Why are social networks powerful tools for causes and campaigns? Many times, people begin to engage in activism only after they’ve been attracted by the fun stuff in a campaign — connecting with old friends and sharing photos, for example. When they witness others participating, they’ll be more likely to join the cause. With socializing as the primary draw, it’s become easier for organizers to attract more and more unlikely activists through social media.
But once a campaign reaches its critical mass, activists might think about moving to other platforms made with their needs — especially digital security — in mind. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter will remain standard fare for online activism. But the time is right for niche-oriented startups to create tools that can supplement these platforms. Here are a few worth investigating.
Similar to the social media aggregating service Storify, but with an activist bent, CrowdVoice spotlights all content on the web related to campaigns and protests. What’s different about it? Founder Esra’a al Shafei says “CrowdVoice is open and anyone is a contributor. For that reason, it ends up having much more diverse information from many more sources.”
If one online activist comes across a spare or one-sided post, he can easily supplement information. Furthermore, campaign participants can add anecdotes and first-hand experiences so that others can check in from afar.
CrowdVoice makes it easier for far-flung audiences to stay abreast of protests and demonstrations, but it also helps organizers coordinate and stay abreast of other activist movements.
“Off-the-Record” (OTR) software can be added to free open-source instant messaging platforms like Pidgin or Adium. On these platforms, you’re able to organize and manage different instant messaging accounts on one interface. When you then install OTR, your chats are encrypted and authenticated, so you can rest assured you’re talking to a friend.
Crabgrass is a free software made by the Riseup tech collective that provides secure tools for social organizing and group collaboration. It includes wikis, task files, file repositories and decision-making tools.
On its website, Crabgrass describes the software’s ability to create networks or coalitions with other independent groups, to generate customized pages similar to the Facebook events tool, and to manage and schedule meetings, assets, task lists and working documents. The United Nations Development Programme and members from the Camp for Climate Action are Crabgrass users.
Pidder is a private social network that allows you to remain anonymous, share only encrypted information and keep close track of your online identity – whether that identity is a pseudonym or not.
While it’s not realistic to expect anyone to use it as his primary social network, Pidder is a helpful tool to manage your information online. The Firefox add-onorganizes and encrypts your sensitive data, which you can then choose to share with other online services. It also logs information you’ve shared with external parties back into to your encrypted Pidder account.
From 9 – 12 April 2015 PAX and NAHNOO will organize a new version of the Activist Academy, a place where activists from different countries exchange, interact and work together for more effective and concrete action. The topic of this academy is going to be PUBLIC SPACE. Why is this an important topic to work on?
Coen Veerman (intern at the Activist Hive) has reviewed different sources of information regarding public space. For the whole article, see below.
The co-author of this document, Srdja Popovic, is also cofounder and key figure of the Serbian resistance movement “Otpor!”. Otpor had a huge contribution to helping topple dictator Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia in 2000. Popovic became member of the Serbian National Assembly for three years until CANVAS was created (Centre for Applied Nonviolent Actions and Strategies). With a transfer of strategic knowledge and tips on nonviolent resistance, in the form of books and workshops, Popovic and CANVAS support democratic nonviolent movements worldwide. Popovic also translated literature about nonviolent resistance, amongst others Gene Sharp’s work “From Dictatorship to Democracy”.
CANVAS has worked with the movement of the 6th April in Egypt and also with other nonviolent revolutionary movements in the Middle East. This manual, “Nonviolent Struggle, 50 Crucial Points”, has been translated into 16 languages and has been downloaded about 17.000 times during the protests in Iran in 2009.
for more information check www.everydayrebellion.net & http://www.canvasopedia.org/.
A new and fresh version of the Activist Academy is coming up! In April, together with Lebanese NGO NAHNOO, PAX will bring together activists to learn, connect and act on a very topical issue for activists: PUBLIC SPACE.
During the Activist Academy issues around the topic of public space will serve as a starting point for an exchange between activists from different countries. The goal is to work on concrete action, strengthen an international network of activists, foster inspiration and connection and learn about new tools and tactics for better and improved activism.
Stay updated to learn about our program (that is being developed as we speak). In the next weeks, a database with interesting articles and information will be made for activists interested in this subject.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates and don’t hesitate to get in touch!