Südwind Stammtisch

Yesterday I participated at the Südwind Stammtisch. It was a meeting of different people from the organization Südwind and interested people from other organizations.

Südwind is an Austrian NGO which is dealing with awareness raising in various sectors – such as fair trade, the state of asylum seekers and generally foreigners in Austria or development assistance. Furthermore they operate several bookshops, a magazine and an online picture database.

At the meeting there were representatives of Südwind, Attac, Oikocredit Austria and of course me from ICT4D.at.

The topic of the meeting was Web 2.0 and digital ways to communiate with interested people in general, and it was interesting to hear from Südwind how they were thinking of Web 2.0 – coming from a more traditional media perspective. They would like to engage people to contribute content via Web 2.0, but it seems more complicated than expected.

Florian Hörantner from Attac then introduced the 90-9-1 rule, which states that only 9% of observers and readers of content also become active from time to time and only 1% are contributing frequently. For internet users this ratio may even be worse.

A significant advantage of online media over traditional media which was identified was the huge user base of several social networks. Also the possibility to directly link to contextual information was appreciated. Another point which was brought up was the ecological aspect – as there is no paper waste with email.

What was questioned though, was if due to the information overload and email flood it was even possible to create long-term attention and engagement by online tools and messages only. Measures to support this were brought forward: tailor newsletters to fit the target group (simple vs. visually appealing), create possibilities for users to actively contribute and be transparent so that users also have influence on posted content, create incentives – such as competitions with prizes (e.g. foto competition).

Two other interesting – bot non IT-related – questions which were discussed were:

  • What actions would cause somebody to change their behaviour in the long term?
  • How to engage people which may not be interested in the topic, and how to persuade people which are interested in the topic but not sympathetic to your organization?

I’m glad having attended the meeting, it was very interesting and insightful. Südwind is in place working on various topics surrounding developing countries already 30 years and it’s great to learn from, and discuss with experienced NGO members.

Next date the Stammtisch will take place is 11 January 2010. The topic will be how to handle prejudice and populist propaganda in everyday discussion – and if I find time I will attend again.

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Südwind Stammtisch
was published on 15.12.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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