The Fem 2.0 Wake Up! Campaign
New Media, Strategic Communications Planning, Coalition Management, Issue Advocacy, Community Building
Feminism2.0 is about connecting today’s issues and women’s voices for better policy-making on behalf of women and families. Its online community is geared toward what women can achieve if we unite our voices. Work/life and family work policy impacts all women and is non-partisan, providing the ideal conversation for bringing women together.
Fem2.0 wanted to shift the public narrative around workplace issues to more accurately convey the experiences of today’s working families and improve the environment for better workplace policymaking. It also wanted to mobilize and build out the Fem2.0 community to further strengthen its advocacy ability.
Turner Strategies devised a strategy to achieve Fem2.0’s goals that incorporated several new media tactics. Led by Turner’s New Media expert Gloria Pan, the strategy used online chats, blog radio and a blog carnival to build the online community around work/life issues and to determine how best to present the subject of “work/life balance” in a way that would help the public relate to the issue.
Turner held Fem2.0’s Work Action Blogger Chat in December of 2009. Nearly four dozen bloggers and online advocates accepted Turner’s invitation—such a high turnout that the group had to be divided into two concurrent chats. Both groups were lively, as each participant wrestled with his or her own work/life experience and had strong opinions about how to approach the subject in a way that would help the public connect with and get behind the issue. There was common agreement on effective buzz words (“respect,” “fairness,” etc.), the fact that work/life is not a “women’s issue,” and that men and businesses need to be pulled into this conversation as critical stakeholders.
Next, Turner launched a blog talk radio series instead of using the traditional telephone briefing to deliver audio information to its target audiences. The blog radio format also offered the following advantages:
- Programs are recorded as podcasts, easily disseminated over the public Internet, where they would have ongoing shelf life.
- Audience engagement activities, such as online chats and Twittercasts, could be conducted around the live programs.
- Fem2.0 could launch a new channel for its activities to extend its brand and build out its reach.
Turner designed each segment in accordance with the Fem2.0 model of pulling together speakers from Internet media (bloggers) and from organized advocacy (experts) to build bridges between those worlds. It also invited the Fem2.0 community to help promote the series, tune in to the series, participate in the online discussion and/or Twittercasts around each segment, contribute to the blog carnival and hold their own online work/life event concurrent with the blog carnival.
After the conclusion of the blog talk radio series, Turner began accepting contributions for the blog carnival. 27 websites from online media (blogs and blog networks) and organized advocacy confirmed that they would hold their own work/life blog carnivals or events as part of the larger Wake Up! blog carnival.
These organizations informed their audiences about the campaign through their websites, and several did so through email blasts, most notably AAUW , BPW , NOW and the National Association of Mothers’ Centers .
The project brought more than 50 influential bloggers to focus on work/life, laying the groundwork for their ongoing engagement with the work/life public dialog and possible advocacy of family work legislation. It delivered 11 audio files about the impact of work/life on different communities, which are now available indefinitely over the Internet to support engagement of those communities with work/life and family work legislation.
With the participation and support of major advocacy organizations like the National Council of La Raza, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and AARP, the project built bridges beyond the immediate family work policy community, putting the issue in front of new audiences not specifically focused on work/life and creating the foundation for new partners to help disseminate work/life messaging. Previous to this project, online media (bloggers) focused on work/life were largely independent of each other and disconnected from organized advocacy. This project began to connect members of this group to each other and to organized advocacy.
The project elevated work/life and family work policy in the online women’s advocacy community, helped by the high-profile participation of speakers like Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and NY Times blogger Lisa Belkin. It also put work/life and family work policy in front of tens of thousands of people through thousands of tweets, close to 70 blog posts and multiple email blasts to different constituents.
Among the comments received for Turner’s work were these:
Judy Martin, an Emmy-award winning broadcast journalist and blogger at worklifenation.com: “It's the most comprehensive dialogue I've been a part of or have heard. I've listened to a number of recorded programs and it's worth the time. Gives me more hope that perhaps change from Capital Hill and Corporate America might be sparked. It also brings attention to the need for individuals to deconstruct their own work life issues and throw some light on the conversation in a new way.”
Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder of the women’s blogging community BlogHer, said: “The Fem2.0 folks, particularly Gloria Pan, have done a tremendous job with an ambitious undertaking to thoroughly examine work-life issues, both broadly, and from the perspective of various niches. By doing that they are trying to go beyond the conversations we've all already had, which I can appreciate. … I definitely learned some things I didn't know about how our society today compared to 30 and 40 years ago.”
Marcia G. Yerman, who blogs at The Huffington Post, said: “The Wake Up! Blog carnival radio series was a tremendous opportunity for me to reach out to my followers and community while I live blogged, via Twitter, ten segments of the series (I hosted one). … [People] who see my Tweets via Huffington Post also became engaged in the conversation. I got a big response to the segments on the new report, ‘Three Faces of Work/Family Conflict;’ references to the 2010 census – and why it was so important for people to fill it out to get services; work/life and older Americans. The panel with Rep. Carolyn Maloney gave people up-to-date insights on where women stand in terms of pending legislation. In addition, I learned a lot of new information and data, which I then disseminated in my personal writing on women’s issues.”