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Digital Activism strand has started

July 26, 2011

As part of our Building Local Activism programme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s People Powered Change activities, we are beginning work with four community groups* for our Digital Activism strand. We will support these communities to develop campaigns that use digital tools to lobby for change locally.

Between now and March 2013 we will be working with the following groups on our Digital Activism strand:

  • Hackney CAB – looking to raise awareness about the impact of cuts to housing benefit on low-income households;
  • Holloway Neighbourhood Group – wanting to use social media to connect and mobilise residents to strengthen the community and deepen everyone’s sense of place;
  • Leeds Older People’s Forum – campaigning on a series of older people’s issues, looking to enhance their ability to access services and create an age friendly city centre; and
  • Women’s Networking Hub, Birmingham – reaching out and mobilising a critical mass of women to speak out and effect change in their local communities.

There are lots of fantastic examples of digital activism for these groups, and others, to draw on – from local campaigns such as those from Elephant Amenity Network and Save Preston Bus Station, to national campaigns such as Mumsnet’s Let Girls be Girls campaign.

Such campaigns use a wide range of online digital tools – Facebook, Twitter and online forums to name but a few. Other online campaigning tools growing in significance are those such as 38 Degrees and Avaaz which recently ran campaigns that successfully stopped News Corporation taking control of BSkyB.

A whole host of statistics show how these tools impact on political and group activity. Did you know, for example, that Facebook users who use the site more than once-a-day are two and a half times more likely to attend a political rally or meeting? 

Other statistics, such as those below courtesy of Social Media Citizens, provide very useful information on who uses which social media sites and how:

  1. 3 out of 5 Facebook users access the site more than once per day and the younger the user, the more they log on
  2. Men are more likely to use Twitter or YouTube
  3. Women are more likely to go on Facebook multiple times per day
  4. Some of the most staggering growth has been in in the 55 plus market. Over 40% of 55+ social networkers have been registered on the sites for less than two years
  5. 28% of Facebook users are over 55.
  6. Men and young people are more likely to be influenced by what they read on social media and are more likely to engage by commenting and interacting.
  7. Of the market of 18-24 year olds, 62% interact through comments and such.
  8. Of the market of 55+ users, only 32% interact through comments and such.

Image from COTA Australia (

Such case studies, facts and statistics should prove useful to the groups we will be working with on Digital Activism, helping them to select the tools and websites that will be most effective for their campaigns.

* Note: We are looking for two additional community groups to work with on Digital Activism so please get in touch with us to find out more.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2011 6:32 am

    Sorry but People Powered Change / the Big Lottery Fund is fiddling while Rome burns. This is meaningless work in the scheme of things. We need to be working on the design of a different socio-economic system not stating the bleeding obvious about men preferring Twitter to women.


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