Six years (well, six and a half years) without posting to a public blog. I've worked on the "Internets" since '99 and yet I never got into this blogging thing. I became an addict of the blogosphere about 3 years ago, and I think I posted a comment once or twice to an interesting read by David Sirota or Talking Points Memo, but I finally get my forum.
As the (proud) political nerd at Care2, I've become very interested in the user side--what really motivates our members? What content do they provide that contributes to the vibrancy of our community versus that contributed by our non-profit partners? And, of keen interest to me in my political nerd kinda way, with critical elections six months away, what new things can we do with our audience of 5.7 million that might be explicitly political that has value both to our members and the political community?
Let me start by answering a few of my own questions (a wily blogger's gimmick?) and then inviting your feedback . .
We actually asked our members what kind of action is most important to them: 66% of our members told us that delivering petition sigs for public comment or Congressional advocacy was an activism priority of greatest importance. This figure is frankly not surprising, but I was intrigued by the cluster of answers that followed:
Of "greatest importance":
49% said "Educating and mobilizing progressive activists online and offline"
48% said "Fundraising for environmental causes"
47% said "Delivering opportunities to take action on political campaigns for candidates or initiatives."
For those of you who have pulled out your calculator, it's clear that these numbers add up to way more than 100% and our survey was by no means scientific. What we glean from this is that our members have identified certain priorities for the Care2 community and how we should focus our time. I'm most intrigued by folks interested in mobilizing activists online and offline, and of course, the nearly equal number of folks who are ready to engage at a greater rate beyond simple advocacy and in elections.
In a separate question, asking our members to choose ONE thing that we could add to our site, 63% (yowsa!) said they wanted action opportunities and information about issues in their communities. Only one other option cracked 10%. Clearly, folks want the opportunity to make a difference in their communities--it's tangible; it's doable in a way that maybe is, he-hem, less likely in Washington, DC these days; and it's less daunting because our more active members who take action online frequently recognize that their voice can potentially be heard more loudly locally.
So, where does this leave us? Well, we're continuing to look for ways to experiment with our audience--both with the help of our non-profit partners and through some self-initiated projects--to connect on the issues that they think are important. What are y'all seeing? What are y'all doing? What can we do together?