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  1. #1
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    Activism: Intheloop@tacticaltech

    Many useful tips to help the activists.

    [Intheloop​@tacticalt​ech] Tactical Tech's In the Loop

    Hello everyone,

    The response to our first "In the Loop" last month was positive. Some of you said you liked the new approach and format and someone also suggested we make it visual. So here's the next email edition for now and we're working on an online, visual version which will be available soon!Again, send us any thoughts or troubles to ttc@tacticaltech.org

    Thanks!

    Faith
    *******

    Tactical Tech's IN THE LOOP *** March 2012***
    THE ENGINE ROOM AT TACTICAL TECH***

    We've had some exciting releases recently and we wanted to be sure you knew about them:-
    Drawing by Numbers, our new online resource on visualising evidence, is being updated regularly with new Notes on Data and Design. Just released is Note 2 "Data Basics"(http://drawingbynumbers.org/data-des...-2-data-basics) takes it right back to the beginning; helping you to think through and clean up your data.

    - Our creative agency, Tactical Studios, have made two videos for Tor (a virtual network providing security and privacy to its users online). Check them out at https://www.torproject.org/getinvolved/relays and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h114LK71GOo

    COMING SOON:- We've been working with two Berlin designers, lots of little wooden sticks and a big table to create a short animation, visualising the 200+ 10 Tactics screenings organised around the world by volunteers. Some photos of the process so far:http://www.tacticaltech.org/act/news/coming-soon

    - This month will also see the release of 10 Tactics Remixed, a new website with plenty of new examples, ideas and critical discussion about the field of info-activism.

    ***SNIPPETS OF INFORMATION WE CAUGHT IN THE NET******

    ACTIVISM***BELARUS: TRAVEL BAN
    A travel ban has been imposed on opposition activists and some politicians in Belarus. http://www.rferl.org/content/belarus.../24512612.html

    CHINA: WHEN IS A TELLYTUBBY NOT A TELLYTUBBY?
    Chinese users of microblogging sites have been evading censorship by referring to the premier Wen Jiabao as a tellytubby - this enables them to discuss apparent troubles in the leadership without getting caught by keyword filters. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012...rs-teletubbies

    UGANDA: THE WHITE SAVIOUR INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX?
    A viral video campaign aiming to raise awareness of the activities of the Ugandan guerilla leader Joseph Kony has had over 86 million viewings on YouTube. A US agency took the opportunity to help NGOs understand the astonishing reach and impact achieved by this campaign (http://communicopia.com/insights/why-your-non-profit-wont-make-a-kony-2012)"

    …simplify your site, stripping down all actions or content that detracts from that core action. Then, focus all of your channels and messages on that one action. Report back progress. Repeat." But Ethan Zuckerman warns against such simplification and argues that a more complex look at the situation "…would look at the numerous community efforts, often led by women, to mediate conflicts and increase stability. It would focus on the efforts to rebuild the economy of northern Uganda, and would recognize the economic consequences of portraying northern Uganda as a war zone.

    "The Nigerian/American author Teju Cole saw in the campaign a view of the world where "Africa serves as a backdrop for white fantasies of conquest and heroism "(http://www.theatlantic.com/internati...omplex/254843/). Writing in Pambazuka News, Sokari Ekine, unearthed links between the Kony campaign and US right wing evangelical Christians (http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/80923).

    ZIMBABWE: GUILTY – OF WATCHING A FILM ON THE ARAB SPRING
    Six activists have been fined and given community service sentences for attending a meeting where footage from the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt was being screened. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...g-7580622.html

    GLOBAL: WHITE HATS, GREY HATS AND BLACK HATS
    Interested in the history of hactivism? Want to differentiate betweenthe good guys and the not-so-good guys? Check out this infographic. https://mashable.com/2012/03/28/history-of-hacktivism/

    GLOBAL: OPEN DATA ON CORPORATIONS AND COMPANIES
    At Tactical Tech we love data and the great things that activists can dowith it so check out this resource of free and open data on millions ofcompanies and corporations in over 20 countries. http://opencorporates.com/

    ***ILLUMINATION***
    MAPS, MAPS AND MORE MAPS…
    If you think the world of online maps begins and ends with Google, then think again. Open Street Maps is a free and adaptable map of the world –read more on Tactical Tech's Drawing by Numbers site http://drawingbynumbers.org/tools/open-street-map-osm. OSM has received some positive coverage for its reach recently(http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datab...s-technologies).

    The team at Humanitarian OpenStreetMap have been using it in Haiti, Indonesia and Cote d'Ivoire (http://hot.openstreetmap.org/). In the commercial realm the strength of the platform has been demonstrated by the fact that the location based social networking website Foursquare is now using it (http://blog.foursquare.com/2012/02/2...etty-new-maps/).

    Maps don't have to be purely functional - free and open resources suchas Open Street Maps make it possible for people to create beautiful resources such as these watercolour effect maps(http://maps.stamen.com/watercolor/#12/50.8518/-0.1321)

    POLITICAL POSTERS FROM THE SYRIAN UPRISING http://sha3b3aref.blogspot.de/p/crea...ickrslidr.html

    FREE AND OPEN SOURCE… TOYS?
    Whilst not strictly an activist tool, these universal adaptors for childrens toys are ingenious and we love the approach of the kits makers

    - "Release early, often and with rap music. This is Notorious R&D"http://fffff.at/free-universal-construction-kit/

    ***PROVOCATION***WHO IS TRACKING YOU ONLINE?
    If you're concerned about who is watching you online you might want to try Collusion - an experimental add-on for the Firefox Internet browser- it visualises who is tracking you online. Download at http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/collusion/ and listen to an interview with Mozilla’s Mark Surman at http://openmatt.org/2012/03/14/whos-...s-mark-surman/
    http://appblock.org/

    If you're interested in online privacy look out for a new Tactical Techproject we're launching in April called Me and my Shadow – an interactive website to help advocates understand how online data can be used to trace their activities.

    ***INSPIRATION***US: LETTER FROM AN ACTIVIST TO HIS GRANDDAUGHTER
    This letter from US environmental activist is a personal and powerful call to arms. http://www.guernicamag.com/blog/3620...er_of_apology/

    GLOBAL/ UK: WE ARE MANY, THEY ARE FEW
    An interesting piece looking at the history and philosophy of the Occupy movement. http://theoccupiedtimes.co.uk/?p=3033

    FREEDOM FONE: ITS FOR YOU!
    We were delighted to hear that our friends at Freedom Fone have won an award from Index on Censorship. Freedom Fone is free software that creates interactive, voice-based communication services for organisations or bodies seeking to engage with communities across mobile networks. http://www.indexoncensorship.org/awards-winners/

    _______________________________________________
    Intheloop mailing list
    Intheloop@lists.tacticaltech.org
    https://lists.tacticaltech.org/mailm...info/intheloop
    py

  2. #2
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    Evading censorship through pseudonymns.

    China's microbloggers turn to Teletubbies to discuss politics

    Bloggers invent codewords to evade censorship and speculate on trouble at the top of government


    China's premier, Wen Jiabao, who goes by the codename Teletubby on microblogging sites. Photograph: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

    Teletubbies, instant noodles and tomatoes might not sound like the stuff of high political intrigue, but this motley grouping has allowed microbloggers in China to evade censorship and speculate on trouble at the top of government.

    With facts in short supply since leadership contender Bo Xilai was dismissed as party chief of Chongqing last week, the online rumour mill has been in overdrive – fuelled by the opaque nature of Chinese politics and the knowledge that a power transition is fast approaching.

    Internet users disguise their references by using nicknames for the leaders they cannot mention.

    "[A few] days ago, Beijing was hosting an innovative tug-of-war for the elderly; this game has nine contestants in all," wrote one internet user on Thursday, in a thinly veiled reference to the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the country's top political body.

    "The first round of the contest is still intense … The teletubby team noticeably has the advantage and, relatively, the Master Kong team is obviously falling short."

    "Teletubby" is code for Wen Jiabao, who chided Bo publicly before his ousting – the Chinese for the children's show, tianxianbaobao, shares a character with the premier's name. The popular instant noodle brand Master Kong is known as Kang Shifu in Chinese and stands in for Zhou Yongkang, who is reportedly supportive of Bo.

    "Tomato has retreated; what flavour will Master Kong still have?" asked another user.

    In keeping with the food theme, the former Chongqing party boss has been dubbed "tomato" or "xihongshi".

    "It's the classic way that people have evaded keyword filtering: using puns, homonyms, abbreviations or English acronyms of Chinese names," said Jeremy Goldkorn, founder of Danwei, a website on Chinese media.
    "Some are pretty standard, like zhengfu [government] becoming ZF. But a lot of the ones in the last few days are new. With this last round – like Master Kong – you would have to be following internet chatter [regularly] to really get them."

    Many of the messages are bewildering or downright bizarre to casual readers. Even the well informed struggle to decode some of the more cryptic references.

    But Offbeat China, a blog that spotted the spate of references, said at one point "Master Kong" was the seventh most searched-for term on Sina's popular Weibo service.

    Strikingly, Bo Xilai's name was searchable on microblogs for days after he was toppled, even when his wife's name was blocked. Such searches now seem to be blocked and a leading leftist website was reportedly told to remove all articles about Chongqing, where Bo promoted a "red culture" campaign.
    At one point the wildest microblog rumours stretched to claims of an attempted coup. But circulated photographs of army vehicles on the streets dated from a military parade in 2009. Much of the chatter seemed to have been prompted by the presence of reporters outside the state guesthouse in Beijing; they were waiting for the North Korean nuclear negotiator.

    Steve Tsang, an expert on elite politics at Nottingham University, said that "not remotely credible" rumours appeared to have circulated because people knew there was tension in the leadership but did not know what was going on. In some cases people were "almost certainly ill-wishers with axes to grind; in other cases probably people just having fun," he said.

    He suggested that the speculation would end if Bo were removed from the 25-seat Politburo as well as his Chongqing position.

    "The fact nothing is decided means the leadership is not yet in full agreement about how this needs to be handled," Tsang added. He said that this probably reflected the increased difficulties of handling the situation so close to the leadership transition, as people were trying to position themselves and their protegés.

    Some of the coded messages were deleted within a few hours on Thursday, while others remained. Searches for the phrases "Teletubby" and "Master Kong" together brought the warning that results could not be displayed in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.

    Those wanting to read more of the gossip may also have to wade through irrelevant postings.

    "Kang Shifu is actually discussed quite a lot anyway on microblogs. It's one of the most discussed brands because typical netizens eat a lot of instant noodles," Goldkorn pointed out.




    py

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    IC - Invisible Children produced KONY 2012 the most successful viral campaign of all time.


    Why your non-profit won't make a KONY 2012


    Mar 13, 2012 | by Jason Mogus

    There's been a lot of ink spilled about the KONY 2012 video, the most successful cause video of all time (and most viral video ever). But I haven't seen a lot of discussion around the campaign that surrounded the video, that is at least as responsible for its success. And while Invisible Children has faced controversy - in my opinion much more than they deserve - I'd rather turn this into a constructive dialogue on how other causes can learn from their incredible success.

    In my view, most of the larger, more well known NGO's won't produce a communications piece this successful, unless they radically change their structures. Here are 6 reasons most NGO's will never make a KONY, and some lessons we can take to improve our campaigns for this exciting new world.
    1. You've never met your supporters

    The founders of IC had spent the last 8 years actually meeting their supporters: presenting at about 3,000 events a year in schools and other hyper local gatherings, and starring in highly personal videos. Their presence and personal stories created a relationship, an emotional one, with audiences.

    Say what you will about Jason Russell, but he's clearly got a deep calling to do this work, and it's infectious. So when he came back asking for help, supporters listened, and they cared.

    No doubt your organization was founded by a passionate visionary who had a true calling, but most likely they are now long gone. Non-profits should unlock the staffers who are still driven by a deep personal mission to make change, and who speak eloquently to crowds. Build their profile and get them out of your office more, so that when you go asking for action, they pay attention.
    2. You don't really have a twitter army

    Let's face it. Your social media peeps largely followed you because it's an easy way to stay lightly engaged in the issues you work on (that they typically care about more than your own brand). Other than a few exceptions, you're not engaged in dialogue, you talk at them. A lot. About every big and obscure policy solution your org works on. You may not even have staff who are equipped or empowered to talk back.

    IC is in a real relationship with its followers, responding to their questions, asking for help, giving them real things to do, and reporting back progress on what matters to them. They clearly respect their supporters. So when they asked for their help launching this campaign, they got on board, in spades. The person to person power of these social networks is what launched this video into the stratosphere, with the media eventually getting on board after it got huge online.
    3. You speak to too many audiences

    IC knew who its audience was, simply, American youth. It speaks in their language, using their cultural heros and influencers. Everything in KONY 2012 from the visuals (Facebook, hip posters) to the tone (hopeful, not dour or depressing) to the emotional hooks (kids, the power of people to tip the world, social media) speaks directly to this audience. Maybe this is one reason why it annoyed so many "institutional experts" over 40!
    For good reasons, most non-profits have way too many diverse audiences, even in their own supporter bases, to ever speak so boldly. I honestly don't know the solution to this other than to get to know audience segments more and target stronger communications at each segment, like politicians are so good at doing, which should be easier with modern CRM software and a little creativity.
    4. Your policy people would never let this get through

    This is of course the #1 criticism of IC's work, that they over-simplified (or manipulated) the issue, lacking nuance on the complexity of the situation. But the fact that they made this video for their audiences, not for their policy specialists, is the secret of their success.

    Online cause video specialist Michael Hoffman said in Forbes.com: "the challenge that many of our (non-profit) clients have is that they aren’t willing to focus so narrowly on a single mission, to ‘dumb it down’ enough to have this kind of very clear and very narrow focus.” Those of us who work in non-profit communications know we're the ugly step-children of the policy experts, who are the real power in the institution. We're not typically able to "mess with the raw facts" to take bold positions like this.

    What IC has really given its supporters is not information or policy precision, but hope and a crystal clear theory of change where individuals feel welcome contributing. If more of us truly believed in people-power and put more focus into serving their needs we would have much stronger, more engaged constituencies for our campaigns, not to mention friendlier media messages.
    5. You run 18 campaigns & your site has 35 calls to action

    It's a fact of life in most NGO's there are multiple, often competing priorities, because there's lots of work to be done. Groups like IC and even 350.org open themselves up to criticism by being so focused, however having such a clearly positioned brand is also how they are connecting with people in this busy, tuned out, over-complex world.

    IC does pretty much one thing: raise awareness, which, let's face it, most NGO's are at best mediocre at. Should IC also be a policy shop and an aid agency, just because they work in Africa, as some of their critics suggest? Wouldn't that dilute the one thing they are clearly really good at?

    Their website is entirely focused around this ONE message and one action. Take a closer look, not only at its hip design, but the way the site funnels you to take that one action (view the video) then share it with your friends, then put pressure on policy and "culture makers". Don't let its simplicity fool you - a lot of thinking and UX planning went into a design this smart.

    Non-profits can improve their action rates by first simplifying what they actually want supporters to do, and picking believable actions that may lead to something meaningful happening. People are smart, and if they don't believe your theory of change, they won't engage. And if you wear them out with one "crisis" after another, week after week, they tune out. Next, simplify your site, stripping down all actions or content that detracts from that core action. Then, focus all of your channels and messages on that one action. Report back progress. Repeat.
    6. Your organization isn't aligned towards the social web

    This is probably the biggest reason most NGO's won't produce something as successful as the KONY video. "Network orgs" like IC tend to have similar attributes that are fundamentally different from how most NGO's are structured and staffed:


    • They specialize in doing one or two things incredibly well (typically not policy work)
    • Everyone in the organization (or at least a critical mass) is aligned around their main goal or campaign. And everyone knows how to use the web to grow their movement
    • Communications is a core capacity, it's not seen as "not the real work" and doesn't have to fight for resources
    • People power lies at the core of their theory of change; it's not an add on, it's why they exist
    • There are actions and support programs for the less engaged (clicks) medium engaged (often real-world events), and super-engaged (help us lead and campaign!)
    • They are close to their supporters, asking what they want, constantly testing ideas with them, and sometimes even following their lead



    Newish institutions such as Invisible Children (and their cousins in the for-profit world) are the ones driving the most innovation right now, and producing the game changing campaigns that are blowing all our minds. Love them or hate them, if you want to win like them, it's wise to study some of the underlying structural and cultural frameworks they're using to grow so quickly.

    Jason Mogus is Communicopia's principal consultant and is the founder of Web of Change. He has been developing digital strategies for social change organizations for over 15 years. You can follow him at @mogusmoves.

    py

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