Using the Web to Mobilize 5000 Simultaneous Events Across the Globe

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Facilitated by Jon Warnow and Project 350

Session Description works on raising awareness about climate change and the need for more effective climate policy.

Over the past several years, they have redefined the art of coordinating globally distributed events, with days of action that connected thousands of local events on every continent.

In this session, Jon and the 350 team will talk about their processes, their strategy and the technology they use to mobilize hundreds of thousands of global citizens to take action for climate change.

Session Notes

what is 350 - it's the name of the org and the parts per million of co2 that is safe to have in the air - it works well in many languages which makes it a good name for an international org.

Jon explains where 350 came from a few years ago - after doing step it up it up they transformed into 350 so that they could go international.

Matt and Jon ask folks to do a go-around explain what they hoped to get out of this - asking folks to identify themselves as organizers or developers.

folks go around and there is just general interests or curiosity, specific question about the online offline connect, depth of community organizing and transforming online communities into action,

Jon talks about the transition from the national to the international? reaching out to people who were interested in climate change - they used video to reach out to explain the concepts without needing language or translation. They showed their first video about the 350 concept.

Folks as how big the organization is? Jon explains that changes, when in the heat of a campaign they get to 25, in downtime they are 7 or 10.

They spent 6 months connecting internationally then announced a international day of action. Jon explained that the 350 concept was about grounding what they were doing in science rather than in the political.

Jon highlights that real work on the ground, not that if you just have a website and a twitter feed it will just take off - that it takes a long time and lots of work to get things rolling.

Matt talks about the "Go big before you get big" approach. not be discouraged.

Audience asks what happened around the world on that day? Jon defers to video but folks want to know numbers. Jon says 5000 events?

Audience asks about what was the most effective communication tool. Jon says how high the rate of return was for offline organizing, empower local organizers to do trainings to do their own education and workshops. the questioner focuses more on what online? Jon says that mobile didn't pan out, either because the tech isn't mature enough or because they didn't leverage it well.

Matt tells a story about a training camping in africa run by two twin sisters in Ethiopia. they called apologetically and said sorry we have to have our action a day early, but then it turned out that they were gonna have an action with 15000 school children which turned out to be one of the larges international action. Just getting footage of that action though was a story unto itself.

Audience members mention that video has great power - what was your video strategy and budget, was it planned out in advance?

They worked with freerange to make the two 350 videos to spread the word. they used citizen global?

Where is everyone now? what happened after. Jon talks about delivering the message to the media and getting the story out. 112 countries got on board but Matt talks about whether they the right countries (geopolitically speaking). The organizers who took part were often not first time organizers so they went back to continue organizing in their area's.

Audience asks about the 10/10/10 actions and what's next with building networks. 10/10/10 focused on doing things, actual actions for change. going deeper rather than broader.


Follow us on twitter Jon: @350 and @jwarnow Matt: @fitz350

VIDEOS: - The animation that introduced 350 ppm and [1] - The animation that presented the vision for the October 24th International Day of Climate Action [2] - The 10/24 day of action highlight video [3] - on youtube [4]

Unexpected Insights:

Go Big Before You Get Big: Don’t build a big list so you can do amazing things--do amazing things and in the process you’ll have the opportunity to cultivate a community around your work.

Avoid custom development whenever possible...harness free tools and push their limits to realize your mission: GMail’s shared inbox, Flickr ...But recognize when there is a need for it: i.e. no existing internationalized, translatable, customizable distributed event platform.

On a Shoestring? Scale out, not up: With limited resources, it’s tempting to think small. Instead, design your systems to scale out for widespread network use: example: grassroots media trainings.

Make sure your organization’s/movement’s story is not only compelling and honest, but incomplete: leave room for new characters, new movement builders.

Potlucks make people learn to cook. A model of open-source activism can have a training component baked-in: people learn by doing. Truly global problems require global collaboration, and problems (and their solutions) will surface by virtue of people/organizations/countries actually doing things.

Translation and Bridge Building: Give it away--provide tools and platforms and guidance but not micro-management. Wordpress MU.

Brutal honesty can be a force for good. Sugarcoating is obvious. Bullshit detectors are finely tuned.

Be prepared to tell your own story: don’t rely on external storytellers--the world is moving too quickly for the mainstream media.

Bridge the gaps and recognize where support is most needed.