NYR IndyApp: Networking functions
The IndyApp platform has been specifically designed to provide every autonomous group with the shared tools needed to collectively self-form as a decentralised campaigning organisation. The IndyApp platform is ready, but it is only a facilitator for the collective will of the participating groups. If the autonomous groups and their activists do not take responsibility for developing their own grassroots campaigning organisations, then no one else will or can …and as we have all seen up until now (even with IndyRef2 looming) no one else has!
By explaining the key functions of the NYR IndyApp platform, and how they work, the practical grassroots campaign capabilities of the IndyApp become clear.
Function 1: The ‘Front Door’
Each group has a public ‘Front Door’ on the App. This displays information such as, Group name, google map location, meeting times, venue, events, group campaigns etc. It also has a group profile page with the option of a paypal ‘Donate direct to this local group’ button. All information on a group’s ‘Front Door’ is the responsibility of that Group. Most importantly, each ‘Front Door’ has a Contact/Join button to give the general public a direct way to contact every registered local group.
IMPORTANT: Each group is responsible for answering their own enquires from the general public. These are made by email.
Function 2: The ‘Search Page’
On FREE download of the IndyApp, interested members of the public, who may have had no previous experience with the Yes movement, can now easily find and contact any registered group in Scotland. This simplicity of contact is key to encouraging wider public participation in the Yes movement as it makes local contact with the grass-roots possible for folk as soon as they have an interest in getting active. Harnessing that window of enthusiasm to act, as soon as it happens in new activists, is such an important recruitment moment for Yes. Not one of those opportunities should ever be lost to the the movement. Ignoring and mismanaging those ‘first contacts’ was perhaps the major failing of Yes HQ during IndyRef1 and it remains a great example of how a decentralised structure, where local groups respond directly to their own public enquires, overcomes centralised problems entirely.
So, once a ‘Yes curious’ person has downloaded and registered on the IndyApp platform they are presented with 3 simple search options.
IndyMap locates all registered Groups and Yes hubs on an interactive Map of Scotland. Each pin, when selected, takes you through to that group’s ‘Front Door’ allowing the user to browse each group’s public information, make direct contact or request to join.
The IndyMap Function is a powerful campaigning tool in itself, as it graphically displays the full scale of the grassroots Independence movement, community by community, all around Scotland. As new groups form and register on the platform, IndyMap automatically updates. This means that, for the first time, we have a way to properly gauge the Yes movement as it grows! What was previously hidden, IndyMap now makes visually obvious, and whenever viewed, boosts Yessers and demoralises Unionists in equal measure.
Local Group Search
Users can simply type in their postcode and the App directs them to their nearest 21 Local Indy groups. This makes previously difficult to locate groups visible and contacting them simple! User search options include, Postcode, Name, Town and Web (for non-geographical groups)
Find Local Indy Events: All search results are automatically displayed on an interactive map of Scotland or listed by date.
This nationwide function allows any user to search all local Indy events being held anywhere in Scotland. Events are searched by selecting a location and date range. Each group simply adds its own events (or events that interest them) to their own group ‘Front Door’ and the IndyApp platform collects this information and allows it to be searched by any IndyApp user. Find Local Indy Events: All search results are automatically displayed on an interactive map of Scotland or listed by date.
Group Membership on IndyApp
Once a user joins a group (or groups) on the IndyApp platform, many more networking functions become available to them…
Function 3: Private Messaging By joining their group on the IndyApp, every member automatically gains the ability to direct message all their fellow group members. Either individually, as a selection of individuals, or collectively as an entire membership. No need for email lists. This makes private communication between every group member an automatic capability and gives any new members direct contact with the whole group as soon as they join. Properly integrating new faces into the group network is important, if Yes groups are to expand quickly and effectively enough during the heat of a campaign.
National Editor Messaging
Every Group Editor (ideally three from each group) have the ability to contact every other Group in the Network (currently 170+ and growing). This is done by messaging each individual group Editor, A selection of Group Editors or the entire Group network of editors collectively.
Contacting non-group members
The NYR can also private message all IndyAppers that have registered on the IndyApp but not yet joined a group.
This function alone is a massive communication breakthrough for everyone in the grass-roots. However, the private messaging function is really just a support to the main ‘local and national forum’ group communication functions.
Function 4: ‘Local Forums’
These forums are ‘General’, ‘Urgent’ and ‘Our Nationals’ and together they allow an entire Group membership to network with one another easily, 24hrs a day. As well as post and comment on their own group’s General forum, every group member can also read what’s going on in the ‘National Forum’ of posts made by other local groups in the network.
If a member thinks a particular national post will be of interest to their group, they can post it down to the group’s ‘Our Nationals’ forum. This means that national forum posts (originating from groups all around the country) will begin to get brought into local forums for discussion and possible participation, with selection filtered by the interests of each local group’s own membership.
Urgent Forum: If a local or national post is time sensitive or requires the attention of the whole group, it can simply be posted in the urgent forum.
Through communication using these forums, folk in groups can participate in local activism ‘as and when’ they can. If that means picking up messages and discussing local or national campaigning ideas before work or late into the night then that is possible. In this way it is the overall interests of the membership that start to lead debate and influence campaign direction within their group. It also means that debate can just as easily happen between regular meetings as well as during them.
Function 5: ‘Resources’
These functions allow each member to list their own resources and create a collective group resources library. This is accessible by the whole group, with each post listed under titles the headings of Skill Sets, Equipment, Supplies, Venues, Media Contacts. In this way the groups give their entire membership easy access to local campaign resources and group capabilities.
This will encourage and simplify sourcing the resources needed to put campaign ideas into action, no matter how big a group becomes or how busy things get during the heat of Indyref2. Each person posting their resources locally can also choose to make each of those same resources available to every person in the group network by posting them nationally. This way, if your group does not have a particular resource, it can hopefully be found by searching ‘national resources’.
Function 6: The ‘National Forum’
This allows each local group membership to post ideas they collectively agree to be of use to other groups onto the National Forum, where ALL IndyApp members of Local groups can read, assess and share national posts with their own local group membership using their group’s ‘Our Nationals’ forum. This is the forum where their own group can then discuss other group’s national proposals, and perhaps decide as a group, to get involved.
In this way collective support for campaign ideas can quickly garner support from many different local groups across the country. Encouraging the formation of nationally organised and supported campaigns that were originally sparked from successful local initiatives or popular ideas.
By choosing interesting national posts to share down to their own group’s ‘Our Nationals’ forum, each individual member begins to networks their own local group membership with the different ideas and campaign proposals being made by other groups from all around the country.
Similarly any group can decide as a membership what ideas or experiences of their own should be shared to help the movement nationally. In this way, each autonomous group is able to influence and be influenced. Helping the movement develop and share each groups practical ideas, skills and enthusiasms. By having at least one local member reading and sharing posts of interest on the national forum, local group memberships become aware and informed of how the grass-root movement is thinking and developing across the country… It is the organic nature of this information exchange (and practical support) among autonomous Indy groups that make the potential of such an organised but completely decentralised campaigning network so exciting!
The ‘National Forum’ also has its equivalent in the previously discussed national ‘Resources’ function, where individual group members can share any of their own local resources they feel suitable for regional or country wide application. Any group missing a particular resource locally can, alternatively, easily look to source it nationally. These ‘National Resources’ can also be used to supply and support the running of national campaigns instigated from National Forum posts.
Function 7: Action Rooms
Action Rooms are for organising campaigning action within your group.
Once new campaign ideas have been discussed and identified in the Forum, all those interested in doing the real work needed to turn a good idea into a practical campaign proposal can take the idea forward by opening a dedicated ‘Action room’. This is where those committed to the success of a proposal can privately develop it and find practical ways to put it into action. ‘Action Rooms’, as a concept, work equally well at national level (between groups), as it does at local level (within groups). ‘National Action Rooms’ are places where groups can send representatives to develop campaigning ideas which they, as a group, have decided to support. However, ‘National Action Rooms’ also allow individuals to get involved in specific campaigning that their own group may not be interested enough in to collectively support. This means that the specialist knowledge, experience and campaign interests of members found within the different group memberships can also be harnessed, by those interested individuals joining a National Action Room direct, to more effectively organise themselves in private spaces to advance their campaigns with support from across the country.
Practical example of an Action Room
A good practical example of this IndyApp function is how Yes merchandise ordering by the grass-roots could be achieved locally and nationally.
A ‘National Action Room’ is set up (from a National Forum post), where each participating group puts forward a ‘merchandise member’ responsible for their own group’s Yes merchandise needs and for coordinating their orders with their fellow ‘Action room’ members representing the merchandise requirements of other groups from all around Scotland.
This creates a collective mass order, made up of all the local orders and paid for by each group’s share. This ‘national’ ‘order’ is then placed by ayeMail (or a similar pro indy organisation) in order to take full financial advantage of economies of scale when dealing with suppliers. Once the order has been filled, It is divided back into the original constituent group orders, distributed locally to each group and then out to their community, organised by their own local group’s ‘merchandise distribution’ Action Room.
This is the relatively straightforward mechanism through which Yes merchandise can be ordered, paid for and distributed nationwide by the grassroots themselves. No need to rely solely on a central Yes HQ again. By creating alternative methods of supply for ‘Yes Gear’ to the groups, we can collectively lessen the pressure and bottlenecks that a centralised HQ will inevitable produce during the heat of our next IndyRef campaign.
Action Rooms as a guide to group Activity
As Action Rooms form, they are listed as part of the local group or as National Action Rooms of the wider movement. This means that any member of a Yes group on the IndyApp can easily scroll through their own group’s action rooms to see what the group is actually doing, and make direct contact with any Action Room campaigns that they would like to get involved in and help deliver.
Similarly, any group member can browse the list of National Action Rooms to see what the movement is doing, to make contact and participate if desired.
Other Action Room examples
As with merchandise, Action Rooms will work just as effectively for Wee Blue Book distribution or for groups setting up and organising national tours to share speakers, musicians, films, events, fundraising etc. among themselves and other interested local groups around the country. ‘National Action Rooms’ have been specifically designed to bring together the specialist knowledge, skills and experience previously locked away in local group memberships, spread throughout Scotland. Action Rooms can collect together all that specialist knowledge and then by working together as a group, bring it to bear on difficult campaigning issues considered important to the grass-roots.‘Action Room’ deliberations and proposals can then be posted on the ‘national forum’ for any group to discuss, consider and if desired, act upon.
This is a way that even relatively complex issues can start to be tackled by the grassroots as a movement and then solved at local, regional and national levels. Each local group being free to select and adapt whichever ideas or campaign strategies they feel are best suited to bring their own communities toward that vital Yes vote. From collective sharing of resources, ideas and campaign strategies, all unmediated by party-political considerations or influence…
The Yes Movement’s IndyRef fighting structures self-formed around the needs of ‘local grassroots’ community focused campaigning. That is what gave Yes it’s incredible campaigning power back in 2014. Local group autonomy is a foundational principle of the Yes movement, and it’s the decentralised autonomy of local groups that form the bedrock of successful nationwide ‘local campaigning’. Put simply, the IndyApp platform has been built to collectively multiply the campaigning power of each of those autonomous groups, through enhanced networking capabilities and direct Yes to Yes communications.
The IndyApp is there to enhance, multiply, network and collectively build upon all the organisational and campaigning strengths of Scotland’s existing grassroots Yes movement. Only by working and organising together will we win for our communities and deliver a Yes vote for Scotland’s future.
I hope this outline of the basic functions of the IndyApp has made clear the ambition and scope of the NYR IndyApp platform. Please remember however, this is an App and it has been carefully designed for simplicity and ease of use, so articles trying to explain it in any detail are by their very nature much, much more complex than the IndyApp is itself!
And so… if you want to see the formation of a powerfully networked non-party political Scottish grass-roots movement and help us practically train everyone on the IndyApp platform to help achieve this, please donate what you can.
Many thanks for all your support.