How To Spread The Ruckus Far & Wide
More To The Story: Foster Tipping Points In Social Networks To Reach Further. Make Shift Go Viral.
Anyone can intentionally create tipping points of civic engagement activity and related narratives and buzz by using methodology to do so intentionally both online and in the real world. Fomenting tipping points to increase permeation, saturation, and reach in social networks can help engage and inspire more voters and action than standard marketing and activist organizing.
A tipping point is when something reaches critical mass in any social network, and “goes viral” – ideas, memes, activities, action, stories, hope, solidarity, etc. It’s based in epidemiology; it’s how diseases move through social networks. Tipping points can happen in the real world or online, and at any scale: in small towns, in neighborhoods, in metro areas, in activist networks, through any other networks, through social media platforms, in regions, or nationwide.
Anyone can create tipping points by bringing these three elements together:
- Context: We address context by speaking to the moment: like a once-in-a-century out-of-control pandemic, government deliberately failing the people it is meant to serve, injustice, inequality, threats to life and health, emerging tyranny, brazen corruption, etc.
- Stickiness: Stickiness, or resonance, is the level of contagion or infectiousness. It’s the ability to stick, be carried, and be transmitted; like the resonance of a meme, idea, story, or activity. It’s about how much people want to share it, when it’s content (not an actual virus). When creating content, stickiness can be tested by measuring the reach of organic spread of varying content types.
- Super Spreaders in Social Networks: Super spreaders, connectors, spanners, or bridgers are those people who cross many social networks in the real-world or online, and/or who have significant influence (online or in-real-life), or a high number of online followers. They cross networks and bring ideas (or viruses, in the case of epidemiology) with them as they go. The sociological work that addresses the power of this phenomenon (the strength of weak ties) is one of the most highly-cited sociological references in active use.
We can add to tipping point activity by leveraging and growing partnerships, alliances, and networks. As coalition-building and related synergy increases, feedback loops among active coalition groups will amplify spread and reach.
Strategic organizing can ramp up tipping points. Organizations can use and expand relational and distributed organizing to further grow tipping points, and to expand their influence and reach. Digital and virtual organizing activity can encourage, promote, facilitate, demonstrate, schedule, and/or lead the use of the civic engagement activities and action. It can help highlight and amplify civic engagement action and progress. It can share and amplify earned media attention. It can lead online action to amplify narratives, activity, or messaging itself to help build and grow tipping points and expand movements, power-building, and real-world shift.
Finally, we can use digital marketing to promote the Shift the Country civic engagement tools, and to “boost” or otherwise promote or amplify online activity, news, and buzz related to all of this shift. Marketing can be targeted to particularly challenged areas, such as key geographic and demographic areas facing great challenges. Marketing can prioritize civic engagement tools for promotion that may be able to help in a particular moment, or that may be gaining traction or attention with a certain audience or in a given region. Digital marketing can also promote civic engagement activity itself – scheduled events, stories of success, the effects of civic engagement action in peoples’ communities and lives to help create buzz and foster tipping points, while also spreading inspiration, solidarity, more action, and support for Democratic values. Digital marketing can use marketing targeting strategies and tools; and test content for stickiness, organic shares, reach, and effectiveness. The Shift the Country digital marketing capacity and reach will be a variable directly influenced by available funding. As funding increases past our baseline operational costs, we can ramp up our digital marketing work that can serve to amplify and grow tipping points. As that marketing work expands, feedback loops can kick in and create the kind of exponential growth that helps create larger-scale spread phenomena.
You can help support this shift, talk to people about what we're doing, share it, & sign up to join in on this shift. Contributions help us get tools, stories, actions, engagement, messages, and ruckus out and amplified. To get things to go viral. To create a phenomenon. To help more people everyone engage with everything. To help more people raise an absolute ruckus. To make shift happen.
This page is an excerpt from the printable Shift the Country framework.
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