What to expect in the field of digital organising in 2021
January 29, 2021
Generally speaking, we are going to see more and more digital organising in the upcoming year. Based on The State of Digital Organising in Europe report, we know that there is a significant gap between what campaigners think they should be doing in the field of digital organising to have the greatest impact, and what they actually do. If progressives follow their learnings and observations, we will see exciting new developments of digital organising.
Developing digital organising metrics
We are very familiar with social media statistics around reach and engagement, we know what MERA for tracking the health of our mailing list means, but we do not really know how to measure progress around digital organising. This is a longer-term effort and that’s why notably here we need reliable metrics that will show us if we are on the right track. If you are interested in being a part of the efforts to develop a list of activities and metrics, please join our community call.
Having tech tailored for organising
The tech we currently have was developed for campaigning managed from the center. Many groups are making incredible use of existing tools like google documents, Facebook groups, Whatsapp or Slack workspaces to use them for organising. Most of us still miss good tools for fully distributed activities like strategy process that includes thousands of people (and will be more extended that “Tell us what you think” survey that is very popular at the beginning of the year) or multi-functional tool for distributed event organising with an online component.
Adopting a mindset of letting go
In 2021 you should make more mistakes. Why on earth making more mistakes would make any sense for the success of digital organising? There are many reasons for doing that: recognising the learning process, appreciating ones who take risks, doing new stuff, having fun, broadening our horizons, loosening control. The last one seems to be the most important for strengthening our organising muscles. Probably we all, have countless times discussed how giving away an organisational brand for unlimited use to whoever will want to do sth with it, can do harm to the organisation’s reputation. Fortunately, the stories for grass-roots movements like Extinction Rebellion (read more about XR approach to organising), Black Lives Matter, Polish’s Women Strike, and many others are different. Whoever feels like, can speak as a member of these movements. The ability to let go of the control and make mistakes are intertwined. As activists, we like to think that we can control the social and political reality around us. This is what fuels our efforts for changing the world. As organisers, adopting the “letting go of the control” mindset will positively impact our distributed organising efforts and will invite more people into them.
In 2020 we observed intensified attention around work-life balance and self-care. These are good things. Although to move forward with digital organising we need to prioritize community-care over self-care. Community care is like the next level of self-care, the second actually resembles capitalistic values such as individualism and consumerism (there is a growing industry around self-care products and services). Community-care should be at the center of our digital organising work, which really will not happen if we do not prioritize people and their needs.
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