The New Age of Advocacy

Advocacy Now by Erutan

Social advocacy is at the root of all the social movements that we have witnessed throughout history. We’ve seen advocacy in its finest form  from the civil rights movement, which brought about change socially and politically to AIDS awareness, where groups such as ACT UP took to the streets to demand change for people suffering from HIV and AIDS. Despite the fact that social media wasn’t a part of our lives at that point and time, the voices of the people were heard loud and clear. The Twitter of yesteryear was word of mouth and good old fashion pounding of the pavement.

Online Advocacy by Matthew Burpee

Today, advocacy has taken a new form through social media. Twitter , Facebook, and blogs are used to galvanize communities and create awareness globally. The keyboard is now an instrument of empowerment. Advocacy groups are enlisting the help of organizations such as Socialbrite.org  to attract and maintain supporters. Politicians are also taking a part in this as a way to make their positions known to their constituents. On a personal note,  I am following a few of my local politicians on Twitter to get a sense of what issues matter to them the most . It helps me to become well informed about local issues and I ‘ll get a sense of  what the prevailing  campaign platforms are  from politicians, if and when they decide to run for reelection.

It seems that the key ingredients to online advocacy are to be passionate and engaging to your audience. If your passionate about your cause and it is demonstrated in your writings and in all that you do, people will be more eager to learn about the issues that you care about. Without that element of passion, your issues will not resonate with your key audience base.

As always, please let me know what you think.

Consumers Know Best

Companies are jocking up for position on a daily basis to find  new customers who will help to enhance  their financial and social visibility in the marketplace.  As social media continues to play a vital role in commerce, consumers are  taking an active position in how products are viewed and sold.  Today, there are boundless opportunities for consumers to rate items and give their unsolicited testimonials. The customer service component is key for survival in this everchanging global economy. The most powerful commandment in the world of  e-business is Know Thy Audience.

Although consumers have the freedom to write reviews and make valid contributions, they cannot claim ownership of the information. The content is in the hands of the company and is kept in what computer industry professionals call “silos”.  In “Cluetrain Manifesto,” Doc Searls proposed a new frontier for consumers that is called Vendor Relationship Management (VRM), where consumers have autonomy over their information. Consumers can manage their own relationships without the help of the larger business community.  Personal information will be controlled by the individual and content is yours to manage.

I personally think that this is a very exciting new possibility for the future of the Internet. The  overwhelming concern for many is  that  private information might be sold to the highest bidder.  In the world of the VRM system that will be  virtually nonexistent. The consumer will be able to track their searches without fearing for the worst.  As with any new invention, there will be some hurdles to overcome. The old adage of there is no progress without struggle holds true for everything in life.  I am sure that there will be some difficulties in implementing this new technology, but I am certain that we will all be better off in the long run.

As always, I am inviting you to add your comments and suggestions. I would love to hear alternative points of view on this topic. See you next week.

Social Media Frenzy

With the advent of social media, the role of professional  communicators has become increasingly complex. Public realtions experts must be able to navigate the treacherous waters of this everchanging technological landscape.  News events happen at such an exceedingly high pace that there is no room for error.  Twitter, Facebook , text messaging and other various forms of communication are now the norm in our society. A skilled  public relations professional must be able to use these tools wisely to bring information and also quell the flames of an impending scandal.

Communicators are no longer just purveyors of information, but the guardian of a  company’s image. In today’s tech driven environment , it seems as though you must have a detailed statement prepared in the event of a disaster.  More than ever, public relations experts have to utilize these  mediums to their advantage or be trampled by competitors.

At times, I feel that this new wave of technology can be a bit overwhelming .  It  has become more of a juggling act to keep everything in balance.  News whether good or bad will always make the headlines. More often than not, it is  the scandalous and controversial new stories that will capture our attention.  A decade ago,  we had more control over how information was  consumed and distributed. Now, the average person can create their own news bureau. I am not saying that this new medium isn’t a great way t0 communicate with families, friends and colleagues. The challenge is to maintain control over privacy and other  pertinent information.  There is a great deal of good that has come out these forums. People have the freedom  and power to create  new ways to communicate and express themselves individually, but it must be done with respect and care.

Please let me know what you think. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments. They are all appreciated!

Women & Social Media

From the Suffrage Movement of the mid 19th Century to the Women’s Liberation of the 1970’s, women have always voiced their concerns about the societal pressures and inequities that they encounter  in their daily lives.  In the 21st Century, we’ve seen the evolution and rise of women of diverse backgrounds occupying high profile positions in medicine , politics, and the corporate sector. Throughout these times, women have used various forums to raise awareness whether it be  through print , radio , or television.  Today, social media  has become a great platform  where women’s issues can be heard , debated, and analyzed.  More than ever before, women are empowering each other on a global level by using technology to inform, communicate, and educate.  One site that helps to foster conversation  and create partnership  for female bloggers is Blogher. For the past seven years, Blogher has created exposure for 37 million women who are part of the community of  female bloggers. Topics on the site range from Breast Cancer Awareness to Human Trafficking.  As noted in”The Cluetrain Manifesto”, markets are about relationships. Women are utilizing these relationships to converse about what is most important to them on a socio-economic level.  This medium also carries  broader ramifications politically and economically.  Women play a major role in how the household is governed . Increasingly, politicians and advertisers  are aware of the power of the female influence  both at home and in the corporate arena.  Social Media is the new terrain where women are making their mark by voicing their concerns in  the marketplace through transaction, conversation, and relationships.  It is obvious that the global community is listening intensely to see how women will continue to transform the world around us!  As we continue to challenge ourselves intellectually, we can find new opportunities to explore  and generate the kind of dialogue that evokes change in all areas of society.