How to mobilise people online

How to get a response

  • Put instructions for what to do and why in the first paragraph – details can come later.
  • Include contact details of the person to complain to – preferably an email address, but also fax and telephone if possible.
  • Paste everything in the body of the email – most people hate opening attachments, unless personal – many fear viruses.  Any attachments should be additional non-essential information.
  • Don’t get philosophical – explain how the problem will impact them, their children, their family, their school, their church etc.
  • Collect a big list of interested people because only a small fraction will react.
  • Ask others to share on social media sites and forward to their friends.

To avoid sharing your email list

  • Paste into the “bcc” field or “Blind Carbon Copy” and send it back to your own address in the “To” field.  This maintains the privacy of your members list if you so wish.  If you can’t see the ‘bcc’ field, when you open a message, go to ‘View’ and then choose ‘All headers’.

Mobilise by hot issues – not philosophy

  • Most people have at least one issue they feel strongly about and on which they will take action – find out what it is and then categorise people by interests.  People are not mobilised by philosophy or worldview.  Worldview is the glue that holds together the leaders of different causes, but the average person is not motivated by worldview.  They react to hot issues.  Hot means there must be an urgency – explain why they need to act now.  Do this by explaining threats and opportunities – with results of reacting and not reacting.

Do your homework

  • Your mobilisation will work only once if you are lazy and do bad research.  Otherwise – you loose credibility.  Check out source documents if the issue is important and sending to a big list.  Phone experts in the field.  Check the facts with those you criticise.  Look on web sites and search engines.
  • Give your sources (by web link if possible) to protect yourself and provide additional information for those interested.
  • If you don’t do homework, you may also end up wasting peoples time or worse attacking an innocent party or exaggerating claims.

Building online networks

Collect the email addresses of people interested in different subjects and store their addresses in different folders.  Forward them anything interesting on the subject.  In this way, you build relationship and credibility.

  • Phone people occasionally to get to know them and especially when there are very urgent issues.
  • The next stage is to turn your interest group into a bulk mailing list or email group.  Go to <www.yahoogroups.com>.  This is quite a hassle to set up – but work the effort in the long term as it will save time in managing your mailing list and allow people to subscribe and unsubscribe themselves.  Also, if you choose, you can allow any member to send information to the group – this increasing community.
  • Similar strategies can be used with Facebook pages.
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