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Phil Wolff

Hi, Mark. This is a classic case of confusing medium with message. A community is more complicated than just a list of phone numbers (or email addresses or what have you). It is, among other things, groups of people who share goals, values, and emotional connections with each other, who identify and have rapport with their institutions and their contacts. You usually need socialization processes (rites of passage); positive reinforcement (making it hard for people to make mistakes); identifiable people wearing hats for leadership, nurturing, educating, etc.,; and clear signaling of what is important.

One political action not resolving (the photo campaign) does not mean a failure of community. It suggests that this call to action was poorly crafted in that, while aligned with the communication strategy of the campaign, it did not connect strongly enough at that moment with those volunteers.

Then again, a 10% response rate is outstanding! National campaigns sometimes benefit from very large numbers; .001% of millions still produce squads of active volunteers for every rally or project. It is much different in small campaigns where you fight hard for every volunteer's heart and mind and time. Micha didn't ask enough people (at a 10% conversion rate) to get the 10 volunteers he wanted. Was the pool too small? not yet engaged to the point of leaving their computers? Did he need to ask each person personally vs. sending the request to a list? First responders know not to say "Hey somebody, call 911"; they're taught to point to someone in the crowd and say "You! Call 911! Now!".

Mark Finnern

Hi Phil, You are right, 10% is a high responds rate, so may be we techies are doing our part. Still it was not enough to energize the people behind open, transparent, grassroots politics. I guess it is my naiveté that hoped these things alone would carry more weight. It looked to me as if they did an honest campaign using these tools, and the result was 5%. Therefore to change politics is harder than I thought, Mark.

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