Power of the Internet
From Networked Advocacy
Networks are able to communicate with more people, more often, in new ways through online tools like blogs and Facebook. Join discussions about using each of these tools for advocacy and campaigning below. You'll also find lots of exciting examples of how to use each tool well. *Find tips for getting started with various online tools on the Netcentric Campaigns website.
- Instant messaging and Skype
- Tags and social bookmarking
- Social and professional networking
- Building a "networked" website
- Online training
Do it well
Many online tools supporting networks are free and relatively easy to use. However it’s important to be aware of start up costs. Some advice and common pitfalls:
- Tool must support your organizational mission. Although many tools are hot and exciting, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily right for your work. Is your organization able to produce frequent and informal content for a blog? Does it want to? Does it want to open conversation around an issue?
- It takes time to figure things out. Even the most excited supporters of new tools often need a good amount of time to research platforms, strategies and costs. Plan sufficient time to do this well.
- It takes time to achieve momentum. Expect to spend time refining your voice, honing your strategy, promoting the resource, etc. And be sure that others within your organization or network have realistic expectations as well.
- Make sure you have sufficient organizational/network support. It takes more than a motivated communications or policy officer to start and maintain a new tool. Are the right people on board? What changes need to happen within the organization to ensure sufficient support?
- Know the balance between openness and control. Many tools involve constituents in new and exciting ways. Let them take charge where appropriate. But do know when to step in and keep things on track.
- With openness comes some vulnerability.
- Know and build in your privacy options.
- Know what success looks like, and monitor and evaluate your efforts accordingly. Be realistic. Remember, new tools and strategies must prove their worth to both you and others within your network.