This is my last day of the “ Days in the life...” piece for Google Women in Technology, and I’m contemplating what I want to write about. Today’s to-do list is a large mix of things, from responding to emails, writing and conference calls with existing partners. As I’ve stated in the past posts, technology is not a silver bullet. It will not fulfill our most basic needs, but it will certainly advance our activists’ capacity to shape public opinion, plan actions, protect individuals at risk, and reduce the barriers for the everyday person to know, care, and help. What did I learn about technology’s capacity through my own work? I think I will take this time to talk a bit about the lessons learned, what I believe digital technologies can do for our movement, and what I see happening in Survivors Connect’s future.
I think the struggle for all organizations, no matter what the issue is, will be to find a balance between conveying our cause in an accurate and nuanced way, while being immediately understood and accessible to the everyday person. This balance is critical, so with any product/campaign material that an organization creates, you have to ask, “Will this advance our cause?” One way to do it is run the material by your friends and family who aren’t as involved in the issue as you. See how they view it. Share the material with other experts, how do they view it? Do some testing with your material. Once you’ve created a great video or other sharable content for your campaign, think about how it will help activists (old and new) move up the ladder of engagement. These materials are intended to compel people to act immediately, meaning they need to be short, succinct and sweet. But we all know socio-economic issues are much more complicated than that. So consider, after someone has joined, how will you foster them into expert activists? Also, consider co-creating materials with others. I am a huge fan of collaborative projects. I would like to see issue-based organizations co-develop videos, infographics, campaigns and more so that I as a follower get the feeling of some consensus among like-minded groups.
The Internet and various other technologies are providing people with an open space to share and grieve about anything. When a collective begins to do it, it can make some serious noise. As organizations that have resources and capacity to create content, we need to be mindful of the design, message and range of possible outcomes. In the world of anti-gender based violence activism, there are so many types and the solutions aren’t always so clear either. Here is our opportunity democratize knowledge by ensuring that experts like us do justice to the issue while using modern-day tools. Combining the two will be a potent mixture that will give the worst human rights abusers of the world reason to fear.