Mozilla is privileged to work with an amazing team of volunteers around the world who dedicate their time and energy to Internet issues. I work with one such team in India. It’s a small but mighty group of about a half dozen volunteers who have been organizing grassroots events and outreach in India for several years. They’re educating everyone from college students to teenagers to stay-at-home moms and grandparents about privacy and security on the Internet.
This year, for International Data Privacy Day, the team decided to dream big. What if they could create and launch a social media campaign to provide a new privacy tip every day during the month of January that an average user could complete in only a few minutes? Could they add this piece to their in-person events? It was early November when they started planning, and the logistics were daunting. Volunteers had full-time jobs, direct control of only their own social media accounts and the challenge of producing original content, in 140 characters or fewer, to go live on a daily basis.
The team started by brainstorming a list of daily tips and quickly discovered they had enough content for a 31-day campaign. So they narrowed the list, focusing initially on Mozilla-related tips and then branching out to complementary tools and tips, such as:
- HTTPS! Browse securely. Look for a green lock in the URL bar https://www.eff.org/pages/https
- Use a Passphrase NOT a password. Hear it from Edward Snowden himself. https://youtu.be/yzGzB-yYKcc
- Private Browsing to the rescue! Enable with “Ctrl + Shift + P” on Firefox https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/private-browsing
Branching out meant they could tweet at the makers of the complementary tools and thus broaden their reach.
Divide and conquer
Next they divided into teams: two volunteers would create the social media posts, another would handle social media outreach and tracking, two more would lead in-person events, another two would focus on translation from English to local languages, another would create graphic images and finally one volunteer would coordinate teaching kits and other resources to mention in the posts. The volunteers grew their team to about nine people by reaching out to others who had the skillsets they needed for the campaign.
Rather than creating 31 posts at once, the team worked serially, focusing each day on turning that day’s topic into a compelling social media post. Reaching out to the owners of several Mozilla community-led social media accounts, they secured @MozillaIN to begin tweeting their tips throughout the month. Once they had an origination point, they reached out to other Mozilla communities to encourage them to retweet and share and the campaign started its growth trajectory. By creating a daily archive, they made it easy for others to adopt or remix the campaign.
How you can help
The result was magic. A grassroots campaign launched by a handful of dedicated volunteers, who felt a sense of accomplishment and pride. By sharing their process, I hope to motivate others to start their own grassroots campaigns for International Privacy Day. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Don’t be afraid to start.
You can also join this campaign and help the team reach a global audience. Take a look at the archived content here and tweet or retweet using #PrivacyMonth. For more about the #PrivacyMonth campaign, visit the wiki page and blog post. And to get involved in Data Privacy Day on social media, follow and use the #PrivacyAware hashtag leading up to Jan. 28 – and year-round.
About the author
Stacy Martin is a senior privacy manager for Mozilla. She works with volunteers to build communities around privacy and raise awareness about privacy and other Internet issues.