What can you do to transform the world through the social media? Is there a step-by-step way to drive social change?
In the words of former US President Barack Obama, “Yes We Can!” The answer lies in the Dragonfly Effect.
Co-authored by Stanford University Marketing Professor Jennifer Aaker and her husband Andy Smith, a leading marketing consultant of Vonavona Ventures, The Dragonfly Effect offers a recipe for social change leveraging on the power of social media.
Unlike many other books on social media which are strong on examples but weak on structure, the book proposed a systematic design thinking oriented process which anybody can follow.
Tapping the diverse fields of social media, marketing strategy, and consumer psychology, Aaker and Smith pepper their central thesis with many interesting case studies.
These include micro-lending initiative Kiva, TOMS’s one-for-one shoe movement whereby the company will donate a shoe to underprivileged kids in return for a shoe bought, and of course Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
The most memorable example was that of Team Sameer and Team Vinay, a heartfelt story of how friends belonging to the South Asian community in the United States came together to find suitable bone marrows to save their stricken friends’ lives. Through the power of citizen activism, grassroots networks and social media, the teams recruited 3,500 volunteers, achieved more than one million media impressions and garnered 150,000 visitors to their websites.
How does the Dragonfly Effect work?
Principally, there are four “wings” of the model: Focus, Grab Attention, Engage, and Take Action.
Mirroring the way a dragonfly uses all four wings to propel itself, these phases can be represented by the model below:
Courtesy of the Dragonfly Effect
Let us look at how each of these “wings” relate to one another.
For Wing 1, Focus, the authors urge you to begin your quest by identifying a single, concrete and measurable goal. This should adopt the acronym HATCH, ie
For Wing 2, Grab Attention, your aim is to translate your social intent into activities that can generate some buzz.
Here, the acronym PUVV is used instead, ie
The next Wing, Engage, is the stage where you start to build a community. This involves embracing a TEAM acronym as follows:
In the final wing, Take Action, its design principles are embodied in EFTO…
Overall, I found the book very instructive and useful, with a step-by-step approach that anybody wanting to create a social movement can do. The case studies cited dive into pretty specific and pragmatic details which one can emulate, and they also covered the unique properties of different social technologies like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others without belabouring the point.
Perhaps the most meaningul message I got from the book came from Al Gore, former vice president, who once said…
“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – Al Gore
By staying focused and concentraing on small acts that drive big change, The Dragonfly Effect provides a useful guide for social activism in the Web 2.0 age.
This article was first published as Book Review: The Dragonfly Effect : Driving Social Change through Social Media by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith on Blogcritics.
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