The crew of innovative campaigners and online strategists at Upwell, led by a core team of Rachel Weidinger, Ray Dearborn and Matt Fitzgerald have done their best to bring Big Listening to the world and change how campaigners monitor, use and test online campaigning. Their non-traditional mission was perhaps best exemplified by their client: the Ocean. Upwell intended to engage a larger and more diverse audience in ocean conversation and elevate the ocean on behalf of every organization and individual working on ocean issues.
In late-March, Weidinger, Upwell’s Founder and Executive Director, spoke to MobLab’s Michael Silberman via Skype. Their conversation ranged from what Upwell learned about measuring social media conversation to how organizations can adapt big listening and test their campaigns. Rachel and Michael also talked about the prospects for deploying (and funding) smart social media data, metrics and messaging programs in the progressive community. We’ve shared portions of the conversation below. Look for more clips next week.
Upwell coined the term “Big Listening” and created dozens of minimum viable campaigns. They identified who was talking about oceans, what they were saying, who shared content and who spiked national and global conversations about oceans (and sharks). They tested their own campaigns on everything from Shark Week to New York oysters to ocean acidification. Best of all, Upwell widely shared what they learned and trained hundreds of people around the world, including dozens of global Greenpeacers, to adapt their methods and tools.
Upwell closed down at the end of March, 2015. Securing dedicated and reliable funding for its core ocean programming proved too great a hurdle. The Mobilisation Lab has worked extensively with Upwell to bring its techniques and tools to staff at Greenpeace and partner organisations.
Resources and Related Stories
Upwell generously shared its findings throughout its three years in business. Do yourself a favor and check out their blog, Pilot Report (a recap of their first year) and their Tide Report archives. Here are some selected highlights and other stories about Upwell’s learning, impact and techniques.
- Big Listening 101: Reliving the Webinar Magic
- Top six ways to ensure your conservation content gets shared
- Big listening for overfishing and fisheries
- Ocean Acidification: The state of the online conversation
- MobLab: Four magic steps to creating shareable purpose-driven social media content
- MobLab: Online media analysis for campaigners and ‘non-digital’ staff
- Beth Kanter: Why your nonprofit should be a big listener
- Rachel Weidinger’s talk at Personal Democracy Forum 2013: When sharks attack, jump into the water