Chronicling the Bottom Up
Connection Revolution

Bottom Up New Media Consulting by Rob Kall:

Who you'll be hiring: Rob Kall
If you do a google search for "liberal news" or "progressive opinon," ranks first. Technorati ranks OEN one of the top 100 blogs overall and for a good number of specific categories. I founded opednews and architected the content management system and social media and SEO strategies that led it to reach its current status. 

The web and the explosion of new media, social media, web 2.0 and social networking are changing YOUR world fast. And the changes are affecting your organization and it's ability to achieve its goals. 

You don't have to spend tens of thousands of dollars or hire a new person to get your company or organization up to speed. We can help you develop affordable strategies that can actually cut your costs and boost your reach, your access to information about your millieu and your ability to nimbly respond to adverse coverage.

Our packages start at as little as $325 

What we do:

-assess: We'll review whatever profile you send us, then do on-line research and analysis, yielding metrics on your org's online presence, website, representation in the blogosphere, social media, etc. 
We evaluate 
  • your current needs, objectives, knowledge, strategies,
  • your current on-line presence, tools used, social media used,  reach, profile, assets, liabilities, metrics
  • your current staff resources. Most orgs have staffers with skills and knowledge they're not yet tapping. This means you may be able to implement new media strategies with little or no extra cost.
  • Your current business and career model. Taking the bottom-up approach can transform the way you see and relate to your work, your business, your clients. Yes. It can change your company and your life.
  • Discuss: after doing an analysis and reviewing the materials you provide us with, we'll discuss your current goals, strategies, plans, concerns and comment on options, possibilities, risks, liabilities.
  • recommend; We'll recommend specific strategies to build your way with specific steps towards reaching your goals. You'll leave with concrete steps you can take.

Just as the the invention of the written word helped to bring about civilization and Gutenberg's press helped to bring about the renaissance and democracy, the internet has started another revolution that is already well under way. 

The world is rapidly shifting from a top-down way of operating to a bottom-up approach, with strategies, technologies, even ways of thinking and working that make it essential you learn to see, think and interact that way. People under 30  were marinated in the internet and that has drastically changed the way their brains work, If you want to reach under 30's, you MUST understand the bottom up mind and way of seeing, thinking, relating, communicating and working.

There is a whole new world of ways you can use new tools, technologies and bottom up ways of doing and seeing to reach the people and organizations you serve. Some of these new tools are essential to reach the under 30 generation which, with it's different, bottom-up mind, uses different technologies than over 30s.

The question is, how can you tap the power of the new media to grow your organization and keep up with the competition that is using new media technologies.

New Media applies to all the means for communicating that have developed in recent years-- internet, email, websites, blogs, facebook, twitter and many more. The "New Media" has become a Disruptive technology that has radically changed and improved the way things have been, creating a much more level playing field, where any person or organization can access the 
communication-sphere-- mediasphere, blogosphere, etc.-- while before only the largest corporations and most powerful politicians and the wealthy had access. 

new media or social media expert analyzes the current interests, needs, resources and strategies of an organization and develops new strategies for integrating new media tools and bottom up approaches. New media strategies and approaches can be applied to:

Relationships: community, staff, advisors, board, volunteers, recruiting, retention, motivation

Promotion: Marketing, sales, prospecting, researching competitors, branding

Products and Services promotion, development, feedback, endorsement, trust building

events promotion, pre-event community, relationships, content development, invitations, 

Public Relations in the new bottom-up world, PR is a two way process. There are tools you can use, at no cost, but staffing, for tracking your brand, your people, your industry. And there are essential approaches you need to take to make sure your org and your brand are effectively represented and promoted with both responses and initiatives. Of course PR is also used to defend against adverse events.

When you consider tapping the power of bottom-up technologies and processes, the following ideas and concepts come into play:

Wisdom of the Crowds the book, with the subtitle; Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations, 
Crowdsourcing; tapping the knowledge, experience and creativity of the crowd, the grassroots, your client base to develop new projects, products, conferences, talks, tests, etc.
The 80/20 or Power Curve or Pareto's Law which suggests that 80% of the work, the ideas, etc. gets done by 20% of the people... or less.
The Long tail a reason to pay attention to the other 80%

words to be emphasized in pitch
Social Media
Web 2.0
Social Networking
Awareness Building
issue advocacy
online communications, 
volunteer mobilization, 
organizational coordination 
consulting services designed to successfully integrate online strategies with your overall objectives and goals.
Optimizing email
integrating print with internet
building email mailing lists

Website considerations we explore with you and your team:
  •  Domain names
  •  content
  •  community
  •  members free and paid-- why have both
  •  retention
  •  repeat visits
  •  search engine optimization
  •  identifying in-house content resource assets

Reaching under 30s
  •  their neuropsychology
  •  their preferred communication tech
  •  the communication tools they don't use.

  •  using it for your org
  •  using it to evaluate competition
  •  using it to check out key people and potential employees

  •  to tweet or not
  •  reaching beyond followers
  •  finding clients
  •  finding news
  •  finding competition
  • identifying third party websites and tools to max your twitter efforts

  •  ideas
  •  products
  •  analysis
  •  planning

  •  reasons to do it
  •  possibilities
  •  responding to the blogsphere
  •  reasons NOT to do it
  •  costs-- staffing, time, investment

tracking your brand and people on the web
  •  using google, twitter, etc.

Web Metrics
 Many sites and tools for assessing how you, your work, your site are doing

by the hour $225, 
8 hours for $1500 
2 hour per month contract for 24 hours total over a year $3500.

$325 Quick Website and web strategy analysis and consultation.
Up to an hour of review, analysis, discussion and critique of your website and other web/social media strategies, then a brief written report with recommendations on look, features, layout. I ask what your goal is then make sure to offer you analyses that, if implemented, will insure that the goal is being maximally served by your site and the related tools and widgets available.

$500 introductory consulting package: 
-Up to one hour doing research, reviewing material you send
-one hour on phone discussing goals, needs, suggesting new strategies, modifications
-30-60 minutes writing up report with recomendations

$1200 consulting package: (up to 8 hours of time included. Up to Six hours on-site. Add $150/hr for additional time on site.) 
  • -pre-visit review of org presence on web and review of materials supplied by client.  90 minutes  
  • -on-site presentation to principals and staffers on bottom up mind and new media revolution. 60 minutes
  • -on-site consult  of discussions with principals on bottom up new media needs 60-90 minutes
  • -review of website functions, layout, goals:  explore layout, functions, membership, content, tagging, blogging, tie-ins to other efforts 30-120 minutes
  • -discussion with staffers aimed at developing ideas and appraising existing skills and knowledge base.  90 minutes
  • -on-site training in use of tools we conclude will be useful-- facebook, google, twitter and more. 60-120 minutes
  • -Generate Report with recommendations  60 minutes
 Warning. This day could change your vision of your company and your relationship with your employees and your clients and customers.

Rob Kall Credentials:
-on the web since 1993 and have developed web software and a website that is ranked among the top 100 in the world, out of millions. 
-I've consulted for non-profit associations, businesses and individuals. 
-Built a professional platform that includes being ranked among the top 200 Print/Online columnists
-Designed from scratch a powerful content management site
-founded a site with over 60,000 registered members, over 29,000 opt-in subscribers to a daily newsletter
-over 3000 followers on twitter (between several accounts, 1700+ in the largest) but reach many more through techniques.
-Understanding of liabilities of over 30 year olds who generally suffer from top-down blindness.
-Understanding of communication needs of under 30 year olds, which are very different than, for example, boomers.
-write about new/social media on huffingtonpost
-extensive training at web 2.0, social networking, blogging  and new media conferences.

An article on Social media consulting rates:
Social Media Consulting Rates -- You Get What You Pay For

The Bottom-Up Revolution by Rob Kall
presented at the conference, June 1, 2011

Here's the material I used to do my presentation-- longer than the 15 minutes I was given-- distilled down.

First, the quotes I collected to choose from:

There's a native American saying:  "It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story."

"I honestly believe the future's going to be millions of little things saving us."
Pete Seeger on Democracy Now

You white people are so strange. We think it is very primitive for a child to have only two parents.
Australian Aboriginal Elder

"We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefiting from their success -- only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development."
Ronald Reagan

The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
Chief Seattle Squamish Indian Chief

Hope has never trickled down. It has always sprung up."   
Studs Terkel, Hope Dies Last.

Conversion to the people requires a profound rebirth. Those who undergo it must take on a new form of existence; they can no longer remain as they were.
Paulo Freire

The pleasure in complete domination over another person (or other animate creature) is the very essence of the sadistic drive. Another way of formulating the same thought is to say that the aim of sadism is to transform a man into a thing, something animate into something inanimate, since by complete and absolute control the living loses one essential quality of life freedom
Erich Fromm

Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs. The Titanic was built by professionals
Marian Wright-Edelman

If there is going to be change," he said, "real change, it will have to work its way from the bottom up, from the people themselves.
Howard Zinn, author, People's History of the United States

..."free, instant, worldwide connectivity" is the future.
Bill Moyers

What makes eBay successful... the real value and the real power at eBay is the community. It's the buyers and sellers coming together and forming a marketplace.
Pierre Omidyar

"Not only will we have to repent for the sins of bad people; but we also will have to repent for the appalling silence of good people"
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is in the giving up of self that human beings can find the most ecstatic and lasting, solid, durable joy of life.
M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled

* * *

In May of 2008 I was talking to Joe Trippi, who's been credited with being the first campaign manager to run a campaign using the web-- for Howard Dean's Democratic presidential primary campaign. Trippi pointed out that Hillary Clinton had the most powerful top down campaign in recent history, and she was being defeated by Barack Obama's bottom up campaign.

I'd also recently come to the realization that my website, was taking off, with around half a million uniques and 1.5 to two million page views, because I was getting my users more involved, letting them decide and getting their input on major decisions. This was a much more bottom up way of running things.

A few weeks later, at Personal Democracy forum, I had a chance to bounce my emerging theory that we're in the middle of a bottom up revolution, off anthropologists, web and social media luminaries and pioneers like Vint Cerf.

I've come to conclude that the social media, new media explosion is one firework, one manifestation of something much, much bigger-- a bottom up tidal wave that is touching all aspects of our lives-- business, work, relationships, education, sports, the arts-- even the way our brains work.

This is NOT something you can avoid. It's not something your grandmother can avoid.

If you don't get it, don't understand it, then it will wash over you and leave you behind.

If you DO get it and understand it, then you can tap its enormous power and ride it into a future that it will indelibly change.

Yes, Twitter and Facebook and Linked in and Youtube and Google and blogs, etcetera are major. But they are just one dimension of the bottom up explosion-- the transition our world, our culture, our business, our lives, even our brains are going through, from top down to bottom up, from inside out to all sides in.

The bottom up explosion encompasses the technologies that Clay Shirky describes in his book Here Comes Everybody-- technologies that enable groups to form and function at a fraction of the cost they used to.

The Bottom up wave replaces a handful of judges with hundreds of thousands of viewers phoning in American Idol winners. Even reality shows are bottom up compared to totally scripted network entertainment.

Thousands of websites are using crowd sourcing to make product development decisions.

Businesses are using sites like elance to get many potential providers to bid on service opportunities.

While I'm using the word "Wave" to describe the bottom up revolution, it's really more of a spiral, because the truth is, the earliest humans, when they lived in tribes, were very much bottom up. Everyone had a say. Everyone shared food. Everyone worked as relative equals.

Agriculture displaced hunter gatherers. Then, civilization came to be on a top down wave and revolution, bringing humanity hierarchy, control, domination, monarchs and slaves.

Let's talk some definitions for Top-down and Bottom-up.

Top down is about centralized control, directing orders and communications out, in a one way, one to many direction.

Bottom up is cooperative, participatory, decentralized, connected, integrated, with feedback loops, with many to many communication.

The bottom up revolution has been catalyzed by the internet and mobile phones--
technologies that have marinated the brains of people under 30 so their brains literally operate differently. If you are over 30, you need to understand HOW their brains work differently. If you are under 30,. then you want to understand how over thirty brains work.

For example, My 78 year old cousin is hurt and angry that her grandchildren don't call her. The truth is, under 30's don't like to use the phone to call anyone. They prefer texting, or connecting through facebook. If they're going to talk with their voice, it is very likely when they are playing MMPOLGs like World of Warcraft.

talk about how emerging technologies are affecting the way the brain works... Ten years ago, I volunteered to help grade "novels" 32 page cursive "books" my fifth grader's class wrote. I found that every boy used the video game story structure-- go through a level, confront and fight a boss, go to the next level... These technologies have unknowable effects on our culture.

Let's talk about top down and bottom brain functions.
Bottom up brain functions provide the raw material-- basic sensory information-- sight, smell, hearing, touch. Under five percent of the brain is devoted to bottom up processes. This is the reality based part of our perceptions. The rest of the brain's functions are top down-- analysis, interpretation, association, hierarchizing, memory. Stories are built by the top down brain based on bottom up core material. The top down brain can become rigid and reflexive.  The closer we get to that core bottom up material the more power we have over the way we see and understand the world.

Nicholas Carr has written, in his book, THE SHALLOWS, that we're becoming shallower. Look at the difference in the length of the average scene in a movie from 1940 to 2011 and we go from two or three minutes to half a second. The rhythm is verrry different.

An exciting development that I see evolving is the transition from an information era to a connection era. When Facebook passed Google last year, on some of the traffic stats, that told me that we'd entered the age of connection. That's what social networking is all about. Even google's algorithms are based on connections, ie., links.

Just as far north indigenous peoples have hundreds of words for snow, understanding the bottom up connection revolution requires that we understand hundreds of ways that people connect and interact.

Yesterday, I learned of a new movie. I checked out the website and searched for a share button. There was none. I was shocked. We take them for granted now. Soon, we'll be sharing sales on items at stores, sharing tv shows as we watch them. The technology will evolve quickly, since it's mostly software. Already, the facebook sharing code that I put on my site several years ago, when very few sites had facebook sharing, is out of date. We replaced it just recently. Things are changing very fast and it will only speed up more.

The connection economy means that you will be earning more of your income from the bottom up, that you will be working more and more at bottom up, connection related jobs.

Depending on top down systems is risky. They don't like little people. They llike to deal with other top down operators. So you may find yourself working more with affiliate programs, with income sources that are based on many, many little payments, like google adsense or micropayments.

Now, it's not that top down systems, models and processes are going to disappear. Leaders will always be needed, but bottom up leadership is very different than top down leadership. Trust is a major factor. I asked Craig Newmark what the next big thing was going to be on the web and he replied that Trust and trust technologies were going to very significant. More trust speeds up and empowers business and tranasactions and cooperation. That means letting go of control.

My 1993 25th anniversary copy of Paulo Friere's Pedagogy of the Oppressed indicated that over 500,000 copies had been sold. The book  describes how oppressed people and their oppressors are both victims who are dehumanized. Freire says that only the oppressed, not the oppressors can rescue the oppressed and the oppressors from the situation. The oppressed have to do it themselves. People can come in and help, but only by empowering the oppressed through education and awareness raising.

You may wonder "How does this apply to a social media conference?" The fact is, the oppressed are usually not even aware that they are oppressed until they are awakened. Your clients are very often not aware that they are already immersed in a bottom up revolution. We have the opportunity to wake people up so they can begin to tap the powers they have to raise themselves, to empower themselves in this new world.

Take one of my clients, an author...  top down mind-set. He had 50 people he'd trained and certified in his technique, but he didn't trust them to write articles for a newsletter I proposed. He couldn't let go of control. Bottom up engagement requires trust that opens us to interdependence and cooperation.

The tools we offer are not just marketing tools. They are not just technologies for reaching friends more often and more easily. They are tools that can and have begun to change the world, tools that are eroding thousands of years old accretions of power and cultural inertia.

We see this in Tunisia and Egypt and the Arab Spring. We see it in the collapse of the newspaper business as it is being replaced by online news, blogs and twitter as sources of news.

When I interviewed twitter inventor Jack Dorsey, he told me that he envisions twitter becoming like a utility company with applications in every area of our lives.

Prometheus stole fire from the gods.

The tools you are working with have the power to wreak massive changes upon the world. They've already begun to do so. So think big and look for new connections. We're in a new age of connections and, if you're doing your job, you'll see bottom up connections every way you turn.

# # #

Rob Kall is the founder developer of, ranked among the top 100 blogs in the world, overall, by The site uses a content management system designed and architected by Rob and has over 50,000 registered members, 40+ volunteer editors, over 125,000 articles, reaching 250,000 to over 800,000 unique visitors a month. Based on his experience as a successful web developer and strategist consults with companies, non-profits and individuals in developing online strategies that include social media, website, email, and community development helping clients to tap bottom up resources, strengths and opportunities.  
twitter: @bottomupmind @robkall @opednews