TON Newsletter - Oct 07, 2020

Welcome to Tectonica Organising Network’s twice-monthly newsletter! We work hard to curate and create the best content out there on progressive digital organising and share it with you, along with some updates on upcoming events and trainings, what we’ve been up to, and even a bit about what’s going on on the other side.

Featured Digital Organising Tools

Public Consultations with New Mode

Here at Tectonica, we strongly support people's participation in democratic processes through public consultations, and we love technology that makes that participation as easy as possible. There are lots of interesting crowdsourcing tools and methods out there, including New/Mode’s fantastic public consultation tool that seamlessly facilitates people's mobilisation to make it easier for them to participate in complex consultations. Check out their blog post about how use their tools to enact these kinds of consultations.


Featured Digital Organising Resources

Diving into the data: Organizing via text in 2020

The pandemic has compelled organisers to rely more heavily on digital tools than ever before. The number of texts that NationBuilder has seen since April 2020 has increased exponentially as text messaging has become an increasingly important tool for campaigns. NB looked at the data to determine the best time and day of the week to send text messages, the importance of segmenting your lists, and whether short or longer texts work better. You can read more about their findings here.

Campaign Emails 101: What do I need to know?

Emails are an important part of any campaign and can be a highly effective tool in connecting to supporters. This blog post from Lines to Take discusses what you can do to improve your email deliverability and reputation, the (un)importance of list size and sunsetting, and understanding key email metrics to help you make the most of your email communications.

Register to Vote

This resource by National Voter Registration Day helps voters find their voter registration deadlines by state, voting times and locations, whether or not you’re eligible to register, and more. It also allows you to sign up for email and SMS reminders so you have all the up-to-date information about your voting place and ballot information.

New Facebook Political Ad Policy for Election Week 2020- Now With Updates

Confused about Facebook’s new political ad policy for election week? Beth Becker from Becker Digital Strategies breaks down what’s allowed and what’s not and how to make sure you get the most out of your ads under the new rules.

What We’ve Been Up To

Kansas Action for Children

We’re proud to have partnered with Kansas Action for Children to redesign their website using NationBuilder’s Advocacy theme to structure the site to prioritise their goals of coalition building and cultivating supporter power. Read more about the project here.

Meet Tectonica’s Team: Alonso Hernández

Tectonica is lucky to have one of the best teams on the planet. To help you get to know the amazing folks that make up our team, we'll be periodically sharing interviews with different team members. Check out our first interview with Alonso Hernandez, our Political Technology Specialist, where he shares his motivations for doing this work, and why he thinks digital organising is crucial to powering progressive movements all over the world.

Upcoming Trainings & Events

Nonprofit Technology Virtual Summit - 2020, October 14, 2020, Online

This summit will convene nonprofit staff and leaders to explore how to leverage technology to increase staff capacity and scale their mission’s impact. Topics to be discussed include data security and management, marketing automation and digital marketing technologies, email and social media tools, CRM systems, and more.

What We're Reading

The Supply of Disinformation Will Soon Be Infinite, by Renée DiResta, 20 September 2020, the Atlantic

Biden's once maligned digital operation raises big money by embodying candidate, by Dan Merica, 21 September 2020, CNN

Facebook's long-awaited oversight board to launch before US election, by Julia Carrie Wong, 24 September 2020, the Guardian

The technology that powers the 2020 campaigns, explained, by Tate Ryan-Mosley, 28 September 2020, MIT Technology Review

Snapchat has helped 1 million users register to vote, a possible boon to Democrats, by Dylan Byers, 1 October 2020, NBC News

What We’re Watching

The Social Dilemma

Tectonica’s Take:
While the focus of The Social Dilemma is more on the negative impact of social media on individuals and communities, the documentary exploration also has important insights from key players in the industry into how the underlying structure of today’s social media platforms and their very business models are destructive to political and civic engagement and discourse. Moving beyond the well-known saying, “if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product”, the documentary also shows social media are optimised through design and algorithms to maximise the time and attention it can get from users, as well as influence other small regular changes in behavior, in order to ensure to advertisers the most predictability: It’s trading “human features at scale through data”. The documentary does an excellent job explaining these concepts in real world terms through example (although sometimes misses the mark with a degree of exaggeration and oversimplification), and goes on to show the impact on families, children, relationships, mental health, and politics. We’d love to see a sequel some day that dives deeper on how social media is inspiring a politics of fear, polarisation, and disengagement.


Policing the digital frontiers: Is India weaponizing technology to silence civil society?, by Ayesha Khan, 3 October 2020, Global Voices


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