Socialbrite- ido30 treads line between grassroots movement & corporate campaign

Jonas Nielsen, originally uploaded by kommunikationscast.

ido30 treads line between grassroots movement & corporate campaign

By Julie Katz
Socialbrite staff

Finding a balance between creating a movement and actively, successfully campaigning without coming off as a brand ambassador is very hard to come by for many nonprofits, especially when the campaign is backed by corporate interests. ido30 is a Denmark-based nonprofit promoting low-temperature laundry as a way to help combat climate change.

If every household in Europe goes from 60 to 30 degrees Celsius (140 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit) when washing laundry, we can save the same amount of carbon dioxide that’s produced by 3 million cars in one year, the organization says. That applies to Americans as well: Choosing a “cold” setting instead of warm or hot would accomplish the same.

With growing followings on their Facebook page (over 12,000 fans from 25 countries) and Twitter account , it is hard not to see the group as a grassroots movement. On the other hand, ido30 is sponsored by bio-industrial company Novozymes, which creates the enzyme that makes low-temperature laundry possible.

What, then, differentiates a movement — spreading the word and gaining a following — from a campaign that takes action to achieve a goal?

Sebastian Overgaard, creative director at Mindjumpers, a progressive and social media focused advertising group working with Novozymes, explains their strategy for creating a grassroots approach using social media.

“First, it’s important that we ourselves and the employees at Novozymes really believe in the cause – that spreading the word about low-temperature can actually make a difference,” Overgaard says. “This way we’ve been able to act almost like a grassroots organization, with a very human and spontaneous approach, but always with a transparent honesty about Novozymes’ underlying interests in focusing on ‘climate friendly choices’ as a bio-innovation company.”

By communicating these climate friendly choices through social media, the ido30 effort makes joining the movement synonymous with being an active participant in the campaign. In doing this, ido30 gathers what Overgaard calls its tribe. “Having a group of people sharing a cause that is in alignment with your core business makes a strong argument when approaching new potential partners,” he says.

But it is Mindjumpers’ attitude toward its tribe that makes ido30’s online tribe active participants. Says Overgaard: “You have to be genuinely interested in the people and not just look at them as numbers but as potential new fans” who can be called upon to take action through interaction on Facebook.

Nurturing a community, then prompting it to take action

One example of this approach took place in 2009 during the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. People like Overgaard saw a flood of wall posts on ido30’s Facebook page from members around the world communicating how they wished they could be in Copenhagen to help spread the word: “This inspired us to bring their statements out to the world in ’speech bubbles’ on the Facebook wall,” he said. “After this was well received, we got the idea to really bring the statements to Copenhagen in a ‘real’ speech bubble, which we brought to the center of Copenhagen, filmed and put on YouTube.”

There are two important processes Mindjumpers use strategically in their social media support of organizations like ido30. First is “social media gardening,” a process used to nurture an online community, like ido30’s Facbeook page, after it has been “seeded” with members. “Practically speaking,” Overgaard says, “this means we’ve engaged in one-on-one conversations with fans of ido30.”

Second is something Overgaard calls “tribesourcing,” essentially using what the flowers of their online gardens have to say, as they did in Cophenagen. “We’ve gotten insights, feedback and ideas from all over the world,” he says.

Focusing on the human factor, as Mindjumpers suggests, is precisely what helps to achieve the balance between the social power of a grassroots movement with the political savvy of a corporate campaign. Mindjumpers’ strategy allows members of ido30 to be part of an organization making their voices heard in European capitals while helping to create a green movement of climate friendly decision making.

A little encouragement is all it takes. “We’ve encouraged people to spread the word by telling their Facebook friends about the campaign, and pass on our videos, one of which has been seen by more than 330,000 people,” Overgaard says.

Clearly, the world can be saved one laundry load at a time and one voice to another.

Socialbrite- Using social media to help combat climate change

This week, I wrote my first article for Socialbrite.org, a social media information hub for non-profit organizations. I wrote about the social media tactics used by ido30, an organization challenging the world to reduce the temperature at which they do their laundry. What could be so important about reducing laundry heat? Read more to find out about the flooring implications.

In this article I also interview some of the minds at Mindjumper, a social media strategy firm, giving great insight into how to make a non-profit’s objective its very social media presence.

You can view the article here.

formspring.me vs. collegeacb.com

http://gawker.com/5438956/formspringme-the-sociopathic-crack-cocaine-of-oversharing

From the time I started managing my first Myspace page , I have often theorized upon the idea that networking platforms that ask you to develop a profile are going to create an evolution of change in the way people identify themselves. Considering we live in a gossip-based society, social networking sites seem to alleviate a step in the telephone game- we can see how people feel through status updates, we can find their interests, their photos, groups, wall posts, who they follow on twitter so on and so forth.

But its not just about talking about what you do find, or what you put out there to be found. Its about the anonymous stalker. We all have to admit to it. We joke about “facebook stalking” one another- wasting time looking through someone else’s profile pictures or things like that to get an idea of who they are. But truly, the character type adopted of the anonymous stalker seems to be outrageously addictive for the online community.

And since being online seems to be so very important, new platforms like formspring.me and even collegeacb.com are giving social networking mongers everywhere the ability to snoop, stalk AND gossip all online and all anonymously. Check out Gawker’s hilarious take on formspring.me here.

What does that mean for our critical media and cultural studies minds? It means that now, more than ever, we are taking joy in the ease of hurting others; because, it is easier now than it ever has been before. Furthermore, its about our self-interest as Gawker observes. I find it particularly alarming that a social reliance on these major networking sites is emotionally changing one’s need to put themselves online as an open, vulnerable target to…well, all kinds of shit.

Of course the question always is: Who cares about what other people have to say? That is just proof of the serious shift that has taken place. Who cares about what people write on my facebook? Who cares about what their Twitter said? Who cares what they posted about me on collegeacb? Who cares about some asshole writing on formspring? The very fundamental fact that these questions have been modified to accomodate online social trends should send out a huge red alert. Because the truth comes down to a very basic Marxist cultural crisis.

In the consumer culture, someone thinks and produces while others eat it all up. That’s a Marxist approach in a very understated nutshell. Other culture critical theorists like to discuss that the consumers never really ask for cultural trends, they just receive them. However, the criticism is that the people producing this shit believe that it is what the people want. So. Considering the rise in popularity of social networking, somebody decided that the people would want sites where they can put themselves or others on center stage and really really put who they are or what people think of them on show. Hence the birth of formspring.me. By this deduction, it proves that people are changing to want to put themselves on the line.

People want to care about what other people say. People just like having the excuse of “well its just some stupid site” to not get emotionally involved. But, the physiological and even holistic truth is that every ounce of input we receive each day sits inside us somewhere, somehow. And even if we have trained ourselves to block off the negative, it logically cannot be argued that we hear about it, or we see it, or we keep somewhere on our consciousness that it exists, and that someone could be using it against us. Its just the way it is. You don’t have to use these site or think about them all the time, but learning, just once, of what they are and what they can do- god forbid you should use them an update them- is quite enough to affect the identity of the self.

I suppose this all comes down to a basic postmodern argument: if technology is bringing us together or ripping us apart.

I have to wonder what it is in people that makes them so afraid to simply talk to other people. Couldn’t you walk up to someone and ask what you had to ask, say what you had to say without being an online creeper? Or have we learned as human beings to be so insecure about ourselves that online interaction will become the only way? And at any direction, is visual, popular and technological culture to blame for making our interest in shit that really doesn’t matter so readily available?

There’s a big world out there. The beauty of the internet and social networking is supposed to be bringing some of that world a little closer. I fear that its doing a little too much of putting our immediate world- the society and culture right outside our windows- into a tiny little screen.

Think of it like this: How often have you sat outside, or even in a room full of people while you are checking facebook? Or, think of it like this. For every minute you spend on a social networking site that is inflating your sense of identity…what else could you be doing with your time?

Superjail for California Prison System?

In 2008 Adult Swim debuted its latest mind-boggling creation, Superjail. Watching the pilot episode, Bunny Love, you might find yourself wondering how in the hell the show’s creators managed to produce a Yellow Subamrine-Willy Wonka-Ren and Stimpy-Beavis and Butthead-pseudo psychedelic commentary on the privatization of the panopticonic world. However they did it, or whatever they did it on, Superjail provides a very interesting criticism on a subject that is controversial nation-wide.

Superjail, “the largest prison this side of dimension 5612” (Season 1 Episode 7), is a private corrections facility housed in a double volcano system owned and controlled by The Warden. “Ever since I was a kid I’ve dreamed of incarceration,” says The Warden. Adopting the legacy of privatized prisons from his grandfather, The Warden seeks to  “perfect the art of incarceration, but,” he laments, “the world is not ready for my methods.” “So,” he continues,”I went outside the system and I created Superjail.” (Season 1 Episode 1) Each episode showcases The Warden’s crazy antics and absolutely psychotic schemes to manage Superjail efficiently mostly resulting in some 30-45 second, if not minute long, sequence of bloody action that can only be described as genocide. In our tax-paying world genocide is not a favored option for inmate-control. Privatization of correctional facilities, however, is a real-life Superjail answer to the question of how to perfect the art of incarceration.

Such a question has haunted the dreams of California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger according to the article “Jailhouse Blues” in the February 13th issue of The Economist. Ontop of California’s many other problems, prisons are overcrowded, inefficient and quite expensive. 9.5% of the state’s spending budget gets spent on prisons while only 5.7% goes to Universities, which have already taken dramatic measures to balance budget cuts like closing off Spring 2010 admissions to the entire UC and Cal State system to cut student population.

Like The Warden, the Governator is going “outside the system”- but, he’s not going crazy, he’s going corporate. Corrections Corporation of America, CCA, boasts 60 facilities, 44 of which are “company owned”. Browsing around www.correctionscorp.com, CCA advertises like a business: talk of efficiency, marketing strategy, partership/investment opportunities, its place on the NYSE and economic benefits- when CCA enters your community, all taxes are paid for. After a contract expansion, “America’s Leader in Partnership Corrections” will take on 8,000 of California’s 167,000 inmates reports The Economist. Needless to say the burden is barely lifted, nor is it long-term affective, according to the piece.

www.partnershipprisons.com boldly reads that CCA brings “The Best of Both Worlds” where government oversight meets the effectiveness of business bringing cost savings, accountability, security and a “peace of mind for states, communities, and taxpayers.” This makes “government oversight” seem somewhat like a glamorous label. The prison looks like a business, runs like a business and produces benefits like a business but still gets called government. One has to wonder, if the government isn’t capable of this on its own, why doesn’t everything become privatized? Perhaps out of fear of hundreds of Wardens running investor-based panopticon playlands and the usual anti-big-private-business arguments. What we  aren’t wondering is, what’s wrong with the government? As the Superjail theme song so blatantly puts it, “life on the outside ain’t what it used to be.”

To see Episodes of Superjail, visit www.adultswim.com/shows.superjail.index.html

Special thanks to www.theeconomist.com

Homeless in Orlando: a Social Networking Assessment

Below you can find the rough pictures of our solution to social networking for organizations trying to help the homeless. My group and I decided the number one problem with the homeless effort is visibility and awareness. After researching groups like IDignity.org, we found that most of them are not connected on a social network level. Our solution combines online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and WordPress Blogs to help spread the word and open people’s eyes.

There’s many important messages to spread through the online realm when it comes to homelessness. People need to know facts and statistics, links to area maps, resources, volunteer opportunities, news, and legislative updates. Blogging can keep an articulated record of these types of things. A twitter can make immediate updates while promoting the blog (as well as the blog can promote twitter). Both platforms can link to and follow other organizations, creating a network of people trying to help the homeless. A link to a Flickr album will bring effective visuals into the equation. People can only read so much, a picture is of course worth 1000 words. If enough pictures and facts were made readily available to the public of the Greater Orlando area, a strong response is entirely possible.

For example, UCF and Rollins. College students are constantly logged on and connecting through social networking. By creating a social network of their own, Orlando organizations trying to help the homeless can reach college students easily. Then, by the college networking of Facebook, students can start clubs on their campuses and organize events, meetings and volunteer opportunities. The possibilities are endless.

To start your efforts to end homelessness in Orlando visit these sites:

IDignity.org

hsncfl.org

www.centralfloridahomeless.org

Social Networking Solutions

Groups and OrganizationsHow the Rollins Community could HelpBy connecting college students to the homeless efforts in the rolando area, campus events and demonstrations can increase awareness and visibility. Because college students spend so much time on their social media, having these organizations create, maintain, and connect their own social media tools would be extremely beneficial. There are three main areas of how social networking can benefit homeless efforts: Visibility Networking Awareness. Having a Flickr account to update pictures is the most obvious way to increase visibility. By having a blog that has a feed to the Flickr account links people both visually and informatively. Twitter and Facebook can spread an organization’s network through friends, events, groups, fan pages and hash tags. All these can be linked to their blogs, and vice versa. Another great social networking tool, that can be utilized through these platforms is Mass Texting, where an organization can send out updates, volunteer opportunities and breaking news.What social media tools various orgs. can use to connect

Connecting Homelessness to Jobs

Mind Map for solving the issue

"Why Don't You Get a Job" doesn't cut it anymore