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Marco Camisani Calzolari from MegaShouts.org the social amplifier for activists

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 18 October 2016

MegaShouts.org founder CEO Marco Camisani Calzolari on how digital activists  can social media



MegaShouts.org logoSocial Media Portal (SMP): What is your name and what do you do there for MegaShouts.org?

Marco Camisani Calzolari (MCC):
My name is Marco Camisani Calzolari and I am founder and CEO at MegaShouts.org.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about MegaShouts.org  what is it and what does company do?

MCC: MegaShouts.org is the first social amplifier that allows normal people to become digital activists, actually obtaining results thanks to the media mechanisms started on the platform itself.

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?  

MCC: Anyone who wants to obtain a goal can start a campaign on MegaShouts.org, and anyone who feels strongly regarding the issues in our campaigns is more than welcome to join us. Normal people who want to make a difference in the world.

SMP: When did you start the company, what inspired you and how many people work there?

MCC: MegaShouts.org started in March 2014 with a small team of developers and editorial staff. My main inspiration was the world of online petitions, of which I have quite some knowledge thanks to my previous experience with Livepetitions.org. However, online petitions’ only strength lays in the media attention they can gather: MegaShouts.org is a far superior tool because the platform allows users to promote the campaigns they care about and build awareness organically, reaching and involving media, journalists, newspapers, VIPs and all sorts of other influencers.

MegaShouts.org logo and photograph of founder and CEO Marco Camisani Calzolari
SMP: The recent report MegaShouts.org is referenced in mentions the growth in digital activism how can activists ensure cause are know in a sea of causes?

MCC:
The mechanisms behind MegaShouts.org allow campaigns to be brought into the light thanks to the build up of constant social media interventions on the matter. Each time someone decides to support a campaign, that support is spread across their social media accounts, allowing the message to be known by more and more people as the campaign gains traction. In the world of social media, attention is very scarce: these mechanisms make it easier for a campaign to be seen by as many people as possible.

SMP: What are the challenges that you’ve encountered and how are you overcoming them in what you have been doing so far at MegaShouts.org?


MCC: One of our biggest challenges has been making normal users understand exactly what MegaShouts.org is, how it works and how their participation can actually have an impact on the campaign they are joining. We’ve gone through several restyling phases in order to make the user experience as smooth and clear as possible.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?


MCC: I would say that the LSE recognition of what we are doing with MegaShouts.org is one of our high moments so far.

SMP: What do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities for your sector and the competition that you have?


MCC: One of the biggest challenges everyone in digital activism is facing right now is the issue of trust and credibility with the public, making people have faith in the ability of online campaigns of actually making a difference instead of just being a pretext to send advertising.

SMP: What do you think is going to be the most interesting aspect regarding digital activism for the next 12 to 18-months and why?

MCC:
The proof is in the result: during the next 12-18 months it will become more and more apparent that the only thing that matters is actually getting results, you can’t make people hope forever without giving them some positive outcomes.

SMP: What are your top five predictions for digital activism for the next 12 to 18-months and why?
 

MCC replies with:

  • Death and rebirth of the concept of digital activism: people will abandon traditional petitions platforms in favour of solutions that are more likely to achieve actual results.

  • Accountability: as users become more and more familiar with the mechanisms behind digital activism, accountability becomes crucial and indispensable in gaining the audience’s trust, especially where donations and sponsorships are involved.

  • Fragmentation of goals: idealistic petitions asking for an end to world hunger or climate change or pollution and wars are not likely to ever be successful. This is the reason why campaigns will become more and more focused on individual, achievable goals rather than global, complex issues.

  • Structure: when users learn how to focus the tools and means of digital activism platforms, the message they convey becomes impossible to ignore by the decision maker(s) of that particular issue.

  • Simplification of paths: at the moment the scenario of digital activism consists of a multitude of players. Media agencies, digital platforms, brokers, intermediaries… the future will most probably bring a simplification of this environment, with platforms being the sole links between activists and beneficiaries.

SMP: What are your top overall five tips to manage a digital activism campaign and why?  


MCC replies with:

  • Have a clear request: this is one of the pillars of each MegaShouts.org campaign. The request must be clear and concrete, otherwise it is impossible to take action regarding it.

  • Know who your decision maker is: unless the person, institution or company you’re addressing can actually do something about your request, it is useless to involve them.

  • Spread the word: activism relies on media attention, the more your campaign is in the spotlight, the higher the chances of success.

  • Take NO for an answer: not always will decision makers be prone to grant the request  you’re making. However, even a “No” is a valid answer, and it can provide the needed leverage for a second wave of participation in the campaign itself.

  • Don’t stop until the goal is achieved: petitions nowadays are considered a success when an arbitrarily decided number of signs is reached, but the actual goal should always be achieving what was asked for.

MegaShouts.org statistics image

SMP: Best way to contact you and MegaShouts.org?

MCC replies with #MegaShouts, email info@megashouts.org, Twitter @megashouts and Facebook.

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

MCC: Milk and cereal for breakfast with my kids before they went to school.

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone? Found them a job!


MCC: If you weren’t running MegaShouts.org what would you be doing? I’d continue my other activities like public speaker or University Professor.

SMP: What the best activism campaign you have seen this year and why?

MCC: Without a doubt amazing storytelling about the tragedy of Syrian refugees covered on the Washington Post.

SMP: When / where did you go on your last holiday and why?

MCC: I went to the seaside in Italy with my family for some much needed rest and distraction.

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?


MCC: I gather my team, we assess current critical issues and establish priorities.

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?


MCC: I would choose being able to instantly spread digital alphabetization across the globe.



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