Narrative Tech – Civic Tech Field Guide
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Narrative Tech

Narrative Technology

Technology has always had a role in shaping how narratives are created, distributed, tracked and absorbed into society. Today, technology moves the words, pictures and meaning of narrative around the world in seconds. Technology helps us track the movement of narrative and research how narrative shifts behavior.

Narrative Technology encompasses the tools, platforms, and infrastructure that can be used to assist and accelerate the shifting and/or maintenance of dominant narratives. These include, but aren’t limited to, technologies that can baseline, listen to, test, and respond to media and online discourse at scale."

Suggested readings

Articles

 

Books and chapters

Narrative Tech projects

There are lots of different models for deploying technology in support of narrative change. Below are a collection of some exciting narrative tech projects.

The Rules Culture Hacking Toolkit

The Rules have developed a method and toolkit to help social movements bring about narrative and structural change. We call it Culture Hacking.

What We Learned in Minnesota

Narrative Initiative is a training and networking resource for leaders and organizations dedicated to building fairer, more inclusive societies.

mapMarkerGrey 549 Dean Street, Brooklyn, NY ...

RNW Media

RNW Media is a centre of expertise that builds digital communities for social change.

mapMarkerGrey RNW Media, Witte Kruislaan, Hi...

Count the Nation

The USC Annenberg Innovation Lab and Wise Entertainment have assembled a powerful coalition of experts in media, communications, data, technology and journalism to ensure everyone knows how much census participation benefits their community.

mapMarkerGrey Los Angeles, CA...

Wise Entertainment

Wise Entertainment is an award winning independent studio that develops, creates and produces content that lives at the intersection of entertainment, social justice and civic imagination. Their “proof of concept” was the hit drama series East Los High.

mapMarkerGrey Los Angeles, CA, USA...

Tiziano Project

The Tiziano Project provides community members in conflict, post-conflict, and underreported regions with the equipment, training, and affiliations necessary to report their stories and improve their lives.

mapMarkerGrey Los Angeles, CA, USA...

Narrative Initiative

Narrative Initiative is a training and networking resource for leaders and organizations dedicated to building fairer, more inclusive societies.

mapMarkerGrey 594 Dean Street, Brooklyn, NY ...

Big Listening

There are tools that monitor public digital conversations. Those that we classify as “big listening” technologies also help us separate signal from noise, identify themes, and better understand how conversations respond to events, influencers and communications strategies. These tools give us insight into the “why” of a conversation. They can also model the networks in which narratives operate.

These tools are often expensive (Brandwatch/Consumer Research) and purpose-built (usually not for social change). They can also be free but come with a significant learning curve (MIT’s Media Cloud).

PoliMonitor

A political data and intelligence start-up helping to connect the public and politicians.

mapMarkerGrey TechHub London, Clere Street, ...

Meltwater

Software that combines the power of AI with the most comprehensive source database in existence to bring our clients advanced media monitoring, social listening, social media management, PR Analytics and Influencer Engagement tools.

mapMarkerGrey 225 Bush Street Suite 1000 San...

Quid

Other analytic software can show you what is happening, but only Quid can unlock the context that explains why.

mapMarkerGrey 1 California St San Francisco,...

Upwell Attention Lab

We play a unique role, experimenting with injecting conservation messaging into online conversations about the ocean. We do this through “attention campaigns.”

mapMarkerGrey San Francisco, CA, USA...

PeakMetrics

PeakMetrics tracks news and government action around the clock, so you save time and react faster.

Listening

Listening is something people have always done (see every focus group ever). Today, most groups deploy tech to help listen to and monitor online conversations. Listening can include things like traditional and/or social media tracking. Approaches can be low-fi (hashtag analysis) and low or medium cost (Google Analytics and Google Trends). Basic listening doesn’t employ data scraping, machine learning, or network visualization and analysis.

Local Voices Network (LVN)

Developed by the non-profit Cortico, the Local Voices Network (LVN) is a unique physical-digital network designed to bring under-heard community voices, perspectives and stories to the center of a healthier public dialogue.

mapMarkerGrey 25 Kingston St, Boston...

Google Analytics

It gives you the free tools you need to analyse data for your business in one place, so you can make smarter decisions.

mapMarkerGrey Mountain View, California, USA...

Story tech

Stories are the mosaic tiles that make up deep narratives. The key role stories play in disseminating deep narratives give story tech a place in the narrative tech spectrum. When we talk about "story tech" we’re thinking of storybanks, audio and podcasting tools to share and tell immersive stories.

StoryCorps

To preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world

mapMarkerGrey 80 Hanson Pl, Brooklyn, New Yo...

SoundCloud

Discover, stream, and share a constantly expanding mix of music from emerging and major artists around the world.

mapMarkerGrey Berlin...

ActionSprout

ActionSprout makes it easy to find curated content, schedule posts, manage Facebook ads, and create donations and petitions to grow your following!

mapMarkerGrey ActionSprout, Commercial Stree...

Memria

MEMRIA uses the power of voice to help our partners further their missions.

mapMarkerGrey Civic Hall, West 22nd Street, ...

Story-based campaigns

Examples of campaigns that leveraged the power of personal stories to advocate a position.

Collideoscope

Tell us about your collisions and near-misses, so we can build the evidence base for improvements, together

mapMarkerGrey United Kingdom...

RNW Media

RNW Media is a centre of expertise that builds digital communities for social change.

mapMarkerGrey RNW Media, Witte Kruislaan, Hi...

Human.nyc

Our team spent two years listening to homeless New Yorkers. This website aims to summarize our findings and push forward sensible reforms that we developed alongside our homeless neighbors.

mapMarkerGrey Civic Hall, West 22nd Street, ...

Count the Nation

The USC Annenberg Innovation Lab and Wise Entertainment have assembled a powerful coalition of experts in media, communications, data, technology and journalism to ensure everyone knows how much census participation benefits their community.

mapMarkerGrey Los Angeles, CA...

Terrastories

Open source, offline-compatible geostorytelling application

mapMarkerGrey Pusugrunu, Suriname...

Humans of the Balkans

Just a fancy way for us to collect and display nice photos, interesting stories and inspiring people from the region.

mapMarkerGrey Balkans...

Planned Parenthood Saved Me

We're posting stories from people whose lives were saved or changed because they had access to affordable, compassionate healthcare through Planned Parenthood.

Protect Our Care

A campaign leveraging personal stories about Pre-Existing Conditions, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act to defend it from legislative attacks

mapMarkerGrey Austin, Texas, USA...

Organizing

Much of narrative change practice draws on principles from community or political organizing. As such, the robust set of tools and practices associated with digital organizing can be useful narrative tech. This includes: email, SMS text-to-action programs, and digital ad buys.

Acronym toolkit of digital organizing tools

At Acronym, we’re building a new campaign playbook. We believe the way we communicate has evolved, the electorate is online and when we invest in digital media and organizing strategies to move the needle, we will win more elections + leave behind the infrastructure we need to build lasting political power. At Acronym, we’re building […]

Coworker.org

Coworker.org is a platform for worker voice. Find out why employees of some of the world's largest companies are using Coworker.org to win change.

Internal Coordination & Communication

Narrative change work takes a high level of coordination. From email to WhatsApp and Slack to web conferencing, the tools we use to coordinate with each other, activists, members, volunteers and other audiences can help build and maintain alignment, operationalize narrative work, and connect a narrative “nervous system” of collaborators.

Slack

Slack gives your team the power and alignment you need to do your best work.

mapMarkerGrey 500 Howard St, San Francisco, ...

Rocket Chat

Rocket.Chat is free, unlimited and open source. Replace email, HipChat & Slack with the ultimate team chat software solution

mapMarkerGrey 2711 Centerville Rd 400 Wilmin...

the Narrative Initiative teamCurated by Narrative Initiative

Narrative Initiative is a training and networking resource for leaders and organizations dedicated to building fairer, more inclusive societies. They catalyze durable narrative change in order to make equity and social justice common sense.

Curators are not responsible for all of the entries in their categories.

Would you like to become a curator of the Civic Tech Field Guide? Drop us a quick note.