The recent blackout campaigns against SOPA/PIPA have been largely been impacted by BlackoutSOPA (http://www.blackoutsopa.org/). One of the co-founders, Hunter Walk has written a very nice article on the success of the campaign: http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/23/blackoutsopa-how-87000-people-taught-us-about-the-future-of-online-activism/
Here, he compares the campaign to a startup, and hence has very relevant learnings for a startup. I have tried and highlighted some of them below (the words in italics are from the article to support my points):
1. Importance of creating evangelists out of users, in helping propogate the message on a wider scale, and helping users be a part of the journey – make them feel an intergal part of the initial success.
Referral tracking. We generated a http://www.blackoutsopa.org/<your twitter user name> link which turned our users into evangelists. Top referrers were celebrated publicly and every user was able to see the Twitter names of the people they had converted. Made it much more personal.
2. Identify top influencing members in certain communities, and get them on board faster
Top Community Members (by Followers): Although we stressed that everyone mattered – whether you had one follower or 1 million – getting a Top Members list up on the site was crucial. It displayed social proof and also gave the media an easy reference point to cite which influencers were on board.
3. Importance of being agile internally to react to situations faster, and acting proactively to understand what users would want next.
- My co-creator Greg is high-performance coding machine. And we divided & conquered perfectly.
- We have enough experience with social software to design and prioritize quickly
4. Identifying tech-savvy users could be relatively easy, and help us get traction initially, but it is important to reach out to non-tech influencers early on and make it an easy path for them to use our services.
- Should have lined up some non-tech influencers earlier and let them be champions of their segments
- Could have coordinated early adopters to unleash a second wave of conversions (eg “on Friday we’d appreciate if you’d tweet the following message some time btw 10am and noon PT”)
SOPA is obviouisly a very wide campaign with millions of people with ten million opinions, but some learnings could be relevant.