The Amplification Project Shows Advocates How to Amplify Scholarly Research Through Digital Advocacy

The New Jim Crow has enlivened the national conversation around mass incarceration.

Michelle Alexander’s recent book, The New Jim Crow, has become a clarion call for advocates pushing for reform of the American criminal justice system. There is still much progress to be made, however, in awareness on the issue of mass incarceration. Digital advocacy can help to make Alexander’s work more accessible and widely understood beyond the ‘choir’ of dedicated activists and policy analysts who read the book.

Scholars produce the evidence, digital advocates put it to use  

Scholars produce high-quality research and expert analysis, but they often craft narratives that are dense and time-consuming for the average citizen. Plenty of Americans care about the issue of mass incarceration, but not all of them have the time to read Alexander’s book. As a digital advocate, you should strive to make scholarly research accessible to a broad audience as well as to strengthen your own policy position. This requires identifying the key points that will influence a target audience, and packaging those points in an engaging way on social media outlets.

Research can bolster your current supporters and help you win over new ones

Incorporate scholarly research into your digital advocacy efforts to share the evidence that supports your cause – and place special emphasis on data points that can change the minds of those outside of your current support base. For example, people who do not advocate for reforms in the justice system on moral grounds might be swayed by fiscal or economic data set forth by Michelle Alexander. Moreover, because of the wide availability and rapid dissemination of information in today’s digital age, you do not always need to draft your own synopsis or content to discuss a scholar’s work.

Use interview appearances and social media content by scholars to spread awareness and education

There is a wealth of shorter, more accessible content from scholars online for you to share on your social media networks. Here’s how to use these resources:

  • Post interviews with the scholar or columns they have written on the issue. Michelle Alexander is often a guest on NPR, she recently posted an Op-Ed on a politics website, and was even a guest on the Colbert Report. These resources that each target different audiences and can easily be incorporated into your social media strategy.
  • Elaborate on scholarly interviews or social media content through a blog post, and draw on key arguments that are likely to influence your target audience. Be sure to emphasize new information that will shore up your existing supporters, and also identify any key points that will sway the opinion of your opponents.
  • Disseminate interviews with and commentary from scholars to gain traction outside your existing network of supporters.  Refer back to this previous blog post on Twitter for ideas on how to expand your reach to new audiences.  Digital advocacy is about amplifying your voice and getting others to share your message.
One Response to The Amplification Project Shows Advocates How to Amplify Scholarly Research Through Digital Advocacy
  1. [...] The term “academic luminaries” is a phrase that Amplification Project Founder, Richard Greenberg, likes to use to describe scholars who are not only leaders in their field but also visionaries for a better world and a better future. Three of our favorite academic luminaries at the Amplification Project are Michelle Alexander, Robert Reich and Cornel West. Each of these scholars not only produces valuable research and scholarship on public policy issues, but they are also working to make their bodies of work accessible to citizens beyond academia. They are using social media to spread their work and broaden their audience. My recent post on how to use scholarly research in digital advocacy can help you identify how to use… [...]

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