Talk:GPCA Strategic Action Plan
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(By Joe Giambrone (Redding)
How to Turn the Green Party decline around. SUMMARY:
This is about one thing primarily, getting new people interested in joining the Green Party. I'm talking about a website to be a highly focused presentation designed for new people who are considering joining the Green Party. This would be more of a "hard sell" type messaging and have nothing irrelevant.
It needs to predict every kind of objection and reservation that regular people may have, and counter them preemptively, as best as possible.
It needs to present an overwhelming image that positive things are happening, and that they can be a part of it.
It needs to present arguments for taking action in a very word-economical way, and give them the freedom to easily investigate what's happening with the party on their own -- without losing them to a bunch of other websites, and losing their focus.
This would combine with other initiatives to bring in artists and videomakers, setting up a Creative Commons library of images, sound recordings and video, etc.
We need to create something like a center of activity that can branch out from there and get people interested through as many paths as possible.
It’s time that the Green Party looked at things from an outsider’s perspective. What does someone considering changing their affiliation look for when they click over to your site?
It is my opinion that the current sites were created by Greens, for Greens, with little thought to concentrating on taking in new people (who are NOT Greens) and getting them the information that they would want.
Further, marketing the alternative party message across the web has not been in evidence. Where are the videos, the songs, the comic strips and the entertaining content that links back to a Green recruiting web page? How are artists working to get new people to join up? Where is the culture of creating new things for people to contribute and share and recommend and pass around the internet?
A new thinking is in order. Perhaps a new culture, a paradigm shift. A new way to invite the public to participate is needed.
When more individuals communicate about the Green Party to their own circles, the more viral messaging will happen and spread out to new populations who had never before considered this option. This needs to be made acceptable, fun, exciting, legitimate, etc.
Once the message is under consideration, they need somewhere to go, somewhere specific.
Many will find their way to greens.org. That’s where I repeatedly ended up. Without a complete makeover (who controls this site?) this route is not going to inspire web-savvy people to join a party they know next to nothing about. It will likely scare them away.
Californians may find their way here: http://www.cagreens.org/
This site is interesting, but it is not designed expressly for new recruits. It is not simple, but cluttered. It hits up visitors for donations at least twice right at the top. After that they’ll probably run into something like this: “Last updated: 12/27/2006 (BH)” Hey, what year is it again?
Some of the ideas found on that homepage are good, but they could be much improved upon.
For starters, there is usually a long-windedness and excess number of words before the point is made. The recruiting site needs short easily digested sound bites AND IMAGES AND VIDEOS that lead to more information. It needs intelligent design that caters to new people who can’t be assumed to know anything, but who may know quite a lot. It can’t bore the intelligent, nor confuse the not so much. Mostly it needs to get to the important questions they will have on their minds…
1. Is there a local chapter??? If so, how many members and how can I see what they do there?
2. Are there Green representatives near me?
3. How many Greens have won elections, and how did they win?
4. How can I sign up to help?
5. How can I talk to someone about the things I’m interested in doing?
6. Are they going to bug me for money?
7. Are Green Party members discriminated against? Is it dangerous?
8. What’s a good web page to send all my friends to, so they’ll get involved?
9. Who are celebrities that joined the Green Party?
10. Is there a forum to talk about what’s going on, and news feeds?
11. Are there videos to teach about this stuff?
12. What do Greens stand for?
13. What’s the platform?
14. Do they all have the same platform?
15. What if I wanted to run for office, what do I do?
The idea isn’t to set up a laundry list like the above, but to keep the mindset of the new arrivals in mind when designing the messages.
In my Proposal for a new web outreach initiative (below) I talk about some of the most important things that can be done to give the party a new image, a makeover, a re-launch out there into the public. It is crucial that this happen, because it gives people something to talk about. It gives writers something to write about. It gives reporters a story. And it gives the disgusted some hint at hope for a real alternative. It shakes up the political environment and gets people asking if the new thing – whatever it is – will actually work.
You’ll notice that #1, unequivocally, is a new LANDING PAGE, a new place that answers the question “where” above. This new page/site needs a catchy name that is short and to the point (“go-green.net” for example). A specific landing page designed for new people is very important.
It can appear on tons of literature. It is a stable, clear, reliable place to send people to learn more and get involved. That is its only purpose. And it should lead, with links, to the people who are involved. It should lead to forums, media libraries, videos, music, local chapters, art, politics, the entire Green community. It should be a portal expressly designed to get people to:
1. sign up Green
2. get in contact with local people and groups of interest to them
3. create new content that helps spread the word
4. learn how others have been successful
These four areas should be covered, at a minimum.
Sign up (1) is obvious, but then the data needs to be kept, tracked and options made available for periodical contact with the new members.
Getting involved (2) is for people to directly participate. When they decide to act it is time to give them everything they need to act. Have them signed up for the forum. Let them join the “go-green.net” team with an email address @go-green.net, etc. if that’s how they want to help. Let them jump over to the forums and ask what is going on in the places they live. And let them re-post a music video on Facebook or a blog, and that video would link to the go-green.net website at the end. Let them publish articles to the forum, letters to the editor, etc. Let them network with like-minded people. Better to do it on a Green server than something completely unrelated.
And give them incentives, things to work toward, contests, recognition, accolades. Real interaction and community.
This is about building infrastructure, giving the community tools to leverage their efforts and make some noise. By doing more, they create more interest that fans out into other areas of the web.
Content creation (3) is one of the best ways to get people working toward bringing in new members. Every time a new video, song, graphic, t-shirt, poster, or whatever is designed then more people will come across it. Creative Commons provides the framework for people to allow Greens to use their original works in order to build something bigger out of them. Remixing content allows new creative efforts to make new from old and add value.
Success stories (4) are crucial in order to instill credibility. The general public does NOT consider the Greens a credible alternative. It is an uphill battle from the start. The more we can show success and competence, the better chance we have of convincing regular people that their vote for a third party candidacy has the potential to change the status quo.
All of these elements are needed. Together, they constitute a new strategy for interacting with the public, and with the current Green membership. This is a comprehensive initiative that needs leadership to get on board and wake up and smell the possibilities.
What I’ve outlined isn’t the end game, but the initial push needed to shift the needle from declining numbers over to increasing numbers. The call should go out to the people with technical expertise and talent. It should also invite video producers to interview successful Greens, nationwide.
Is Green Radio in the cards?
The Misruler Report?
I don’t know. What I do know is that there are a world of kids shooting video, remixing music, blogging and creating little fiefdoms on their social networks. Unless they get interested in these larger issues of who is running the ship and for whose benefit, we are all in dire straits.
Is there a communications director for the Greens?
Who actually makes these kinds of decisions?
Who can make something important – like avoiding an iceberg and sinking – actually happen?
And if no one cares, then I’ll just shut up.
Joe Giambrone, Edited 1/19/2011
I have a PROPOSAL for a pretty involved web outreach program. This would need several factors to work, but it would have the net effect of drawing in lots of participants to help spread the word and recruit more Greens.
1) A Landing Page
New people need a much, much better web page than the current greens.org. That page hasn't been redesigned since the 90s. It's inadequate. The new outreach media program can set up its own page with effective messages and high quality graphics and video options.
Needs a catchy name: go-green-now.org, for example.
2) A media library
Using Creative Commons principles, the library can take video, images, songs, etc. from the wider community for everyone to use in new edits. Permissions would be granted when the media is uploaded. Artists can be singled out for exceptional work, contests, prizes, media exposure, spreading new Green Party logos, etc.
3) A call to skilled artists
People who already are proficient in video and After Effects, Photoshop, etc. would be welcomed in and have immediate projects that they can help improve. For a decade now I have been willing to help the party, but no one cared and no mechanism was in place for me to just participate.
The current culture of closed circles must change.
Many possibilities will come up. Here are several ideas.
- Each month or quarter a video contest can call for entries. The winners can be highlighted on the main landing page and given special accolades. - Also, video contests can highlight issues, candidates, problems. - The landing page hyperlink and a fancy graphic title page can be part of all the videos, so that anyone watching on Youtube can easily head over to the place where they can sign up with just a click. - Even a newly designed Greens T-Shirt could be a prize. And designing this new T-Shirt could be the first contest.
5. A new forum could accompany the media library divided by states. It could also have general categories of interest nationally. We need people talking to each other about what works. The Green Party has been in steady decline since 2000. In order to turn it around, everyone needs to know where we are moving forward, how we did so, and how to replicate the victory.
6. Some possible web campaigns:
- VIDEO: You want an alternative? Broken promises Broken government Highlights failures of Dems/Repubs.
- VIDEO: Success Stories Green representatives Interviews Changes that matter
- VIDEO: War is not peace Greens anti-war stance Mainstream politicians' statements in support of endless wars economic costs
Various projects could highlight corruption, regular people organizing, and other well received memes.
I have seen many issue films this last decade, but I can't remember any that were specifically about the Green Party. This is a missed opportunity.
I would like to help get this, or something like it, launched asap. We've waited too long to harness the power of the grass roots community. It is absurd that the corporatist Obama, with $700,000,000 claimed that he was the grass roots net organizer. Just as the Democrats have stolen environmental issues and neutered them rendering them meaningless, so too they have stolen the power of the Internet and claimed it as their own, when their real power is in cashing corporate checks for quid pro quo.
Green Party of California Wiki: Goal 3-2: Update the GPCA website. Tactics (1) Update/redesign information architecture. Create new universal navigation bar and sub-navigation menus. (2) Update graphic look and feel of website (3) Redesign design template using CSS stylesheets. (4) Research and select content management system for website. Content management system must include options to build online action and sign up forms. (5) Content management system must provide WYSIWYG. (6) Develop standard GPCA template for county Green Parties to use if they want. (7) Develop templates for campaign websites for GPCA candidates. Provide design support to candidates endorsed by their county Green Party or the GPCA, where applicable. (8) Address the issue of county web sites that are significantly out of date. (9) Review all existing web page on the GPCA website for accuracy. Goal 3-3: Build larger and more vibrant online communications networks. Tactics (1) Research and select an email distribution system with the capacity to reach large numbers of GPCA members efficiently and effectively. (2) Review existing GPCA email listserv management system, recommend changes as necessary. (3) Review existing GPCA statewide announcement email lists, recommend changes where necessary. (4) Develop protocol for GPCA members to opt-in/opt-out of GPCA email lists. (5) Write and send email news/announcement at least twice each month to GPCA members who have opted in. (6) Explore ‘constant contact’ model. (7) Expand GPCA Facebook network. (8) Expand GPCA Twitter network. (9) Expand GPCA YouTube channel. (10) Expand GPCA Flickr account.