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October 27, 2009

Mobilizing Support and Measuring Success

GroupcThe momentum of support organized by 350.org that culminated last Saturday with 4,300 events provides a great example of not just mobilizing support, but of expanding the voices in support of an issue.
 
An analysis of the citation histories of English language bloggers focused on energy issues, shows that  350.org surpassed the reach of the traditional environmental advocacy organizations over the two months before their day of action.
 
Environmental groups, like most traditional advocacy organizations, are best at mobilizing their known supporters and communicating with the existing political channels.  However, as the charts below illustrate, these organizations – unlike 350.org – have not had the reach into new audiences such as green parents and green tech.
 
Our research on the relationships, sources and language of these new audiences has found that they tend to be less political and more focused on their personal contribution to climate change (more focused on “carbon footprint” then the environmentalists who are more focused on “carbon capture”).
 
350.org, which focuses on building a movement around climate change and setting a specific goal for climate change negotiations, successfully reached an audience outside of the traditional political dialogue.
 
In looking at the recent coverage on the health care debate about the “public option” and with the NYT reporting that “some prominent scientists and economists focusing on climate policy said the 350 target was so unrealistic that the campaign risked not being taken seriously,” one has to wonder if the way to be taken seriously outside the political bubble is to be shunned by the experts pointing out what is realistic.

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Comments

Ryan Evans

Thank you for the insight into 350.org's impact. The focus on personal impact is an idea that is applicable in many arenas. Good to have metric examples to back it up.

Suggestion: I'd love to see a "how to read our charts" primer on your blog. I think I know how to read them, but I'm not completely sure.

K Wong

Interesting graphs. Since 350.org was global, it would be interesting to see this mapped geographically.

What is the y-axis on the first graph comparing the domains (an index)? The category breakdown in the subsequent graphs are mutually exclusive, yes? If so, how do you sort the source into the category if it is from a blog (page-by-page or by domain)? How many sources do you scan in order to create these graphs?

Morningside Analytics

The best primer on reading the charts is the video briefing of John Kelly going over the energy and health policy charts which can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/user/MorningsideAnalytics

The -y-axis on the first chart is an index made up of the 6000 English language blogs most focused on energy policy issues (out of the top 300,000 English language blogs that we scan). The 6000 blogs are broken up into "Attentive Clusters" - groups of blogs that have similar attentive behavior (share the same sources as each other). The categories listed on the charts are the identified Attentive Clusters and each mark on the chart shows a link from a blog within a cluster.

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