Freelancer’s Union – A Case Study

Freelancers Union (http://www.freelancersunion.org)
Founded: 1995
Members: Over 130,000
No Union dues

Past Campaigns:
One of the recent campaigns that the Freelancers Union waged was against New York City’s Unincorporated Business Tax.  Under this tax, Freelancers were being doubly taxed, so the union’s campaign urged lawmakers to tax Freelancers no more than traditional employees.  Another movement in which the Union participated was in support of national health care reform.  The Union intended on attaining quality, affordable health coverage for all independent employees.

Social Media:
The Freelancers Union adopts a variety of Information and Communication Technologies to organize and transfer information to their members.  The Union has expanded their use of social media to a variety of mediums that can be categorized as public social media, blogs, and forums.  The union website contains the most thorough information about the Unions activities, but the social media is the interactive network that allows the members to engage with the leaders and one another.  Each of the social media networks connects to the main webpage as the hub of information.  Because the Freelancers Union is involved in a variety of campaigns, social media is a particularly effective tool for spreading awareness amongst members on different movements.  A brief explanation of each of the tools follows:

Public Social Media:
1)    The Facebook page for The Freelancers Union is an actively updated page with 6,880 followers.  The page explains the basic information about the union and it has some postings that have sparked conversation amongst members.  It has a section for upcoming union events and currently there is a webinar for new members scheduled on January 26, 2011.  The Facebook is connected to Vimeo (video social media site) that contains informational and useful videos.

2)    The Twitter page for The Freelancers Union has a similar level of activity as the Facebook page, except with just 2,867 followers.  There are new postings every few days with links that forward users to web pages that allow them to take action in a given campaign.  For example, there is a link on the Freelancers Union Twitter to the Working Families site asking users to send an email to their legislator in support of the movement.  One can also receive SMS updates from the Freelancer Union by signing up on the website.

3)    The Flickr page shares photos and videos related to different Freelancers Union movements.  The site also supports discussion between union members, so they can share useful media.

Blog: https://be.freelancersunion.org/blog/
The Blog is very similar to the Facebook page, because it updates users on current events and related information . This blog posts important information and it gives members or viewers the opportunity to comment on the posts.

Forum: https://be.freelancersunion.org/forum/topic.php?id=1005
There is also a Forum supported on the Freelancers Union website.  People post a variety of discussion topics in this forum dealing with work support, current event discussion, as well as a labor related classifieds.  One must be a member to engage in this of the social media. The forum allows members to engage in dialogue and provide support to one another.  This forum post is very popular and has received many responses. There is also a classifieds page where people can sell, buy, or rent equipment and offices for their work.

Highlighted uses of Social Media:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Freelancers-Union/26962494725
This page is well organized and utilizes many of the capabilities of Facebook.  This page allows viewers to learn about and become involved in any of the Free Lanceer Union’s campaigns.  The page could be improved by creating more opportunities for members to interact with each other and union leaders.

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