Spreading the Word Through Consistent Movement Wide Media Programs
As a follow-up to my first blog post (Why We Should Develop a Strategy for Online Activism), I would like to propose an idea that my chapter is currently trying out for the purposes of spreading the word about the topics, ideas, and issues related to a resource-based economy.
As I pointed out in my last post, online activism can be a useful approach to activist work, especially in locations and chapters where venues for street activism may be limited for various reasons. In this regard, my chapter has started a BlogTalk radio program similar to the TZM Global BlogTalk Radio show, and the V Radio Show that we all are most likely familiar with. A few other chapters such as the Zeitgeist Movement SW Florida chapter have also produced bi-weekly shows in the past.
Since we all know the power of the Internet to reach larger online audiences and groups than most physical communities of people scattered in local venues, BlogTalk, as well as other similar audio and video sites like Google Hangouts, offer a nearly free and easy access for spreading the ideas of this movement.
As it stands now, the current strategy of TZM as an organization includes holding two annual events—Z-Day and the Media Festival—and local town hall events wherever possible. As important as these events and activities are, they are not frequent and ubiquitous enough to fully spread the word about the ideas of the movement. As we all know, in order for the ideas of a resource-based economy to be commonly discussed, analyzed, and debated like other important ideas concerning the future of humanity, tens of thousands and even millions of people need to be engaged with what Peter calls a “train of thought” for transforming humanity.
While I definitely think face-to-face dialogue and activism are the best form of engagement with people, using online media tools such as BlogTalk radio and other programs can be powerfully useful if done effectively. Thus, I would like to propose that as many TZM chapters as possible set a goal of producing radio or other online podcasts or media shows on a regular basis about the issues and ideas related to our movement.
Why More Programs
It is very important that as many different voices (languages, cultures, genders) and points of view in this movement are heard and known throughout the world. Think about the power of nearly every chapter in TZM producing some sort of regular (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) online media program that is posted and linked on all pertinent social networking sites that reach audiences throughout the world, 24/7. This kind of reach would go far beyond the annual and monthly events being done in a just a handful of chapters in the movement. As membership grows in TZM, it is quite conceivable that numerous TZM media programs could be posted somewhere nearly every week at minimum, and eventually every day if possible.
While understandably there is already a plethora of online videos, documents, and articles for people to access about the movement, it is important that we continually find ways to engage people beyond these literal resources. It's important that we hold programs in which people outside the movement are invited to participate, discuss, and question the ideas and information that we share. This type of engagement is an important process for education and spreading the word, and for helping to create the value shift in societies that we advocate.
As we all know, there is no structure per se for instituting ideas like this in TZM, but there are plenty of online forums and communities in which members can exchange ideas and challenges around producing media programs. Perhaps over time we can develop some consistent branding for our programs so that they become more recognizable to larger audiences. The main TZM website, for example, could list and link all the current and future media programs produced by TZM members or chapters.
What I Have Learned
The four core members of our chapter are thoroughly enjoying the work of producing a BlogTalk radio show. Though we have only completed six shows so far, and the total number of our archived listeners is only about 5000, I already see ways that we could grow our audience if we stay consistent and incorporate tools of effective marketing.
Like other media content producers, we will have to find ways to come up with engaging topics, market the show, build subscribers, and bring knowledgeable guests to the show. Our program needs to be as professional as possible, but because of the Internet medium, and the free cost of doing a biweekly 30-minute show, we have had the opportunity and time to grow our skills and resources, and not feel overwhelmed that every show be polished and perfect.
I personally like to co-host shows with one or two other chapter members because that arrangement brings varied points of view and insight to show content. It is also important that one of our core members is a woman, and she has participated in nearly every show, which breaks the monotony of typically male voices in these types of activities.
Media presentations, I realize, are not unique or new to this movement, but I am proposing this idea as overall movement-wide strategy (one among many other activities that are being done) to educate and spread the word about the ideas of this movement.