Interact with the Agenda: Rethinking Audience

The innovative agenda for WOC11 is grounded in conversations about the big themes in our space. You can read the entire agenda outline here.

In the community spirit of Web of Change, we're seeding these conversations now, before the event begins, and with members of our community who can't make it to Hollyhock this year.

This week's topic: Rethinking Audience. Here's what the Fellows had to say:

Theme: Rethinking Audience

Broadening the Choir

We need to widen the funnel, pull in people other the traditional advocates.  If we need to activate 25% of the country to move the needle on our issues, why are we messaging to 2%?

— Mike Norman, SoChange, WOC 2011 Fellow

What I dont see in the progressive movement is an acknowledgement of what people are actually watching and paying attention to.  If we want to change minds and opinions on everything from the environment to equality to economic narratives, then we actually have to reach people where they are.

— Rashad Robinson, Color of Change, WOC 2011 Fellow

Every organization I would talk to all agreed that the thing that they most needed to do was reach new people outside of their bubble.  But everything they were doing was meant to mobilize their existing base.  The way you speak to your already-engaged members is very different than the way you would speak to new members.

— Sean Devlin, Troothfool Communications, WOC 2011 Participant

Narrowing the Choir

We are failing at relationship-building online.  We’re not talking to people in a consumer-centric way and we’re treating everybody like everybody. We can create strong ties online, but it might mean prioritizing focusing on and stewarding one segment -- your tribe -- and throwing out 80% of people on your list. It’s a gutsy strategy that requires long-term vision rather than short-term gain.

— Alia McKee, Sea Change Strategies, WOC 2011 Fellow

It's Hard Out There For An Audience

I'm concerned with audience exhaustion, in the immigration space in particular.  Every day somebody is asking for something.  We need to map out the landscape and fine tune roles so we're not stepping over each other, exhausting people.

— Mónica Novoa, Colorlines, WOC 2011 Fellow

Most people are not ready to become full-on in-depth members of 20 different organizations. They can't muster the passion for 20 different causes.  Maybe two to three causes or three to four organizations.

— Clint O’Brien, Care2, WOC 2011 Participant

A lot has been done to provide access for everyday people to create campaigns online. But there's a tension there. If everyone can start a campaign, how are we ensuring that it's being framed correctly?  How do we leverage this energy for movement and community building?  How are we not being ambulance chasers?

— Rashad Robinson, Color of Change, WOC 2011 Fellow

Now your turn: what do you think? How should we, as a sector, rethink audience? How could we do better? Who are we reaching well and who are we missing?

Add your voice in the comments (and share your thoughts on Access, too):