Tactic 4 - Amplify personal stories

This tactic is useful when people affected by the issue are not being consulted, and as a way to give an issue depth that resonates with the target audience. This tactics card includes:

To download this card click here.



Tactic 4 - Amplify personal stories from Tactical Technology Collective on Vimeo.

Examples from this video:



To draw attention to laws banning women from driving cars in Saudi Arabia, Areej Khan, a Saudi artist and graphic designer living in the US, created the 'We the Women' campaign. The project asks women to respond to the question, “To drive or not drive?” by writing their answers on stickers that they can post in public spaces. Areej asked participants to photograph their stickers and post the photos to the project's Flickr photo group and on its Facebook page. "People preferred to post the stickers anonymously, by email to me, and then I posted them," Areej said. The project received news media attention in Saudi Arabia and in the US. "Most of the people participating on the Facebook page are against women driving," said Areej. "There's back and forth and debate on the group. I had to be prepared that I can't control what this is at the end. It's about finding a solution as community, not what I think or am attached to." Although the project gets many comments opposing women driving in Saudi Arabia, Arjeej finds that, "a lot of people say they think that will change soon, because of the voice given to women by projects like this."

Tools used: Facebook, Flickr, YouTube. Stickers can be downloaded from Flickr and printed. The website used HTML, JavaScript.

Reach: Over 2000 people participated on the Facebook page in the first three months of the project (April-June 2009), with 25 sticker designs submitted. Most of the sticker images were sent from Saudi Arabia.

Cost: USD$2000 (web hosting, sticker printing) Resources: One volunteer staffs the project. A local printer in Saudi Arabia made 3000 stickers for the project for free.

Time: Seven months to learn web design, plan and execute. After the launch, it took only two days for the first participant to post a photo.

Level of difficulty: 2 out of 5.

Links to learn more:

Image: http://www.n7nudrive.com/



1. Stories can be told with objects as well as words. Blank Noise posted photos of clothing that women were wearing when they were harassed, and also used them in street demonstrations.

2. People can tell a personal story anonymously by mobile phone, either with a voice call or a text message. These stories can then be sent from their phones to your campaign, or uploaded directly from their phones, and shared on one website.

3. Tagging, or labeling a piece of online content with a keyword, can let you aggregate many stories on one website. You can ask people to upload photos, videos, and blog posts on different websites and all use the same unique tag for these posts. On your website, you can display all the stories with that tag.

4. Many people in different regions can each contribute a short video or consequence of photos to make one longer video. This allows people who do not know how to edit video or add music and effects to collaborate over distance.

5. For videos where participants cannot show their faces on film, using animation or puppetry, if appropriate for the tone of the video, can still feel very personal.



Creating a mash-up site: We the Women’s website pulls many people’s stories from Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Google News in to one space. If you want to put together a simple website, you can use a free blog, like WordPress, and add content from other websites so that your site updates automatically when new stories are added elsewhere. If you are not working on sensitive issues where content must be moderated before being published, a mash-up site can bring many voices together quickly and simply.




“If I had the chance, I’d have launched the initiative when I was in Saudi Arabia. I’m from there, but some people suggested that I was an outsider because I was living in the United States at the time I began the project. I’ll be going back to Saudi Arabia to continue it.”


“This is about people taking ownership over their own stories. It also means that the media is something that we don’t dictate. The media comes from people themselves.”


“In a digital era, anyone can see a piece of footage, and it just takes one person to make a copy and it could be up online. We encourage people to really think through and understand the potential consequences and to make an informed choice.”

Read the whole of Tactic 4. This card includes more links, tips and examples: DOWNLOAD CARD (PDF)