The memory hole in activism
The is a churning of the wheel in activism, it is part of the explanation of why campaigns tend to tern in cercals, the social change we push is often bogged down by these muddy memory’s. The churning of the ground is mistaken for real movement, then activist get bored and move on to the next campaign. Its rare that the cart of activism moves any real distance.
Of course what is needed is for someone to innovate, get straw or wood under the wheels, leaver the cart out of the hole, organise a rope team to pull together, this gets the cart further along the road to where people really would like to go. Its a spark that dose it, but sparks that fall on muddy ground are soon snuffed out.
The memory hole keeps us all in the mud, it dampens the sparks that make things happen, its a churning that moves the mud in a facsimile of progress – and many people mistake the churning of mud for the moving of the cart. The failure of inspiration leads many to drop out of the activist path. The cart abandoned mired in the mud for the next group of idealistic and eager but forgetful crew to push and pull.
So the morel of this muddy and forget full fable? Please add your thoughts in the comments.
The way forward - some simple social/technical solutions
* Nurture basic journalism/story telling skills in alt-media to make better outreach media. LINK
* Linking is key, link to alternative resources where ever you can, the easiest way of competing with corporate news sources is by building a web of connecting linked alt-news sources.
* Aggregation is a way to make decentralisation work.
* Have the main way of inputing to any alt-project at a local level then let the content work its way up to the top of subject/geographic aggregation sites. While always keeping the valid link back to the original source. I know its hard but try and avoid building consensus/bureaucratic publish from the top sites/projects where possible.
* QUOTE “content is just something for conversation” This opens the question of where does the interaction around content take place – this is still a unresolved issue and needs more thought and technical work – for now a diversity of strategy is probably the best way forward. While always keeping the valid link back to the original source.
* This is a controversial point - ONLY use the corporate social media solutions for link building and feeding people into contempery media projects – corporate social media solutions should be avoided as much as possible as original sources of distribution. DO use them and abuse them but its a common mistake to build real companies and communities solely within them. Its easy, publish on a alt-newsite site/blog then publish a link on facebook and twitter, you can use tools that do this automatically.
* Be open to using all tools, but try and come down on using free/opensource and open standards were possible. For two reasons
1) there is an opportunity for people to build things with opensource and openstandards using your project that you DIDN'T think of – this is actually where almost all innovation on the web comes from.
2) all corporate tools are bound up with the need to create profit before functionality and user experience so in the end they all have to sell out and focus on profit before users/content, its just a matter of time, the ones that don't follow this line run out of funding and all your work vanishes anyway.
* RSS and Creative Commons are your friends, use them well in every project you create.
That's really it, let's work together to use the “digital hole” undermining corporate media “to replace it with something nicer” its really not that difficult. Let's all Link and Aggregate based on open standards.
Hamish Campbell, (typed while) camping in the forest at the beach in the bay of Biscay.