You’ve got witty, interesting people with passion, expertise, and the ability to talk the bark off a tree. You wouldn’t expect it to be hard to get EVERYONE in your organisation using Social Media, right? Except sometimes it is.
It’s so hard, in fact, that several dozen Social Media Managers turned up to a workshop at SXSW to discuss nothing but.
Panel organiser Beth Kanter, author of The Networked Non-Profit, makes a compelling case that the most effective non-profits are those in which EVERYBODY in the organisation does social media promotion of the cause, from the Executive Director all the way up to the receptionist.
My Storified curation of a panel on musicians and activism, With Karen Scott of FitzGibbon Media, Mike Mills of R.E.M. Hillary Zuckerberg of Why Hunger, Mikel Jollet of Airborne Toxic Event and Brandon Deroche of Urgency Network. Continue reading →
Prototype device with unclear purpose other than tripping you up while walking.
The Curmudgeonly Keynote which Bruce Sterling delivers every year at tech conference SXSW riffed heavily this year on the ancient past: the lost desert people of Walnut Canyon, Arizona, who, like the flannel hipsters in the audience surrounding me, were once the greatest innovators of their day. As their climate changed, they created adaptive technologies: they learned to carve into the cliff faces, to harvest condensation, to build clay pots to catch and channel snow and rain. They became “the Stanford of desert survival techniques, the MIT of clay pottery.” But they passed. The cold wind blows through empty stone rooms. Their civilisation burned.
For Sterling, there’s a parable here about technological advance. He had predicted a few years back that the blog would be dead by 2017. Four years early, he asked with some smugness, “where at this SXSW were the keynote panels featuring rockstar bloggers? What startups or rollouts for blogging software were buzzing at SXSW? Did any panel even mention a PC?” His point: you live by disruption, you die by disruption. And when you invent the future, you consume the past. So lets leave the shards of RocketBoom and LonelyGirl15 and the latest Dell Laptop on the floor of that adobe cliff home, and consider what was roasting and eating the past with a side of Nokia this year, and picking its teeth with Blackberry bones.
Timothy Jordan of Google preparing his demo at SXSW
This was the year of the Wearables and the Printables. Tim Jordan demonstrated Google Glass. He talked commands to it and Siri-like, it took his dictation and acted on it. He tapped through email messages on his earpiece and sent images of the audience to Facebook. He looked up a word. He gave the salivating coders in the Audience tips on how to write a “Hello World” app and four principles for designing for Google Glass. There was a super cool video showing Pepsi-generation kids promising our eyeware will make roller coasters more fun. Continue reading →
It truly is the place where the future gets marketed to death before it’s invented. Midpoint mini-take-aways: wearable devices WAY beyond google glass are coming soon and present a huge and exciting user interface design challenge: and a social integration challenge. I love BUMP’s new ability to bump a photo or video to your Mac by tapping the spacebar with your cell phone. Grumpy Cat rules. And I’ve learned tons about African mobile devices, Digifrenia and Present shock, tips and tricks for hacking internal non-profit culture to create a more social-media friendly ecosystem, Trigger-ties as a viral engineering principle, and stuff in the Shuttle busses, lunch tables, and coffee breaks about UFO& conspiracy theory, Wal-Mart’s social media strategy, NASA’s space camp, how to build a Lego Tardis, the history of Wired’s internal split over blind optimism and “The Long Boom,” how Sierra Club is structured, the art of making a smokey martini, and a Texas tradition called “Chicken Shit Bingo.” Who knew?
This is a storified curation of most of the panels I saw at SXSW 2013, in reverse chronological order. Next time, I’m going to break these up into individual panels, and hang those on a master file of linked storified stories. It’s difficult to navigate a long piece like this by paging through until you get back to the panel you wanted. These served as notes for my wrap-up blog, Clay pots and shards of Google Glass. Continue reading →
I’m flying from Amsterdam today to SXSW in Austin in one of your spankin’ new 777s, and just want to say THANKYOU for the wifi over the Atlantic, and for the promotional price of… FREE. You should keep it that way! Any marginal income you might get from a $19 pass would be peanuts compared to the goodwill and preference you’d get from people like me who live online. I’m plugged into a 220v socket so my MacBook’s battery isn’t racing the clock. I’m tweeting from 30000 feet about what a great experience this is. Please, please, keep it that way!
I can’t remember the last time I was seriously excited about an airplane. OK, the Wifi was slow of course, and cut out over the Arctic Circle, and the promise of iPod recognition and USB thumb drive media access on the USB didn’t work. The airport maps are unreadably detailed with no zoom function. The Stewardess told me there’s a system for seat to seat SMS-like communication that’s not implemented yet. And among the bugs yet to be worked out in the plane itself, seat 33C sticks out into the aisle as part of a 3 seat row behind a two seat row, making for tricky meal cart navigation. Ow. OW. Ow.
But the moment when I really felt like I was in the Matrix was on exiting the plane. You look out on a sea of seat-back screens and realise that every one is displaying a different steward or stewardess. Nice touch.
Today’s best ever workshop at the Digital Mobilisation Skillshare was the session on Social Media Monitoring with @Rachelannyes (Rachel Weidinger) of Upwell.
Upwell has the great tagline “The ocean is our client” and is funded to drive an increase in all kinds of action-oriented conversations about the ocean.
Health warning: What follows are rough notes. There are gaps. There will typos.
Rachel begins with, appropriately, an ocean metaphor: “We navigate the waves of a miasma of swirling internetedness in our small boats. But we don’t have a good way to understand the currents, the winds, or the weather. If we could have a meteorology of online communications we could make better decisions. Continue reading →
They’re known as the Mob Squad: digital activists, fundraisers, face to face recruiters, direct dialoguers, volunteer and action coördinators — Greenpeace staff, volunteers, and fellow travellers from other groups whose job it is to rouse rabbles, to people power campaigns for the planet, to take issue and create movement(s).
Don’t bother reading this blog. Just watch this video. Share it. Send it. Like it. Comment on it. Get it on as many screens as possible.
And now that you’ve done that:
Back in the 70s and 80s, Greenpeace ran campaigns to drive toxic production out of Europe and North America. In those days, we pushed for government legislation and intra-governmental agreements to stop things like the dumping of titanium dioxide in the North Sea, factories that turned rivers red or blue depending on what dye process was running, and pipes that simply ran wastewater into whatever waterway was handy, contents often unknown and unmonitored by any government agency.
This was a nasty piece of work. Allied Chemical in New Jersey had found a loophole and was dispersing waste through a freaking SPRINKLERSYSTEM to avoid prohibitions on land burial and river disposal. Their solution effectively did both, but was entirely legal. Under arrest from left to right: Lisa Bunin, JR Yeager, Marc Gottschalk, Brian Fitzgerald, Kelly Rigg
Thing was, while we succeeded in clearing up rivers across our homelands, we drove an awful lot of those processes and factories to China, India, and Mexico. Unfinished business! Team #Detox at Greenpeace have picked up the job, however, but with a #PeoplePower twist that illustrates a pretty big shift in Greenpeace strategy and the battlefield on which we engage across the last 30 years. Continue reading →
Terrorists have attacked the US in New Orleans and New York. They sent thugs named Katrina and Sandy who destroyed millions of homes and businesses, took prisoners, took lives. In between, they set fire to much of the midwest and scorched the land causing major crop failures and billions in economic loss.
And what’s America doing to hunt down these terrorists and make them pay for the mess they’ve caused?
It’s pushing for more oil exploration, exporting record amounts of coal, building pipelines to the Tar Sands and fracking for gas. That’s like sending charitable donations and willing recruits to the Taliban post-9/11 and calling it retribution. Continue reading →
The US is under attack. Climate change has gone practically unmentioned this election season, despite growing alarm among scientists, the Pentagon’s classification of it as a threat to national security, and record-breaking droughts and Arctic ice melt. So Mother Nature has cleared her throat, and decided to raise the issue herself.
This is the horror film the world has begun to look like — one in which fake photos FROM horror films are indistinguishable from the real thing. One that many in developing countries have already been experiencing for years. One which we will all face more frequently in future. New York City has been overpowered, the Statue of Liberty brought to her knees. Winds that rip cranes from skyscrapers and record-breaking waves that surge over every defense and flood the subways, close the bridges and tunnels, imprison families in their own homes. Shelves picked clean in hardware stores and supermarkets. Uncertainty and fear.
We have someone to thank for this: the fossil fuel industry. The politicians who have ignored their responsibilities as leaders to respond to a threat to the entire planet in favor of pandering to short term interests and lining election coffers with oil money.
My favourite ad of all time is Apple’s “Here’s to the crazy ones…”
As someone who has personally worked with crazy, been accused of crazy, and sees the organisation he’s volunteered for and worked for regularly described as crazy, the only sane reaction is to not think of it as a pejorative.
Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to hang out with a fine bunch of rabblerousers. We talked about movement building, and the kinds of things that make some campaigns successful in attracting big, unruly crowds, and the kinds of things that turn t...
Here’s a little something I whipped up for my email signature a couple weeks ago:
Recipe for saving a small planet
Preserve 2 pristine polar seas
Add equatorial rainforests (intact)
Set aside 4/10ths of the world’s oceans
Yesterday we had an argument. The crux of our argument is this: You believe real actions to save the planet are taken by trained, specialist activists. Online actions, such as emails from a supporter don’t count. You called them “...
Chalk one up for Social Media, the megaphone of the world’s second superpower, Public Opinion. Over the weekend, Nestle conceded to worldwide demand that they stop using palm oil from rainforest destruction in their products.
Our flagship tactic in t...
I’ve just uploaded the presentations I made at the E-campaigning forum. One, Who’s Driving Who, is from the public event and charts a short history of Greenpeace online participatory campaigns, including Green my Apple. It’s intend...
I used a couple-three internal buzz words the other day in an email exchange, and was asked to define a “Pre-order Petition,” a “Buzz Visualizer” and “Brand Judo.” These are examples of a few tools that Greenpeace ...
Twenty Five years ago today, I stuck my foot in a door.
It was a trick that Cathy Dees, my field manager and trainer, taught me, for ensuring that no suburban housewife in any devo turf was going to terminate my rap before I’d got to the bit a...
I was reminded by a friend of this email, written by David McTaggart in 1992 and sent widely throughout Greenpeace at the time. The internal squabble it was intended to address is long a thing of the past, but the summation he gives of the organisat...
Today was a good day. Greenpeace offices around the world did something extraordinary for Earth Day. We set aside our national differences, we erased our borders, and focused on doing one simple thing globally.
All we did was drive a video up into t...
Ok, we all thought it was a funny name: when we launched our name-a-whale competition, we had over 11,000 entries that we split up among our Communications Team members to select five each to go forward as finalists. We had poetry, we had mythology,...
Hi kids! Have you been watching the proceedings of ANY multilateral process (Earth Summit, Copenhagen Climate Summit, you name it) and wishing you could turn clear commitments to saving the planet into mush? Here's a handy guide to one of the greatest diplomatic tools ever invented: BRACKETS!!
They gathered to farewell a ship — former captains, campaigners, and crew — and raise a toast to a creature of steel and wood and rope which had been their home, their guardian, their fierce champion, and occasionally their trickster nemesis.
You gain a new appreciation of the olive oil you slather on your salad or cook your vegetables in when you know that every litre is made up of 1,375 olives that took 47 minutes to pick.
// ]]On Saturday I got to pick olives once again. Years...
Yes. It can. To everyone who tweeted, Facebooked, up-thumbed, blogged, emailed, IMed and otherwise digitally disseminated our “Give Earth a Hand” Earth Day video: YOU ROCK. We asked if we could beat pre-teen hearthrob JB’s vid...
Planet III — launched May 2010
It sounds like Sci Fi. But it’s the latest incarnation of the “Greenpeace Planet” website and Content Management System, which we launched today. It involved more than a year of effort, lots of sweat and blood and...
Sumatran Tigers? Fuggetaboutit. Activism is about cat videos.
I was a proud participant in the SOPA protest. This website, along with 25 Greenpeace websites and every website I could influence, went dark to demand the internet remain a haven of free...
Grateful Child is a self-described elderly hippy living in Connecticut who pings all of us at Greenpeace with love every now and again. He sends encouraging messages when we save whales. He made up mugs and mousemats for the web team to say thanks f...