Session Notes: Web 2.0 -- From Hype to Action

Presenters: Roz (New Organizing Institute) and Michael (EchoDitto)

What is Web 2.0?
Web 1.0 was the traditional media, broadcast, one to many model. Web 1.5, lot of feedback loops with discussion. Web 2.0 has many-to-many connections, with two-way conversations, changing the nature of organizations. What has shifted is the typical user experience -- people are now looking to people for their content.

Why is Web 2.0 is important for social change sector?

  1. influential: you can extend your reach to many.
  2. trusted: networks are more trusted through their constituents vs. organizations sending them messages.
  3. change in user experience: users are no longer just consumers of information but serious producers of content.
  4. lost opportunity: if we don't embrace it, we lose the chance to leverage millions that are in these networks.

What does an effective online organization look like, in the Web 2.0 era?

  • It's citizenship centric vs. organization centric. Find people where they are.
  • Organizations now support activity of their constituents, instead of controlling implementation of a pre-defined strategy.
  • Quick response time. React, reflect and respond.

What barriers do we face in our organization structures? And how do we solve them?

  • Basic problem: In top-down structures, getting the ideas from your constituents to the Executive Director is a major challenge.
     
  • Campaigner creates a report; organization posts it up; supporters criticize the report; campaigner is upset -- "Why are we giving opponents a platform on our own website?"
    • Do some moderating. Engage in Web 2.0.
    • Have a policy on moderation.
    • Trust in self moderation.
    • Prepare bullet-proof messaging.
    • Emphasizing some feedback over to others.
    • Prepare the campaigners.
    • Answer the question: why are we going 2.0? Do we really need to be?
  • An organization wants their supporters to think *this* using Web 2.0. They want it to look like 2.0, user-generated, but they're just pushing their own message in 1.0 style message.
    • Educate all parties involved.
    • Do a test case. Create small scale sucess.
    • Listen to the organizer.
    • Build internal champions.
    • Allow flexibility of the message.
  • Lack of understanding within an organization, from the staff.
    • Speak language of the non-Web 2.0 folks.
    • Get members motivated, and to send messages upwards.
    • Need bridge builders.
    • Role of catalyst, perhaps external moderators.
    • Redesigning the structure is the ultimate goal.
    • Carrot vs. stick -- point out the potential costs.
  • If you built it really well, they will come. Not adequate staffing of organizers to maintain the feedback loop.
    • Intervene early.
    • Shift in staff strategy.
    • Educate leadership (strategy not tactic).
    • Metaphors and translations that relate to organizational concerns.
    • Framing return on investment in relation to organization strategy.
    • Require an online *human* organizer.
    • Set realistic expectations.

Emerging Question

Why should an organization move to Web 2.0? Does it serve the ultimate mission of the organization?