By Joel Braunold*
London, December 17, 2010–The OneVoice movement has a strong grassroots infrastructure and a budding online presence, and for the Imagine 2018 campaign, we focused on utilizing online tactics to launch a national conversation.
Keeping in mind everything that has made us successful on the ground, Imagine 2018 is not only starting to gather steam, but exemplifying the necessary link activism, both online and off. We are empowering people to connect online in order for them to participate in substantive offline action.
Before explaining the campaign, some background on our movement is important. OneVoice is an international grassroots movement that aims to amplify the voice of Israeli and Palestinian moderates, empowering them to seize back the agenda for conflict resolution and demand that their leaders achieve a two-state solution. All of our activities work toward one common message.
OneVoice Israel and OneVoice Palestine are autonomously run, nationalistic offices that aim to represent and mobilize the moderate majority voice in their own society for a two state solution. Each operates in its own environment and the campaigns of the movement are run using themes that are relevant in each society while making sure they are true to the common message.
Imagine 2018 asks people what they want to see by the time Israel celebrates its 70th birthday. If citizens cannot control the negotiations, we ask them questions about what they aspire to happen. Articulation empowers the person to find a way to help make their vision a reality.
Asking Supporters to Make the Headlines - Literally
While the narrative of the Palestinian campaign is to highlight state-building as a means to end the occupation, OneVoice Israel is focusing on breaking Israeli apathy and fatalistic pessimism about the future. Israel is a high-tech society with 71.6% of the country online. One only needs to look at Hebrew language Facebook pages and news site talkbacks (article comments) to see dynamic discussions taking place.
Using the theme of ‘Israel Tomorrow,’ OneVoice Israel designed a Facebook application that allows users to pick a picture and write their own headline for an envisioned newspaper from the year 2018. OneVoice Israel printed copies of these user-generated newspapers and distributed them to policymakers, trend-setters and opinion formers with their name as the headline and a tag line reading, “Thank you for helping create a two state solution.”
Alongside the Facebook headline application campaign, Israeli offices have also initiated a “talkback blitz.” OneVoice Israel has chapters on seven academic campuses and activated their offline activist networks to train youth leaders on advertising the campaign by blitzing popular newspaper sites through "talkbacks" with references and links to 2018.
The campaign has been running for two weeks and so far the results have been promising–Facebook presence has increased by 300% and the movement received recognition from the press, government ministers, and celebrities.
Takeaways so far
The link between a movement and its supporters needs to be about more than just a Facebook click. Conversely, a society that has no appetite (or is too scared) to take to the streets needs a different way to be actively engaged. Digital activism, as a means to synch participation with concrete action, gives members an entry level option to contribute.
Moving from supporter, to member, to activist, to leader, should be an available and realistic process within every movement. Those who do not offer activities for its members to engage with others in, other then digesting and regurgitating information, will struggle to move its people along this chain. Similarly, those who only offer time consuming activities without the simple collaborative projects that bind people to a movement may find themselves with a few more activists, but few committed members.
At OneVoice, we are trying to keep these tenets in mind as we bring our campaigns into cyberspace. We hope we’re accomplishing this, but welcome any questions, suggestions or comments!
*Joel Braunold is the Director of External Relations at OneVoice. He is based in London, England ands works out of the OneVoice Europe office. This article was recently featured by the Alliance for Youth Movements.