categories of countries that 1 we discussed in in the question about Ron is going to be much more difficult it's going to be much more dangerous and it's going to take a lot more time but I think ultimately the logic of networks and the desire of people are still there to try to build those solutions and but in the in the vast majority of places the vast majority of the time I think there is lots of room for optimism in part because you know we we get captured by images of of the arab spring we get captured by images of of the big events in in global politics where the Internet played a role and I'm guilty of that too use them as examples of my presentation but of course the vast majority of users of the Internet are not revolutions they are not giant political campaigns they are everyday social and political interactions their communications among small groups of people but it is that kind of communications that gradually changes society over time access to information in large numbers the ability to communicate with people of like minded but of unknown identity changes the way you think about your society hand
that's what gives me optimism even though you know I have seen what some of the worst of what of what of what the Internet can bring in terms of surveillance and repression and and it's
awful and it's scary but people are going to communicate no matter what that's the lesson I learned at the State Department people would say you know you gotta stop encouraging people to use the internet because it's too dangerous and mn wheezes thought long and hard about that essentially came up with the conclusion that look people are going to use the internet that is our operating assumptions and from there are choices OK what are we gonna do about it now we don't have control over the information system anymore we don't have control over people's behaviors all we can do is decide how to engage engage with them once the online and building their social and political movements on their own and so it's a brave new world for governments to admit that there is no control over the information system anymore but it is a huge opportunity for for small organizations networks of individuals to think about the network as a catalyst for political and social change quotes began to yesterday to knocketh
sits in sublime from part and that sounds like a biased mind many many things to Ben
Scott thanks here
by the way if
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Formale Metadaten

Titel Political Advocacy and the Internet
Serientitel re:publica 2013
Anzahl der Teile 132
Autor Scott, Ben
Lizenz CC-Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Deutschland:
Sie dürfen das Werk bzw. den Inhalt zu jedem legalen Zweck nutzen, verändern und in unveränderter oder veränderter Form vervielfältigen, verbreiten und öffentlich zugänglich machen, sofern Sie den Namen des Autors/Rechteinhabers in der von ihm festgelegten Weise nennen und das Werk bzw. diesen Inhalt auch in veränderter Form nur unter den Bedingungen dieser Lizenz weitergeben.
DOI 10.5446/33467
Herausgeber re:publica
Erscheinungsjahr 2013
Sprache Englisch

Inhaltliche Metadaten

Fachgebiet Informatik
Abstract Pick up any contemporary analysis of political campaigns, and it is conventional wisdom that the "Internet revolution" has fundamentally changed how politics works. Political media outlets are fragmented. Politicians and ministries are on Facebook. And the marketplace of ideas operates according to a new logic of networked information flows. Yet few public interest NGOs have mastered how to be advocates, much less how to leverage online tools to amplify the effectiveness of their work. That has to change if we are going to use the Internet to create a more open, participatory and responsive government.

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