Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 | ZackBrisson
Everyone in this group knows that we live in an age ever more cacophonous in it’s hypermediation. With so many messages, memes, channels, and platforms out there, many information peddlers and consumers feel more and more lost in the flood.
Correspondingly and perhaps paradoxically, with this new flood of information, groups like those we work for and care about have vastly more opportunity to share their work and the stories that drive them than in the past. Every institution, advocacy group and organization is now a publisher with a global platform and (potentially) massive audience.
Given these competing realities, my challenge to this group is thus:
In the era of social media, collaborative filtering and wiki-everything, how do we elevate the messages that matter above the Tiger Woods, Britney Spears and Cable News punditry of the world?
Put another way; how do we get citizens of the world the information they need, as opposed to just the information they “want”?
As an operating premise, I suggest we forbid ourselves from accepting a cynical view such as the broader public simply isn’t interested and we’ll never overcome fluff with the important stuff. Cultural anthropologist Mike Wesch has made the point quite ably that the distributed crowds DO GIVE A F@!K. I encourage you to check it out.
Also, for the purposes of structuring the day, I suggest that this proposal be grouped with Neal Johnson’s “The Impetus To Act” My reasoning for this being: If you A. Get the important messages to the public B. How do you make sure those messages have the tools needed to turn reception into action.
To get the creative juices flowing, here’s one tactic I’ve recently seen that worked to some extent:
- Work hard to find communities of tangential interest to your issue, and then push hard to break into them. For example, we have a “Conflict Minerals” campaign focused on the connection between illegal mining in eastern Congo and the violence that plagues that region. Because these minerals power many of our western consumer electronics, we’ve reached out heavily to the “tech geek” community, recently receiving coverage in Slashdot.