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Social Change and Blogging

Community organisations aim for social change, convincing the public to change sounds simple doesn’t it? Well in the new world of social media, the rules have changed. These are some thoughts on this topic that have grown in my head from talks at the Northern Voice Conference, thanks to Jason Mogus for his thoughts and presentation this morning.

As many of my readers know, I’m interested in seeing society and communities grow in sustainability and changing the way they live. As such, this topic of change and managing change is dear to my heart.

Social Media and Corporations

Social media and blogging has totally changed the way we make our pitch or campaign to the public, the old way was to push for a response to say the government, whereas now, participation is at the core of campaigns, through blogging, comments and social media. This makes a lot of corporations pretty nervous, they fear openness and transparency, believing that having full control is the only way to control their image.

Those of us who are dabbling in social media and activism are somewhat on the leading edge of the wave of technology and change, but no one really knows where it will go, certainly blogs and youtube are a start, but they are not likely to be the end. Read more after the jump…

Generating Buzz

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Throughout the centuries there has always been an adoption of the latest technology to connect, express and share what they care about, through letters, newspapers, radio, faxes, email, webpages, text messages and blogs.  The interesting thing is that all of these media are still active, despite their age or technology limitations. But as these technologies grow and build a user base, their ability to assist in and build change also grows. Blogs and user-generated content are the latest tool for communication, blogs give rise to social online networking, where a campaign can be generated exponentially through a limitless number of fronts, well, limited only by the number of people who are prepared to write about it, and then link to each other and generate a buzz.

What do you want to change?

One of the examples from the conference is the Change Everything website and campaign, which gives Vancouverites an opportunity to promote their ideas for change. This online community has a positive tone and quality that aims to engage people in long term community and change. It’s pretty cool how the community has grown and made some tangible impacts. This “Got Hats?” campaign (previous link) made the local news and brought clothing and bedding for hundreds of homeless people and has flow on effects that are still rippling through the the community of Vancouver today.

Static websites are not interactive and have difficulty in drawing people to the site, but marketers are beginning to understand that blogs are key to promoting and bringing buzz to the campaign. The 18Seconds campaign is a good example of this, with widgets for your blog a key part of the site and key to the generation of exponential growth of this campaign.

If you want things to change, check out the Change Everything website, and read The Tipping Point for ideas on how ideas stick and how users are a key part of generating a buzz.

Let me know what you want to change!

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.