Running Mass awareness campaigns

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Today we had a meeting at Zyxware of a few members GNU/Linux User Group Trivandrum. We had a discussion on figuring out plans to organize awareness campaigns against the proprietary standard OOXML and to popularize ODF.

Our objective is to make people aware of the issues going on in the document standards sphere specifically regarding the dangers of accepting a proprietary standard as a public standard and to build awareness about the Open Document Format (ODF).

As with any awareness campaigns we need to reach out to the public and there are two different ways of doing this. One is to get the help of media through some event or program that the media would want to cover. Such a program or event should be read-worthy or view-worthy for the media to cover. This strategy will be effective in reaching out to the masses in large number. However the quality of the awareness built would be low as the content published by media would be small. This would however be very effective in building interest among the public to know more about the cause and a secondary medium of information like a website or a call center can serve to supplement this strategy

A second way is a grass root level strategy where you conduct programs like classes, seminars, presentations for small groups of people. This method is very effective in mobilizing volunteer base and in spreading quality awareness as you have more control over the content that is disseminated to the people. But this strategy is far slower than the first one in reaching out to the people.

The right way to go would be a combination of both strategies. GNU/Linux Users Group Trivandrum is on the right path in this regard. We have been organizing classes on Free Software in schools and colleges. We have also started with public events like the GNU/Linux Install Fest which was widely publicized by the print media.

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