|Subject: [NYCGA Internet] Why I'm coming to the IWG meeting tonight|
|From: "Charles Lenchner" <email@example.com>|
|Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2011 15:16:59 -0400|
I’ve met some of you and look forward to meeting some more. It felt right to show up after giving the meeting organizers and WG veterans a chance to process why I’m attending and how I might help.
Please do forgive the telegraphic style, but folks are busy.
1. Soon, #OWS is going to have a functional website that is ‘official’ and a working database that can build lists, manage email groups and send thousands of emails to existing lists. We know that there are thousands of email addresses (from Kickstarter, OccupytheBoardroom and WG lists) to start with.
2. What we do not have is a designated WG or committee that makes decisions around this. Decisions like:
a. Who gets to message the entire list? How often? With what content?
b. What is the goal of our online messaging? Political statements? List growth? Fundraising? Event turnout? Who decides between competing priorities?
c. Which social media platforms will be connected on the back end, which ones will not? What is the goal of our official social media properties? (Education? Solicitation of support? Decision making and deliberation?)
d. What major segments of data do we anticipate having in the database? Do we assume that a web commenter wants to get emails? Or that an email list member wants commenting access?
e. Should messages be short and sweet, to drive action, or newsletter style, to get ‘everyone’s’ announcement in front of people?
f. Under what conditions is it okay to message about an unofficial, but supportive effort – like the OccupytheBoardroom effort? What if there are multiple, excellent initiatives all demanding the same level of attention?
3. Is GA approval necessary for online initiatives, or is GA approval assumed if a working group does something on their own initiative?
4. Should messages be signed as a corporate entity (we, #OWS NYS) or individually (Jane Doe, non-leader designated email signer for the third week of October)?
5. Under what circumstances is it ‘fine’ to work with an under a corporate partner (cf, OccupyTogether + Meetup.com or OccupytheBoardRoom + Tumblr) and when should this merit resistance? Is this the kind of decision to be made inside a specific committee, or by the GA? If the initiative is ‘owned’ by allies and merely endorsed, does that make a difference? Should we refuse to work with Paypal?
Broadly speaking, these questions fall under ‘digital strategy.’ This is a function often carried out by communication directors, online organizers, or consulting firms – though none of these things apply to the #OWS situation. The question is…. Where do they fall? Would anyone care/object if someone started a ‘digital strategy working group?’ Why or why not? (Note that such a committee would do NO programming, coding or web development….)
The underlying set of values at play here is accessibility. An area of concern with #OWS is the construction of a coherent, transparent ladder of engagement that makes it possible for ‘newbies’ to become ‘insiders’ according to a set path. What do we offer people who want to be informed? Who desire participation, but only for five minutes a day, or one hour once a week? What mechanisms exist to solicit particular forms of participation and support, reach segmented audiences, or take into account particular perspectives? All of these questions together represent ‘organizing.’ I think we should do it, but it remains unclear where it should happen.
Tonight, I’d like to find out.
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