For a lot of us, 2017 has been a year of getting organized to change things for the better. And a lot of that effort is supported and propelled by social media where we’ve seen many localized political marches coordinated to large degree on Twitter and Facebook.
Starting a political action group doesn’t always have to mean marching or even meeting face to face, though. Merely meeting online to discuss issues and aim toward common political goals can be effective. The challenge is that these groups can sometimes fall apart once the initial emotional connection fades.
Groups are more vulnerable than ever to losing steam and burnout in these times of Outrage of the Day. People move on to the next big issue fast.
If you fear your group’s dying out, or you just want to head off that outcome before it comes for your group, there are tried and true ways to keep your own political group active.
Make Political Activities Fun
While marches like the Women’s March earlier this year took place for serious purposes, many people had fun participating. The New Yorker captured countless images of this mood, particularly in the satiric and snarky political signs made to help demonstrate political points. And, of course, who will ever forget the pussy hats?
It’s proven that political satire can make as much of an impact as being serious. In fact, it can persuade a lot of people to see a point more clearly.
Fun and humor are great ways to keep your own online political action group going. Keeping activities lighthearted helps keep people energized and entertained. With so much political satire on TV, it’s ok to have a little fun with serious political subjects.
Code Pink has used fun, satire and street theatre to make their political messages clear for over 15 years. Now that’s longevity!
Set Inspiring Goals
To keep any political cause alive, you have to set goals requiring a lot of time to reach. Far-reaching goals are the inspiration, while short-term objectives provide focus, frequent feedback and successes to celebrate.
But how to track progress against those long-term goals from individual members who may be spread out across the state, country or even globe? Keep checking in to see what each member is doing in their local community to achieve the larger objective. Share successes with the whole group and provide support when disappointments strike (as they inevitably will).
All it takes is reviewing a Cliffs Notes version of what all political groups do to remind you it requires patience to enact real social change.
When it’s an online group meeting, make an extra effort to recognize what everyone’s doing individually so they feel appreciated, recognized and inspired.
Online groups risk becoming impersonal, so it pays to meet up in person on occasion. Thankfully, in the age of better technology, you can almost mimic the feel of meeting face-to-face.
What’s most important in an online political action group is going the extra mile to build strong bonds. By sharing pictures of political events you attend (as well as personal stories), you can create a sense of connectedness and shared experience.
Social media is especially effective for this work because of the real-time nature of the communication. Private group tools like Slack also create a place for sharing while keeping the space safe for everyone.
How to be memorable? Be unique. Recent statistics show over 4,000 connected political action committees exist in the United States. These PACs meet online frequently to organize events, making online communities the true hub for political action and organizing. No doubt this is the future of activism, pushed along by evolving technology. Citizens are presented with more and more groups every day asking for their time, attention and money.
Because so many political groups exist, you need to create one that stands out from the others. How is your group different from others? Who does it appeal to specifically? Why your group and not another similar one? Focus on these differentiators and hook into them frequently. They are key to keeping your group engaged and to attracting more members. Communicate your group’s unique focus, qualities, and values in all you do. Yes, you’re “branding” your group!
Main image: CreateHerStock