January 13, 2010

Guest post over at Stronger Unions

Last November, I was asked to guest post over at Stronger Unions, about Creative Unions – a new project by Atosha McCaw and myself. The topic was the Creative Unions manifesto.

A point that I’d like to underline from my post is this one:

The thing that we noticed was that there was incredible variety in the professionalism of union campaigns, design and communications. While some unions hired professionals, others relied on organisers or communications officers to diverse tasks, ranging from updating websites, writing media releases, designing flyers or preparing policy briefings. Even unions that did demonstrate a high standard for one campaign, could see it drop for another. A near-ubiquitous characteristic of unions was a lack of effective use of new media and social networks.

Atosha has written about this as well:

This multidisciplinary approach has succeeded in alienating the best writers, designers, media specialists, film makers and photographers from choosing a career in the trade union movement, and choose the union movement they would if the opportunities existed. You only have to look at the “green” movement to see how successful they have been in attracting quality designers and writers. They do this by offering specialist positions and giving opportunities to grow in careers that make a difference.

There is an increasing number of unions innovating with online campaigning. Much of this is driven by the dramatic success of the Obama campaign, but also (as noted above) from the environment movement.

Despite this, there is still a prevalent view that social media is “optional”. I disagree. With over 90% of Australians accessing the internet from home, having quality, well designed, well written union websites is more important than ever.

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