The problem of crowd-sourcing campaigns

I’ve written previously about a very successful grassroots campaign – Save VCA – and how it brought together a diverse group of people. A key element to the success of this campaign has been its coordination at an early stage.

There is a very interesting discussion about the No Clean Feed movement by Mark over at Larvatus Prodeo, discussing the limitations of the campaign so far:

It’s a bit of a case study on the limitations, as well as the benefits, of crowdsourced campaigning.

Alex Schlotzer, an ACTU online campaign officer and senior Greens Party member has a good analysis of the No Clean Feed movement to date:

The kind of fundamentals a campaign needs to sort out before launching into the next wave of protest emails; electronic petitions and rallies.

This isn’t about a brand, marketing, customers or what halo strategy should be employed; this is about cold, hard politics. It’s about finding the right kinds of messages and ensuring a focussed, evolving and sustained dialogue with Australians so they either get on board and help make their marginal MPs paranoid and/or they change their vote.  (The first is probably easier to do since an election makes all MPs a little paranoid at the best of times.)

Then there has to be a coordinated effort of engaging and organising concerned Australians through a combination of online and off-line methods. What happens online and off-line should compliment each other.  It is truly amazing that for so-called Internet geeks and social media professionals that what matters politically is totally ignored in favour of the fancy, pretty approach and more banging on (analysis some will call it) about the evils and flaws of Conroy’s Internet censorship regime.  A lot has to be done to make sure that the Government doesn’t use a victory in the next federal election, as fodder (read “mandate”) to push through with something that only serves to further erode and impinge on our civil liberties and human rights.

Who cares which of the 4 (to-date) anti-internet-censorship website looks the best or is the most plugged in to web2.0 or SM, when the basics for any political campaign are forgotten at best and completely ignored at worst.

So before the Australian Interwebs embarks on its next un-coordinated and ill-conceived round of “campaigning” with poorly timed rallies, can there first be a single coordinating group formed, with a single focussed message and a real plan for political action?

I’ve seen today that Electronic Frontiers Australia, the online liberties group, have appointed Peter Black as a campaign manager for the No Clean Feed campaign (which will be getting a name change soon).

Peter Black is a lecturer and lawyer from Queensland. I wish him well, and hope that can turn the NCF movement into a organised, coordinated campaign.