Tom Sawyer famously talked his gang into paying him for the privilege of whitewashinga fence while he sat by and supervised. In this talk by Dave Olson at SxSW Interactive on March 10th 2012, he shares how companies might inspire their community to crowd source projects by engaging passionate users with a mutually beneficial relationship.
This video – made from appropriately crowd-sourced photos, social posts, and other snippets + music – includes Mark Twain-period costuming, pipes, smoking jackets, board games, old-timey suitcase, mysterious envelopes, audience participation and plenty of laughs while focusing on practical tactics to rally communities with clear expectations, boundaries, rewards, and objectives and importantly – without manipulating.
3 very different project examples provide tangible advice for various campaign timelines, outcomes and audiences, and include:
* True North Media House: a long-planned (and fantastically successful), renegade self-accreditation citizen documentation project at Vancouver 2010 Olympics / Paralympics
* Phones for Fearless: a rapidly planned and deployed initiative to gather dis-used mobile phone/cameras for use by marginalized communities to tell their stories
* Hootsuite Translation: activating global cultures to speedily and accurately translate and localize a social media dashboard using a web tool… with unexpected outcomes
Leading up to Vancouver 2010 Olympics, filmmaker Andrew Lavigne followed, filmed and documented various stories around social justice and social media. One storyline was the “True North Media House” a renegade media project cooked up by me, Kris Krüg & Robert Scales based on our experiences documenting previous Olympics. In brief, we wanted to create a context in which grassroots bloggers, photographers, podcasters, vidmakers etc. could capture and share stories, reach a wider audience, and (if they chose to) stay out of trouble with IOC.
We aimed to take a non-political, non-denominational, non-everything kind of approach in that folks were welcome to write about whatever they want and participate anyway they wanted as long as they: took responsibility for their own work, published content under creative Commons license, submitted their RSS feeds to our “firehose”. This was unique amidst the adversarial relationship the Olympics built up with various constituent groups in the community. In other words, the Olympics were going to happen in our city, and we had an opportunity to share stories of what life is really like in Vancouver, the neighbourhoods we live in and the changes we saw to our civic society during that time, plus lots of parties
Wisely, we eschewed a physical space in favour of providing a litany of meet-ups, campaigns, workshops, and offering access to our mailing list and other channels to all the PR agencies, hospitality houses, various educational an activist groups and so on providing a wide variety of topics and events for TNMH accredited documenters to document. By the way, to be accredited, one must agree to the three principles above, and print out their own badge, lamination optional but recommended. Overall, so many wonderful people took on this challenge from youth to elders, people who thought they would have no interest in the Olympics to people who were diehard enthusiasts, to activists to people seeking free beer.
Uncounted thousands of stories were created, amplified through some very strategic social media kung fu, and the story of True North Media House became a story for the mainstream media with coverage in dozens of publications. Indeed, some “mainstream” journalists wrote with a glint of envy about our lack of word counts, deadlines and assignments… Yet we were motivated and focused enough to actually create compelling narratives and artifacts.
For many years (six at the time of this shooting) i rolled to Austin, Texas for a festival for tech, music, and film (and more). Frequent collaborator followed me around as a storyline in his film Generation Social: the Vancouver Network.
When your on the ground at SXSW it can be a bit chaotic. Here are a few pointers from a 6x SXSW’er that will help you the next time your in Austin amongst the crowds, the frenzy and the excitement. Enjoy and take heart!
My favorite panel of the fest thus far…It was the presentation style that was brilliant. Dressed in character. Tying every aspect back to that Mark Twain reference. Great physical visuals that you could pass around. It was a showcase example of a solo talk.
In Dave’s trademark fashion, he walked us through each story, using audience motivation and end benefit as pillars to ground us in the “why” audiences participated, and continue to participate in these efforts. He was able to talk about what we usually call “process” as a storyteller, imparting wisdom based on actual experience.
I keep coming back to the talk thatDave Olson from Hootsuitegave…we’ve followed a number of the rules that Dave Olson touted in his session: Thank people, make it fun for them, give them an incentive (not monetary), make it easy for them to participate.
Generation Social is a film about how our inherent social nature drives cultural change and the people who drive that change. From social networks to education to business and culture, everything is in flux. By profiling those at the forefront of this movement, we will explore these very different fields, giving you a perspective of the broadly diverse community that makes up the social internet.
Over the past few months, I’ve traveled to a handful of cities and read multi-disciplinary artist David Byrne’s charming discourse about urban planning and culture from the seat of a bike called “Bicycle Diaries.”
Byrne’s international input sparked me to share and compare observations about the environs of Toronto, Seattle, Pe Ell WA, and AustinTX.
However, instead of expository writing comparing these cities, I ended up under the care and scalpel of UBC hospital emerging with scars on my belly and ideas spinning while convalescing on the couch. While floating in and out of lucidity, I came across a fresh notion to share some thoughts about my personal creative journey.
So, checking my faux-humility at the door, I sought to lay out my thoughts for the attendees of the grass-roots organized personal expression conference Northern Voice in video form.
While i was a little medicated during the filming, this hazy feeling seemed encourage the spirit of a couple of my heroes Hunter S. Thompson and Jack Kerouac to come along for the ride.
In short, since I was a wee gaffer, I’ve made stuff – While many others do the same, mine were all made to be shared. As such, they were publications rather than ephemeral arts and crafts.
My creations span technologies from ditto machines (you remember that smell of the fluid) to real estate office Xerox copiers to doing 3 months hardtime at a Kinko’s night shift just to use the new colour copiers after hours to make poetry chapbooks. Here’s proof:
I also owe some of my compulsive documentation-ness to my ole dead Gramps who hit 67 countries, plus an extended roadtrip with a 17 yr old version of me, before packing it in for good.
My notebooks chronicling the trip (at his insistence) list cafe menus, gas stops, Anasazi ruins and Mexican motels is tucked in my files waiting to take form.
By writing any/everything with the express intent to share — including usually more private discourse like college papers and travel journals — I oblige myself to step up and express with vigor.
As I spiel forth in the video, my key words of advice to all creators are to: a) take risks; and b) constantly practice your craft.
Turn off the TV, find your happy place (my reminders live on the walls around me), and — to paraphrase a Hemingway quote i saw on a coffee shop chalkboard in Manazanita, Oregon — “Write for yourself, Write for others”
By doing so, you and your audience (no matter the number) will build a symbiotic relationship to spur your artistic pursuits and spread joy which will impact for years even decades, not just fifteen minutes of fleeting disposability. Channel your anxieties and prepare to share — indeed your painting is done once you put it under glass.
So, pop some corn and come on up to my place and be sure to take of your shoes – I haven’t the time for sweeping.
Note: Both these videos are viewable in full screen HD with stereo sound
Shot and edited by Andrew Lavinge who, along with colleague Jon Onroy, chronicled the impact of the Olympics against a backdrop of social media and social justice in a film project called “With Glowing Hearts.”
Curiosity seekers can view a variety of interviews, prezos, anecdotes and incidents featuring me from conferences, bur rides and boardrooms talking about creativity, literature, revolution and good times on the Spiels and Stories playlist at YouTube.
In a field trip to his home studio in Upper Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, storymaker Dave Olson (AKA UncleWeed) extols keys to creativity and shares creative project examples from childhood to present and explains how each creative endeavour contributed to his stream of mixed media personal expression and shares key influences via shelves full of heroes.