Viva La Vegan!

There's a new application to keep animal lovers and activists updated on events all around Australia. It's the Animal Effect App from Communicate 31 and Clare Mann.


Clare took some time to explain the App and answer a few questions for me recently.

Why this App?
Animal lovers and activists want to go to animal related events, contribute the animal social justice and be around like-minded people.  There are lots of events all over Australia and most people hear about them via websites, Facebook pages, Facebook postings, twitter, email campaigns, word of mouth etc.  The problem is twofold – 1) overwhelm of receiving the same information from multiple sources and 2) missing things if you are not in front of your screen at the right time or you haven’t liked certain pages. To avoid disappointment, animal activists often open everything and get overwhelmed, reducing the already small amount of their precious time best spent doing advocacy work.  I wanted to solve that problem so I could know well in advance what was going on, attend events I enjoy, not be disappointed by missing things and support animal organisations who need to reach people like me to attend live events.

As a communications company, Communicate 31 thought there must be a better way to get everyone communicating, especially with today’s technology and everyone using phones.  There needed to be a smartphone app to bring together in one place, all the wonderful events/campaigns by the animal groups. With a smartphone app, animal lovers and advocates would never miss events or campaigns again and animal organisations/groups could be confident that their events and campaigns would get to the greatest number of interested people in a timely way without overwhelming them.  The app is also updated every day with animal related news around Australia.  Soon news will be available from all over the world, easily filtered by country and interest area. 


Why did you start the process of creating the Animal Effect App?
In 2011, Campaign Director Lyn White of Animals Australia asked me to emcee the Sydney Ban Live Export Rally. Approximately 3000 people attended the rally in Sydney and 20,000 nationwide. I lay awake night after night thinking of the atrocities in Indonesia and other countries and I told my partner Brendan Norris that I believed there were many more people supporting this but how could they be brought together to create a loud voice to bring about social change. We discussed how people could access information about animal related events easily and never miss events again. Smartphone technology would be needed and yet Brendan, an IT expert, said he wasn’t aware of anything like this in the animal movement. I asked him to look into this so he met several times with a colleague David Piggin of Software Synergy over the next year. Then as the idea developed, David Piggin and Brendan Norris worked on this full time to develop the App. 
What did you hope to achieve?
A platform where people all over Australia and eventually the globe, could find out about events and news they wanted to know about. I wanted to help animal organisations promote their events and campaigns and reach advocates and supporters who would support them if only they knew what was going on. In reducing the overwhelm of too many emails, searching and social media, they could filter information according to interest and truly come together as a collective voice around the globe to bring about massive social change in the animal social justice movement.
I hopes that the App will have the additional benefit of increasing the morale and incentive that animal social justice can be enhanced since as the App grows in usage by users and animal organisations, people will have a sense that they are part of a very loud voice. One of the worse emotions advocates can experience is despair that the problem is too big and animals will continue to suffer. I believes the Animal Effect App will bring people together in what I believes can be an AVAAZ for animals. 
I believe that push notifications will greatly change the animal social justice movement. They could be given to implore users to act quickly by signing petitions immediately. With people checking their phones every 5 mins, I envisage a time when the movement requires a petition to be signed asap and in 5 mins the Prime Minister has 1 million signatures via email – that would be a loud voice that would be hard to ignore especially when the media hear about it. In short Animal Effect App is a tool for positive change in the animal social justice movement. 


What has the response been?
The App was soft launched in early 2013 in iPhone. The App has taken 2 years to develop and when started, more people had iPhones than android. By the time of completion for soft launch, more people had android devices. So the launch was delayed in order to launch properly which happened on World Animal Day the beginning of October this year. However, a prelaunch event was held in November 2012 when 23 animal organisations were represented to review the idea and the prototype app. The testimonials were very positive and feedback directly and online via the Apple Store and website has been enormously positive and say ‘It’s about time we had a platform through which everyone can connect and organisations build capacity around the world’.
Feedback has been very positive and some minor questions about needing in android and desire for new features. Many new features are planned and funds from sale of the app will be invested into paying for software expertise to quickly produce these features e.g. push notifications, GPS especially needed in the USA because of the size of the country, and connection with App users ‘near you’ to increase social connection etc. 

More on Clare Mann:


Clare is an organisational psychologist and communications expert who speaks and consults regularly on issues of effective communication and ethical leadership. She is a committed animal advocate. Her expertise assists organisations, leaders and advocates in the animal justice movement to communicate more effectively with each other and the world.

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If you're in Melbourne on the 30 November or Sydney on the 7 December, check Clare's Skills for Conversations that Matter full day course for animal advocates:


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