“People Power & Why Digital Communities Are Our Gateway To Freedom…”
*(20 Minutes reading + videos & letters) – Grab a cup of tea.
Hey! On Tuesday March 18, 2014 – an intertwined network of social media users hailing from Sydney, Byron Bay, Canberra and beyond supported a letter I wrote to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.
*For those who have felt the Love Your Mother blog posts are too LONG - My Nana agrees. I pledge to do my best to keep the "Waffle" to a minimum. I am not a "blogger." I've written a couple of unsuccessful love letters in my day, that's about it. I'm glad I have finally generated some traction with my heart pieces ! Blog posts in future will be short and sharp, however this is the full story :)
This blog platform was created and called Love Your Mother to post the letter so others could read the thoughts of my friends and I on how SMH “blatantly ignored” printing a story on a grassroots nationwide event – The March In March. In a matter of hours the letter became a viral piece of content that spread to all corners of the world. 5 days later the letter had been viewed 100,000 times. Keep in mind this was not a gangam style video clip or Charlie bit my finger from Youtube. This was a letter to a newspaper. In my mind, such letters get scrumpled into mini basketballs and aimed at the nearest recycling bin.
Media Watch – Coverage of Letter #1: http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3970592.htm
Read our 2nd community response to Sydney Morning Herald HERE 🙂
Join the Love Your Mother Facebook Team to join this conversation!
We got lucky, sure. The paper neglected to report on an event it later said it should have. We pounced on this golden opportunity – but let’s be clear… Our luck ended the moment the Editors signed off and the paper went to print. From then on the success came from people power. Digital People Power. Through our clicktivism, online banter and dinner table conversations we gave the letter a voice. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter & Instagram played a big role – but it was the decision of people to use platforms selflessly and intelligently that blossomed a stunning outcome. We saw the idea of Digital People Power at it’s finest. Social media being used for social causes – not to fuel ego and individual ambition.
By Friday afternoon – respected journalist Jacqueline Maley responded on the SMH website. This story was printed in Saturday’s newspaper. On Monday night ABC television show Media Watch featured the letter and recognised the 90,000 people who had participated in the campaign. For two weeks I was in constant communication with people in a digital sense. Hundreds of beautiful folk were engaged with what had happened – feeling connected to the idea that we had unlocked a small door to freedom. We were using Social Media and our smarts to serve our community.
- March In March Letter #1 can be read HERE.
- Jacqueline Maley’s article can be read HERE.
- Media Watch Coverage: http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3970592.htm
- (#1 to read) 2nd Response to Sydney Morning Herald Coverage can be read HERE
- Digital People Power & The Road To Freedom Blog Post
There is no disputing the problems or changes that Social Media is causing in our lives. I hear many say it has “destabilised” us and our relationships. The digital world has shifted our focus away from the faces of the ones we love to our smartphones. In a physical sense It’s disconnecting us from our friends, family and the world passing by. I agree. I’m as guilty as anyone. But it’s my lack of self control, not my smartphone’s fault. There is deserved concern for our children who are learning to grow with a gadget in hand each small step of the way. It’s vital communities acknowledge this and create a balanced world for our kids so they know it’s ok to Look Up – But for us more experienced campaigners who remember what life was like before iPhones were super glued to our hands – far more important at this point in time is an idea that the digital realm is our road to freedom. It’s a phenomenon at our disposal that we can harness to create change. This needs to be the focus. 2.4 Billion people currently have access to the internet and are intertwined in some way. Imagine if we worked collectively to create change intelligently.
The potential of social networking is hard for many to fathom. We’ve been thrown a lifeline by the digi-gods. If we are intelligent we can do great things. We have a real chance. Imagine what the likes of John Lennon and Gandhi would be thinking. A tool to communicate with billions with a simple… click.
A Global Piece of Content. 103,500 views across 141 countries.
For a bit of fun – Imagine if Gandhi had been shown the graphics below in the 1940s, knowing full well he had all modern day digital tools and platforms at his disposal – for free. There is no doubt these tools would play a major role in his strategy in the way he communicated his messages in addition to books and public speeches.
Without any such powers Gandhi was relentless in his pursuit of truth, peace an love.
If we create a mutual understanding that change is made little step by little step, one by one – then there is no arguing… We each have an incredibly powerful part to play.
Analytics of the Love Your Mother Blog
This following story is a visual re-telling of how one great community success unfolded over a couple of days through clicks and conversations reaching these 141 countries.
If you have a spare 15 minutes more to see a play by play – read on. If you don’t – then come back later and give it some time. Please share it with those who might appreciate it. Grab a cup of tea, a few Tim Tams and read on good people!
*This story is NOT one of Australia Vs Tony Abbott. Labor/Greens/Lefties Vs Liberal. It is about the success of a community and digital people to swipe aside cynicism, working together for truth - amid a clouded political backdrop that for many - was what the March In March represented.
*Imagine the Narration by Morgan Freeman 🙂
“Once upon a time there was an event in Australia called the March In March. It occurred nationwide on Sunday, March 16. 20,000 people marched in Sydney that day to voice their dissatisfaction with the Tony Abbott government over certain policies effecting humanity and the environment...”
Friday March 14
Call To Arms – I Saw Great Value In The “Mission” of March In March
Sunday March 16
BACKYARD CRAFTS, MUSIC + A FISH & A MERMAID FROM THE GB REEF
Monday, March 17
Platform: iPhone & iMessage
A trusted newspaper – the Sydney Morning Herald – did not print a word or image about the March In March. A text among friends is all it took. Instant communication, the power of ideas the beauty of teamwork and people empowering eachother.
Tuesday, March 18
THE LETTER, THE BLOG & THE POWER OF FACEBOOK
Platform: WordPress Blog, Facebook
On Monday night we finished the letter to SMH. The Love Your Mother blog was created. The letter It came from the heart, it made me laugh and I was proud to share it with the friends who had attended the March with me. Enter, Facebook….
Read Letter #1 HERE.*38 Shares, 99 Likes, 20 Comments
Tuesday, March 18
Twitter Account Activated
Wednesday, March 19
Read by 25,000 PEOPLE in 24 HOURS – Quest for “truth!”
Platform: Facebook, Twitter
In the space of 24 hours my Facebook network pushed the letter around the world. I was sitting at the Leichardt library the on Wednesday morning when my old uni pal Mick gave me a buzz to see how I was travelling. He said “Mate it’s been shared 10,000 times on Facebook!” #peoplepower #humansrule!
At this point It dawned on me – we had a powerful piece of content at our disposal. I formed a strategy – to basically connect with as many people as possible. Create channels to send the letter to friends and family in order to give it the best chance at life I could 🙂
*13 Shares, 91 Likes, 10 Comments
Facebook POST - "The real challenge is taking these March In March Australia 2014 conversations offline - with people face to face, in our homes, at work, dinner tables, pubs - wherever. Let's keep stepping it up to these Cynics who sit at their macbooks stalling the vibe, but more importantly let's start empowering each other to do great things, to speak up and speak out - regardless of whether you dig Abbott, Shorten, Howard or Beazley. #MarchInMarch"
Emails with SMH Editor Sends Response.
I wanted to engage the Sydney Morning Herald early in the week. I wanted them to be clear that this was not a campaign of “hate” like the March In March had been labelled. This was a peaceful campaign. We simply wanted truth and a major newspaper to reconsider the idea of what was newsworthy.
Critical thinking: A number of people brought to my attention that Gina Rinehart was the largest shareholder in Fairfax. It was interesting to think of the potential relationships between owners, editors, journalists and audiences. Read the Gina Article Here
Before the March took place i remember reading a quote by Tony Abbott where he said St Pats day was the only March taking place on the 16th. It made me question if Mr Abbott’s team had read the events mission statement:
"A peaceful, non-partisan citizens’ march and rally at Federal Parliament to protest against the current government’s policy decisions that are against the common good of our nation. This signifies the people’s vote of no confidence in policies of the government that go against common principles of humanity, decency, fairness social justice and equity, democratic governance, responsible global citizenship and conserving our natural heritage."
Abbott’s words lacked compassion, intelligence and could be described as cynical.
Reading the mission statement for this event was inspiring for me. On reflection I can only describe my attendance at the march as an act of support for my government. I was a citizen peacefully voicing concern for policies effecting human equality and the environment.
Tweeting Our Prime Minister
The grapevine informed me that Twitter was a powerful platform for creating conversation. I endeavoured to strike up a chat with the Prime Minister with my new account.
I tweeted PM Abbott a link to the blog highlighting that 75,000 + had viewed it – and that perhaps his dismissal – like the SMH’s – should be reconsidered.
Not long after my tweets to the PM my account was suspended.
Comments on the Love Your Mother Blog Post.
I had never considered creating a blog. For years I've been hearing of their value - however I never quite understood. Within minutes I had created the platform, named it (Love Your Mother) - themed it ("Explorations into truths, communities and consciousness") and posted the letter. The first post received over 300 comments in a couple of days. My eyes were suddenly opened to a new platform. WordPress. The beauty of wordpress is there is a higher degree of thought and intelligence in the conversation. The comments came from 300 other bloggers.
LATE NIGHT IDEAS – Tweeting with Russell Brand
I’d been speaking with my buddies Sless & Colbey just days before the March In March about the role that high profile guys like Russell Brand can play in social change. I thought I’d try my luck striking up a yarn – knowing full well his passion for truth. Brand retweeted me to 7.6 Million Followers.
The real success story was that my tweet received 58 retweets and favourited 50 times by community members in Australia. We were starting to see conversations everywhere.Watch him speak & sing at the March In March HERE.
Personal support from friends was incredible
Each day more and more people joined in our conversation. The more people who contacted me the more I began to value the idea of reaching “1 more person.”
Imagine if 1 extra person felt some kind of connection, hope, inspiration from the story.
This idea was the nourishment and peace that replaced my sleep for close to two weeks.
The Value Of Empowering Others
A morning text message from an old Canberra Uni mate hit me straight in the heart. Truth. Conversation. Respect. The Future.
Platform: iPhone & iMessage
#PatienceIsAVirtue but I was hoping to receive a response fast to keep the story ticking. In hindsight I appreciate Darren Goodsir had a lot on his plate as Editor - and our community campaign was not something they could have planned for.
Online Twitter Rally
"Friends - join in our Twitter adventure. We need to spark Conversation. Like all good Q & A Shows you need a balanced conversation. Dave Hughes, please stand up! Some folk to tweet could be: @TonyJones_qanda, @PeterFray, @ABCMediaWatch, @wendy_harmer, @nick_xenophon@turnbullmalcolm, @d_hughesy, @tanya_plibersek, @cassandragoldie, @triplejHack, @KathViner, @JasonClareMP"
*Dozens of friends use their twitter to message these people. This was a strong show of support. Whether Tony Jones read their tweet isn’t the point. We gave ourselves a chance by raising our voices with the tools we had.
Email from SMH Editor-in-Chief
Views still rising, vibe is strong. humans rule!
The letter had been seen 84,999 more times than originally intended. That was a celebration of the spirit of community and people…..
Thursday, 10pm till Sunrise
The Final Frontier – We could see the light!
In a weary state I was surprised by the email from the SMH above. At the time I felt we had warranted a swift reply. Little did we know a response was on the way. I did a final push late on Thursday to keep the story circulating. If we could reach one more set of eyes – it was worth all of the effort.
Email from Sydney Morning Herald. Jackpot!
Platform: Facebook & Twitter
Our story was international 90,000 times in countries such as Vietnam, France, China, Saudi Arabia & China and an official printed article was on the way!
Seconds later… My pal Sless shared the story on Facebook. He must have stumbled upon the SMH Homepage. It was a spin out to see personal reference – a small victory.
Read it here: http://bit.ly/1h3OSaG
Sydney Morning Herald posted the story on their Facebook.
View the SMHs’ FB post about Jacqueline Maley’s response HERE
Support from our Facebook Mob
I asked people to share their thoughts on the article. Read my FB post here.
From FB Post - "In regards to the piece published today by Jacqueline Maley on the SMH website there has been plenty of love and high fives flowing through cyberspace as it was a recognition of 5 days of teamwork. There has however been mixed opinions on the content, purpose and depth of the article. Please have a read and comment any thoughts you might have. Let's start a conversation. Don't be afraid to use your voice #MarchInMarch"
I had dinner with my Dad and his colleagues that night. I received dozens of texts and calls of congratulations. It was a community effort to get this result. I had slept around 6 hours in 3-4 days. I was too tired to read the article at that point but posted a moment of pride and happiness from the dinner table 🙂
SMH Team Tweet the article – Q & A Join in the discussion.
Critical Thinking: Twitter is a powerful news source for many people. In Australia it has been slow to take off - we don't quite grasp it's power, however it is a powerful tool when used to its full effect.
Saturday, March 22
9am – I went to the Annandale Shops in my PJs to buy the Paper.
Platform: Mother Earth + my two feet.
I rolled out of bed after my first proper sleep in a week (5 Hours). I raced up to the newsagent. I was shocked when asked for $3.20. The Saturday SMH was thicker than I remembered. We made it with full colour. It was tangible proof of digital people power.
I posted on FB asking the community to voice opinions on the article
Through the words of Mr Bragg, conversation and observations It was clear. We need to empower ourselves and encourage those around us to trust in the idea of speaking up. I wanted to encourage our community to voice their opinions in a digital setting. To train our brains not to be afraid of being wrong – or cut down for expressing ideas – especially if they are filled with positive intentions. Read post here.
*34 Shares, 90 Likes, 40 Comments
I gathered comments from friends and family from all walks of life re Maley’s article. There we hundreds – from strangers, old friends, new friends, family etc. It was empowering to see the energy each person piled into their peaceful and thoughtful responses.
Sunday, March 23
Platform: Notebook, Pencil & Instagram
The main criticism of the article was clear – once again the paper did not recognise people who had marched in march reasons of Love. Maley’s response was thoughtful, respectful and we were fortunate to have one at all – but nearly is not good enough. Our many reasons for Marching the streets were described by the paper as “grab-bag issues.” I saw real danger in this sentiment. In my mind – Newspapers like the SMH are the benchmark for upholding thoughtful use of language – and although it was an innocent remark, the truth is – it was cynicial.
Please consider what I am saying here carefully. For this moment pretend I was attending the light the dark event which held on February 23rd. ***A national newspaper has described my marching – in a cynical manner. Like thousands of others, my motives for attending the march were to encourage the government to consider ideas of love, care, compassion, equality, peace and happiness. The state of our environment should never be slapped with a “Grab-bag issue” tag – nor should the safety of Asylum Seekers or the equality of minority groups.
Monday, March 24
Treasuring the words of Michael Leunig I’d heard a few weeks earlier at Golden Plains festival, I slept outside under the stars on Sunday night and on into monday morning. It’d been a sleepless week. I was honouring the idea of connecting with the mother and setup with a doona on top of the grass looking up to the eyes of the old southern cross.
The identity of the southern cross has been torn apart since the boom of music festivals and tattoo guns. It’s something we need to reclaim. It is the eyes of a nation. It has witnessed each day in the past 60,000. It watches over this country with love.
The Ego is rife online. The idea of digital identity is very real and raw. However for seven days I observed people selflessly giving a piece of themselves by sharing the story.
Writing the response to Maley’s article – I realised again how incredible the human spirit is but this time in a way I’d never seen. I saw the power of people, love and intelligence through the digital lens and a community engaged in conscious clicktivism – morphing together as the Digital People Power concept.
DELETING THE RESPONSE TO THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
I had worked for about 15 hours trying to write a clear and concise response.
After talking with a few friends I suddenly realised I’d lost clarity on our community mission. I could see a lot of ego in the writing of the 2nd letter. I could see patterns of needlessly adding personal reflection like I was sydney’s confucius and humour like I was the next Louis CK. I ended up deleting the word doc and started fresh thanks to truthful feedback from mates.
Media Watch recognises our efforts!
Media Watch is a brilliant show. It is truth. Our community was recognised. It was a moment to celebrate our work being honoured on keystone Australian television show.
Tuesday, March 26
Re-written Letter #2 Sent to Friends & Family
On Tuesday I had completed the 2nd letter – Attempt 2. I sent it of to a group of my closest kindest friends to get feedback. I ended up cutting the letter in half again. I was completely proud – and greatful that a dozen people were willing to give their time on a work day to spent reading, punctuating and suggesting changes. We had penned an absolute gem.
Platform: Snapchat iPhone App
On Tuesday Afternoon I hopped in my car to meet a friend for coffee. It dawned on me that I hadn’t listened to music for 4 days. I put on a mix CD and a song by Perth band Pond came on as I drove over the Anzac Bridge. The energy hit me like an electric shock – I felt like I was a young kid from 1981 who had never seen live music and accidentally stumbled into an ACDC concert. Listen HERE
Sydney Morning Herald Comments Section Was Closed
Platform: Sydney Morning Herald Website
Jacqueline Maley’s article became a viral piece of content in its own right.
It generated hundreds of comments on the the SMH website, shared 4,800 times on Facebook and tweeted 625 times. This story would never have been written if it had not been for digital people power.
Wednesday March 26
Letter #2 Launch Day
The big day had arrived. I had hoped to construct a response that represented all 100,000 of our digital people as best i could. A post by my friend Gino was all I needed to upload the words for Love Your Mother blog post #2.
Letter #2 – the response to the Sydney Morning Herald article was shared
Read it HERE
At this point in time – I understood that my personal Facebook network had supported the campaign for 7 days. Digital People Power was still fighting on – but we needed support to come from other places to re-ignite us. For 7 days I had been talking with the March In March organisers behind the scenes. This campaign presented incredible PR content for them. The success was their chance to leverage and reach a MUCH wider audience. To show a human side to the March not based upon hate to Tony Abbott.
The March In March Facebook page already had 100,000 likes. Very solid!
To show you the potential of what could have been – from my 1000 friends we had reached 100,000 people around the world. Imagine then if we had started with a base of 100,000 people. Probability, social media mathematic algorithms and common sense would tell you this story would have hit 1,000,000 sets of eyes.
The March organisers decided to ignore our community campaign as they questioned my intentions. For lack of a better description, they thought I was a conspiracy theory.
Just like the mainstream media had ignored the march, they ignored 100,000 of you – who had lobbied for truth and community.
I plan on writing an honest story before the next March in May about what happened - But for this moment - let's celebrate this achievement of digital people power. This 2nd letter was viewed 3,5000 times. Yes - a lot less than the first.. But if you value the idea of 1, 2, 3 & 4.. then that in itself is incredible.
Thursday, March 27
PUSHING FOR OUR LEUNIG MOMENT
I had full faith if the March In March picked up the story and deployed the Social Media strategy i had sent them – that we would have seen a 2nd story in the Sydney Morning Herald. The digi-gods had been on our side up until this point. I posted Leunig content on Instagram and Facebook over the next 2 days to engage in a new and peaceful way.
Saturday March 29
Community Conversation & Support
Monday March 31, 2014
The End of March & The Road To Freedom
After 2 weeks of sharing this story It was time to look ahead. We had pushed this 2nd letter to 3000 people. There was nothing left to say. We had done an incredible thing. From the fairy dust of an idea to write a letter – we had spawned conversations around the world. At a guess – I would say there would have been 300,000 unique online interactions across all platforms – that’s not counting real world conversation.
The Analytics of a Global Piece of Content. 103,500 views across 141 countries.
There are a handful of VERY exciting projects that have also emerged out of our community campaign. Please get in touch if you have any ideas - or want to involve yourself in any way. All people and all energy is valuable.
A Love Your Mother platform has been created after so much beautiful feedback. We have a platform to discuss ideas. It’s a shared space – all are welcome. As yet there is no plan in mind. It will be an organic platform. If you have any area of our community, truth or consciousness you would like to explore – please get in touch. Empower your voice to change a conversation. Please join, bring your friends and let’s educate each other
People Power & Why Digital Communities Are Our Gateway To Freedom – SUMMARY
Love Your Mother – She is the ground under your feet.
- Love Your Mother Letter #1 can be read HERE.
- Jacqueline Maley’s article can be read HERE.
- Media Watch story can be seen HERE.
- Love Your Mother Letter #2 can be read HERE.
- Digital People Power & The Road To Freedom Blog Post
Critical Thinking: Scott Ludlum's speech was an incredible example of digital content. It spoke truth and was perfectly executed to be shared on digital platforms. Many have said this video was the main factor in him winning a Senate seat in the April WA election. Platform: YouTube