PSAC Mobilizing Members

These reference notes are for the participants of the November 22nd PSAC Workshop. Enjoy!

The menu of methods

Models of communication

  • One to one: Email, SMS, Phone call, Skype, webcams
  • One to many: Youtube, Mailing lists, Blogs, Voice Broadcasts, streaming video
  • Many to many: Facebook, forums, Conference calls, twitter, Chat rooms

Flavour of communication

  • Instant (synchronous) or Delayed (asynchronous)
  • Text or Multimedia

Management of communication

  • Unmoderated or Moderated (PR problem)
  • Public or Private (Security problem)

Key sites and their uses — Online photo gallery
use: A place to share images with others, as well as find creative commons images for your own use. Also can be a good outreach tool, through the use of tagging and participating in groups. / SMS broadcast — Short bursts of information (usually about 140 characters)
use: Quick broadcasts that can be done with cell phones, to keep members informed or remind them to take action / — Blog hosting sites
use: Longer pieces of information, suited also to editorializing and reflecting. Provides updates or context for members, while getting a chance to hear — and address — their reactions / / (don’t bother) — Social networking sites
use: To increase visibility for politicians, to organize and promote events, to create groups that can help facilitate the broadcast of information. Benefit from built in audience, and newsfeed feature. — Videos online
use: Hosting and sharing of Public Service Announcements, good source of content, good tool for outreach to members and media (inspiration and counterspin). / — shared bookmarks
use: collaborative research projects / — shared content through social networks
use: content promotion – event coordination
use: planning events / meetings / actions

Basecamp / Backpack — project planning
use: planning event and coordinating remotely — free online encyclopedia
use: tracking public knowledge and discourse (wikipedia is many people’s first stop for information about an organization)

Skype.comVOIP online telephone
use: everything a phone does (regular calls, conference calls) but free

Case studies

The most successful initiatives do the following:


Provide information to those who need it


Once they have it, helping them make sense of it


Once they understand it, providing the tools to help them act on it

Internal audience - one to many - SMS messaging

  • Patients receiving text message reminders to take their medicine, so they no longer waste time and money travelling to their nearest clinic.
  • Farmers finding out the current market price before deciding whether to take their produce to market that day.
  • National parks communicating details about dangerous animals, providing an early warning system to mitigate against human-wildlife conflict.
  • Union members in the Asia getting private (invisible) reminders to attend certification votes
  • Amnesty International sending thousands of text “signatures” in support of prisoners

Internal audience - many to many - bargaining blog Local 391 Bargaining blog kept members up-to-date on every step of the bargaining process.

External audience - one to many - strike support website — solicited and was home to shows of public support, provided public and media with counterspin

External audience - many to many - SPP protest

External audience - many to many - Ushahidi — a platform that crowdsources crisis information by allowing anyone to submit using a mobile phone, email or web form.

External audience - one to many / many to many - Barack Obama — only one man was running for president but everyone took ownership of the campaign

Iran Elections- many to many,8599,1905125,00.html — Worldwide excitement that didn’t really turn into massive change as hoped.

G20 Protests There are downsides to using public forums for communication.


Is located here.