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Mary Joyce | Global Digital Activism

Video Advocacy Training in Geneva

Jun 13

Posted: under Presented, Trained.

One of my side projects is creating a typology of digital activism campaigns.  This presentation presents a slice of that – three types of campaigns in which digital video plays a starring role.  I gave this presentation in Geneva on behalf of the Open Society Foundations.

Here are the videos mentioned in the presentation to illustrate each campaign type:


In-personal screening of a documentary film convinces Secretary of Defense Panetta to improve the legal process for victims of military sexual assault.

Vertical Campaign

Video by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union shared via social media helps convince Global Fund to support harm reduction services fro drug users in Russia (sub-titled in English).

Horizontal Campaign

Decentralized peer campaign the It Gets Better Project speaks directly to gay youth convincing them not to commit suicide.

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Presentation on 21st Century Civil Society in Chile

Jan 11

Posted: under Presented.


at the Open Government Partnership meeting in Chile

Here I am at the Open Government Partnership regional meeting in Santiago, Chile, getting ready to talk about how digital technology is transforming civil society.

The Open Government Partnership is a new multilateralinitiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.   This particular meeting included participants from the US, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico, among other countries.

My presentation, below in PDF form, focused on ways that digital technology is transforming civil society, the engine of democratic governance.  It includes findings from the Global Digital Activism Data Set and observations on challenges to traditional NGOs and new networked forms of civil society organization.

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Communications Strategy Workshop in Lithuania

Dec 29

Posted: under Trained.

The staff really enjoyed working with Mary.  Everything was very easy but also very productive.
- Sergey Votyegov, Executive Director, EHRN

I’m proud of all my work, but I’m particularly proud of this two-day communications workshop I facilitated in Lithuania earlier this month.  The workshop was for Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN), which advocates for the the human rights of drug users.  They were a great group to work with and we accomplished a lot in two days identifying and evaluating their key goals, audiences, and communications products.

Staff evaluate the strategic value of their current communication products in an interactive exercise.

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Wedinar on Digital Nonviolence

Nov 29

Posted: under Presented.

Slides from my webinar on digital nonviolence, which I presented for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.  The presentation is about Civil Resistance 2.0, a crowdsourced project I began with Patrick Meier to update Gene Sharp’s canonical list of 198 nonviolent methods for the digital age.

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Training on Press and Advocacy for Universities Allied for Essential Medicines

Nov 08

Posted: under Trained.

Last weekend I conducted a training on Press Outreach and an introduction to the Principles of Advocacy at the annual conference of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) an international student organization dedicated to ensuring that medical innovations developed in university labs are accessible to patients in developing countries.

UAEM Coordinating Committee members pose for a picture with keynote speaker Unni Karunakara, International President of Doctors Without Borders.

Doing my press outreach session in the glorious California Sunshine (the conference was at the University of Irvine).

Parsons Fellow Jen Matsumoto presents the campaign website she designed.

Students participate in a “spectrogram” activity at the beginning of the advocacy session. They were smart, committed, and global – a really special group.


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Media Advocacy Training in Macedonia

Sep 24

Posted: under Trained.

Here are some photos from a media advocacy training I led in Macedonia a couple of weeks ago for NGOs that defend Roma health rights.  The training was funded by the Open Society Foundations.  The agenda here (.doc format).

Describing the importance of influence in identifying useful allies: both the activist’s influence on the ally and the ally’s influence on the persuasion target are important.

Developing an advocacy plan by filling in tasks beneath supporting goals.

Interviewing local new media entrepreneur and blogger Darko Buldioski. I like to bring in local expertise whenever possible.

This is a media choice diagram I use frequently in trainings. The example on this one shows an analysis of media options for reaching young Roma women who need information on prenatal health.

Taking advantage of the sunshine while doing a group exercise on audience motivation. What principles and interests might motivate a government minister to be more receptive to Roma concerns?

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Judge for the Digital Power Index

Jul 05

Posted: under Participated, Presented.



I was recently asked to be a panelist nominating activists for Newsweek/Daily Beast’s Digital Power Index.  Here I am participating in an online event organized to promote the index.

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Mary Joyce: “the culture of competitiveness leads to a culture of solidarity”

Jun 05

Posted: under Presented, Press.

The following is re-posted and translated from Agence France Presse. The original can be found at Finanzas.com.

Barcelona, June 4 (AFP). – Mary Joyce, digital activism expert and founder of the organization The Meta-Activism Project, said today at the Global Congress in Barcelona BDigital that “the era of the ‘culture of competition’ is running in favor of the ‘culture of solidarity.’ ”

In its first day, BDigital Global Congress has focused on the adaptation of social media and business to the new 2.0 tools to approach the user, and the role of citizens, both from his experience as a user to your participation as a “digital activist.” Mary Joyce, who starred in the “keynote” [slides above] in today’s BDigital has analyzed some key digital activism and the phenomenon of ” Internet solidarity. ” Here, Joyce noted that the” culture of solidarity “is emerging because” the wealth of data and digital information is changing the perception of competitiveness. When there is enough for everyone, it is easy share, and competitiveness is perceived as selfish and irrational,” she informed the event organizers.

In her talk, Joyce explained how the network has changed the way we care for our environment and support the causes that we believe are just, and how the internet is helping to form new group identities and new value systems. “Social media offers new options with which we create a new culture,” said the digital activist.

Mary activist left in 2008 the Kennedy School of Government Harvard to become New Media Operations Manager in the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. She later became a consultant on digital activism and worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at the University of Harvard. Joyce has lived in countries like Ghana, India, Chile and Morocco, has founded digital organizations (Demologue, DigiActive.org and The Meta-Activism Project) and is the editor of the book “Digital Activism Decoded.”

In addition, during this first day, the conference has had presented the work of various companies such as Fujitsu, HP, Capgemini, IBM, Praises, Anuntis, Lavinia Interactive or Caixa, which explained experiences and examples of how companies are adapting the tools to reach the 2.0 user: how smart phones and the availability of ubiquitous connectivity have led to the expansion of the applications and social networks and all types of online services.  In this sense, we have analyzed how, in all these processes, the user’s role is essential as his global experience will be crucial in the success of digital products and services. – EFE

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in Oxford for the e-Campaigning Forum

Apr 04

Posted: under Participated, Presented, Wrote.


I had great time in Oxford last month at the e-Campaigning Forum, where I presented a paper on behalf of the Open Society Foundation. In addition to be surrounded by a real-life Harry Potter set, I was also surrounded by some of Europe’s (and the world’s) best digital campaigners, like Karina Brusby of Oxfam and Michael Siberman of GreenPeace.

The paper was a case-study of the Stop Stock-Outs campaign in southern Africa.  Co-written with Brett Davidson and Michael Ballard, the paper looks at how the Open Society Foundation and its grantees selected a mix of online and offline communication and information gathering tools for a Pill Check Week campaign to bring attention to essential medicine shortages in  Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and Zambia.

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Speaking @ SXSW

Mar 16

Posted: under Presented.


Last week I attended SXSW, a mammoth festival of music, film, and social media that takes place in Austin, Texas, each spring. At SXSW Interactive (“south-by” to those in the know) I spoke on the panel Internet Power: After Cyber-Optimism and Pessimism with Patrick Meier of Ushahidi, Richard Boly of the Department of State’s eDiplomacy office, and Chris Bronk of Rice University.  Here are some of my comments:

  • Slacktivism is an inaccurate term. Even actions that are uniquely online in which people merely share content or express an opinion can shape public opinion and identify sympathizers for future mobilization.  Also, it seems that the people who take these actions are not politically active people getting lazy, but previously politically inactive people taking their first small step toward political engagement.
  • We are seeing the beginning to a “pop-up civil society” where loosely networked groups arise out of latent connections on social networks to take meaningful coordinated action (examples: SOPA/PIPA campaign, Kony 2012 sharers)
  • The narrative of the Kony 2012 video (protagonist, antagonist, crisis, call to action) was created in a way that any cause could have been dropped into that formula and had a similar result.  The power was in the framing, not the particular cause.

We did the event in a very conversational way because of our excellent audience, including Zeynep Tufekci of UNC Chapel Hill, Andy Carvin of NPR, Jennifer Preston of The New York Times, and Dave Parry of UT Dallas.

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