Subject: Help promoting MASSIVE online action Oct. 15
From: Austin Guest
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2011 21:37:03 -0400

Hello.  My name's Austin.  I work with ALIGN, the NYC chapter of Jobs with Justice.  I've met a number of folks on the media team over the past few days (particularly folks helping with video.)

I'm coordinating an online action this Saturday that will allow hundreds of thousands of people across the country to air their grievances directly to 400 of the finance industry's most culpable executives through various lines of communication.

We scores of grassroots and national organizations from across the country along with a stable of prominent netroots bloggers lined up to promote the action, and it promises to make a national stir.  

We've even got the YES MEN on board to throw in a little special sauce.  It's going to be special.

I would very much appreciate some help from the media team in promoting this as far and wide as possible, particularly on the #OWS/NYCGA websites, Facebook, and Twitter streams.  If anyone here would be interested in facilitating that, please email me at or call at 831-917-6400.

I've pasted a full description of the project below for anyone who wants to know more.

Looking forward to Saturday!!!




Project Description for #OccupyTheBoardRoom

Prepared by Austin Guest, ALIGN




Use digital technology to give a massive number of people a vehicle to express their anger directly at the banks and see that anger reflected in the expressions of their peers across the country.  Let the experience become viral.  Through the experience of collective catharsis and solidarity, embolden people to take more militant action. Use the spreading of the meme to embed anger with the banks so deeply in the national narrative that it becomes impossible for politicians to ignore.




We have compiled a dataset of contact information for 400 of the wealthiest and most powerful executives in the financial industry.  On October 15, as part of an international day of action in solidarity with #OccupyWallStreet, we will release that data to the 99% and invite them to contact the 1% to air their grievances.  There will be channels through which they can do so.


(1) Nearly 100 organizations will send an email blast to their membership that, if clicked, will direct users to a webpage that documents the finance industry’s wrongdoings and allows users to send an email directly to all 400 executives, or a smaller subset thereof.  The text of each email will also be submitted to a Tumblr blog, where it will appear alongside other emails from across the country. 


(2) Users may visit a landing page on the Tumblr blog and select an executive to adopt as a Pen Pal.  After doing so, they will be given all of that executive’s contact information and invited to try to get in touch with her or him in the most creative way possible, document their attempts, then post the results to the Tumblr blog.


Thus, the blog will accumulate a running log of America’s frustration with the 1%.  We aim to generate at least 100,000 entries.




This action is deliberately more open-ended than typical online actions.  That is its strength.  The action places a deep faith in people’s ability to speak for themselves.  It believes that what people say when they speak for themselves is more compelling than when their words are provided for them.  It believes that people can do very difficult things if they trust that enough other people are acting alongside them. In this respect, it is entirely in the spirit of Occupy Wall Street.


This action will likely have lower response rates per organization than a many online actions.  But the aggregate number of responses from the unprecedented number of organizations acting together will be massive.  And the responses that do come will be compelling and “sticky” because they will be authentic, deeply felt, and widely shared. For this reason, the action will become viral and the narrative will build its own energy, much like the “We Are the 99%” blog


The narrative will be compelling because people will recognize their own voice in it.  In recognizing their voice, people will be drawn to speak themselves.  This will create a positive feedback loop as more and more people join in.  The story will expand as people teach each other how to better and more assertively name their own long suppressed desires to bring the 1% to justice. And at the end of the day, people who didn’t open the original email asking them to participate will wind up participating when they read about it in the New York Times and think “me too!”





We are compiling a dataset of contact information for approximately 400 top executives from 10-15 of the world’s richest financial institutions.  We will share that data set with participating organizations, who will select a subset of companies that comprises the universe they wish to target. 


Email blast and CRM action page (Landing page 1)

Each organization will send its members an email blast through one of several CRMs used by the coalition of participating organizations (Salsa, BSD, Convio, CiviCRM).  When users click on the action link in that email, they will be directed to a landing page in their CRM. This page will display the logos of all participating organizations at the bottom and have a unifying logo at the top (we have graphic designer and crm experts who can do this). 


The top of the body of the page there will be a brief intro paragraph about why the banks are bad.  Below that, there will be a list of hyperlinked titles displaying the names of the target banks.  If a user clicks on a link, the page will expand and a section below the link will display a brief blurb about that bank.  If the user clicks on the link again, the text will collapse and disappear. (Ie: this section will use Javascript and dynamic HTML.-- i think our CRM folks can do that themselves though)


At the bottom of the page, there will be a call to action that informs the user that the page they are on will allow them to send an email voicing their frustration to every senior executive and board member at the banks listed above.  There will be a form email with a blank subject line and a blank text entry field into which users will be encouraged to send their message to the 1%.


Tumblr blog submission and follow-up

When the user clicks “submit,” their email is sent to the entire set of executives in the given organization’s target universe.  It is also sent to the email address used to submit to a Tumblr blog hosted on  Submissions from all users will thus be aggregated in reverse chronological order on the Tumblr blog.


After clicking “submit,” the user will be sent an autoresponse email containing a link to the action page (ie: Landing Page 1) they just completed.  They will also be redirected to the Tumblr blog, which will display their post at the top.  From there, the user should be able to share their post via Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter through no more than 2 clicks.  The layout for the Tumblr page will be simple and unbranded except for a 99% at the top.  It will not contain all the organization’s logos.


In an ideal case (ie: given time and budget to code this), after a user completes the sharing process, they are redirected to a landing page for a “Pen Pal” action that will encourage them to take further action.


Pen Pal landing page (Landing page 2)) 
Users who have already completed the email-prompted actions or who are accessing the tumblr blog through means other than email blast will arrive at a landing page (Landing Page 2: a non-CRM page that the Dev. Needs to build) that has the same wrapper as the Tumblr page. This page can be built on the cms of developer's choice so long as it works with the other pieces.


 The purpose of this page is to provide an easy-to-navigate way for users to (1) find and adopt a single executive as a “Pen Pal,” (2) be provided with complete contact information for that executive, (3) be encouraged to get in touch with that executive through the most creative means possible, and (4) be provided with instructions on how to post documentation of their attempts to contact that executive to the Tumblr blog, either manually or via email submission. 


Finding the pen pal

There will be a short blurb at the top of the page explaining why the banks are bad and encouraging users to browse the directory of executives to find one in particular that they’d like to express their anger toward.  In an ideal case, users will be able to browse by company and geographic location, search by name, or click “I’m feeling lucky” and be assigned an executive Pen Pal at random.


Providing contact information and instructions for using it

Upon selecting a Pen Pal (via search or browsing), users will be directed to a page that shares complete contact information on that executive and a brief profile (if available.)  The header for the page will read: “Your Pen Pal: (Executive’s Name Here).”  At the top of the page (below the header and above the contact information), there will be a brief blurb explaining that users are expected to try to get in touch with their Pen Pal and post their documentation to the blog, with instructions for doing so.


In an ideal case, A hyperlink reading “For examples, see here” will open a new tab or window containing the front page of the Tumblr blog so that users can learn from previous examples.  Also in an ideal case, users will be able to click a link to send an email to themselves containing the instructions along with a hyperlink to the Tumblr blog’s submission page in case their Pen Pal project takes a long time and they forget how the whole thing works.


At the bottom of the page, the contact information and profile will be displayed in as intelligible a format as is possible. The contact information and profile will be retrieved from the database through its API. The API for was written by the coordinators of this project’s research team, Kevin Connor ( and Matthew Skomarovksy (  They are available to answer questions about the best way to interface with the API and retrieve the contact information data.


Tumblr submission

There will be a page where people can submit text, photos, or video to the Tumblr blog.  After they complete their submission, they will be redirected to the front page of the blog.  Videos content must be pre-uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, or another video hosting site.  Upon completion of the submission process, users will be redirected to the front page of the Tumblr.  Users may also submit their posts via email.



Volunteers will moderate the site to filter for obscene or unnecessarily incendiary posts and/or spam.

Austin Guest
/// Communicator & Online Organizer, ALIGN