by Duke Wozniak
Public apathy to Foreign Policy means our great leaders can easily push war. SOLUTION Get Joe Sixpack interested in Foreign Policy. HOW Entertainment.
Did you know that the vast majority of Americans are completely f***ing oblivious in matters of Foreign Policy?
It's true. The American public is so utterly disinterested in Foreign Policy that even the most basic facts escape them (scarily, that goes for many politicians too). Just ask your average Joe Blow to point out Iran or Syria or China on a map, and they'll look at you like you just landed from the planet Zoltan. Much less ask for their opinion on something like US Ukraine policy. Shocking because Americans have most of the power in the world. And bad Foreign Policy would be the #1 cause of a mushroom cloud appearing outside your kitchen window one day.
Much blame for the collective ignorance has to go to the mainstream media - they do a horrific disservice to the public. When many Americans think Europe is a country, there's a problem. When many Americans think Africa is a country, there's a problem. When most Americans (not that long ago at least) receive their foreign events knowledge from a 30 second report on Local TV News, there's a problem. There's not much interest in America for the outside world. And why should there be? America is the strongest and wealthiest country in the history of mankind. Everything you need is right there in America. The outside world is in another world. Just watch American TV for a couple hours for proof.
Create an online portal to demystify Foreign Policy and make it interesting for the average Joe Blow. Raise awareness of the importance of Foreign Policy. Build a big audience and monetize it. Help prevent a mushroom cloud.
WE NOW LIVE IN AN AGE WHERE NATO MEMBERS ARE SHOOTING DOWN MILITARY FIGHTER JETS OF MAJOR NUCLEAR POWERS. HELLO?
I'm just a regular schmuck who's weirdo hobby is Foreign Policy. It's my passion, I could follow it all day long, and it's pretty disgusting seeing some of the things going on in Foreign Policy. For instance, overthrowing governments, supporting proxies with links to terror groups, casually invading and/or bombing sovereign nations (byproduct being killing lots of children), the aforementioned shooting down of Russian military aircraft, etc. This kind of thing gets my blood boiling and I have to get it out of my system somehow.
So creating websites and a daily Foreign Policy news broadcast on Youtube is the way I've chosen to vent lately. I'd love to scale it to get as many other Joe Blows as possible interested in Foreign Policy. Maybe enough awareness will make some nuclear trigger-happy clown at the Pentagon think twice. Can a real difference be made? Well, remember what was the most powerful weapon used to bring down the decades old government in Egypt in 2011? Social media. Enough ants can take down an elephant. And we have an election this year!
There's plenty of 'serious' Foreign Policy sources online, but they're pretty sterile and academic, only reaching an audience already interested in world affairs. I want to reach the mammoth audience that isn't interested in world affairs yet and get them into my Foreign Policy 'funnel' by making Foreign Policy entertaining. Americans love entertainment. You have to speak their language.
For instance, creating entertaining characters to make Foreign Policy less foreign, like the goofy Jed Clampett-type character I do for a daily Foreign Policy news broadcast on Youtube (it doesn't get any views yet as there's been no promotion).
I have tons of raw content from years of notes. With funding, I can justify spending the 100's of hours it'll take to develop that content online in various forms. I'm not greatly skilled in anything but I do have basic skills in a number of things (programming, website development, domaining, photoshop, simple video creation, music creation, writing, internet marketing/paid advertising, outsourcing). This makes it possible to develop content in various forms and distribute it online, such as:
1. ForeignPolicyMatters.com - serious and entertaining content for a general audience, just started developing this domain recently.
2. ForeignPolicyInTheHood.com - currently undeveloped but plan is to make entertaining content with a vulgar bent to reach a young and minorities audience. For example, I conjured up a tough ghetto guy character named Dawg in order to make videos that deliver Foreign Policy content filled with profanities.
3. LooseNukes.com - an undeveloped domain that's been sitting around gathering dust for years. A great name though, perfect for all things nuclear bomb.
4. Youtube, Facebook and Twitter pages to support the domains.
I already have a Poland News page on Facebook with over 1k likes.
I threw it up for the heck of it but it somehow drew interest over time despite no promotion whatsoever (the power of social media). Youtube of course is a great source for engaging videos (Facebook fast becoming so also) and it's actually the 2nd biggest search engine in the world. The most popular videos on Youtube are overwhelmingly entertainment type. I want to tap into that huge entertainment market on Youtube.
5. Music - Maybe try and revive the protest songs of the 60's? Many ideas for songs, with a bunch of lyrics already written down, and bunch of music snippets already created. Just need to put the pieces together and record.
6. App - Perhaps create a Foreign Policy app, i.e for the daily world news broadcast already doing. I created a world cup app a couple years ago so I know the process.
Once these assets get fleshed out a bit, they can be promoted and monetized. For example, hosting ads (Adsense, CPA offers, Clickbank, etc), using Teespring to sell t-shirts with Foreign Policy related slogans (lots of ideas for this), perhaps creating a (Foreign Policy) membership site/video course online like some of these internet marketing gurus do for their information products, etc. There are a number of possibilities here.
I'm asking for $7k because that would cover at least 200 man hours for content prep, plus marketing, tools, etc. I'll continue creating Foreign Policy content whether I get funding or not because it's a labor of love and an outlet for pent-up disgust. However funding will allow this project to generate revenue (see below), giving it a push start to become self-sustaining. Funding will also allow the project to be scaled and expedited and improved with things like:
1. Content creation. Already have lots of raw content, but it'll require lots of time to prepare and post. Would like to improve the daily news broadcast with more in-depth material, maps and graphics. Also, I want to have quick and easy data to reference - a sort of executive summary or Cliffnotes of important groups, events and countries geopolitically. For example, a single web page for Ukraine with nice maps of its changing borders over time, a timeline of key events, etc, so that someone totally unfamiliar with Ukraine can get up to speed quickly on how we got to where we are today, with some historical perspective and outside links to articles that elaborate on key points.
2. Tools/equipment, i.e. a decent server. Right now all the domains are on cheap shared hosting. Also I need a decent software tool to create maps. Did you ever notice that news reports have terrible looking maps? They always show a relief type map with all that unnecessary relief shading which makes distinguishing borders difficult, and thus gives a confusing perspective (probably deliberately). I want to make clean, minimal maps with easy to recognize borders.
3. Marketing. I have done zero promotion of any Foreign Policy content. But for other pursuits, I've spent quite a bit of time on internet marketing and paid advertising using Google Adwords, Facebook ads, and Youtube video ads. Video ads are very engaging. You can build some pretty cost-effective retargeting lists (those ads that follow you around online) with video ads on Facebook and Youtube. Youtube video ads are especially cost-effective and grossly underutilized - lots of their available video ad inventory goes unsold every day. Facebook ads are really great for narrowing down and targeting very specific audiences, such as people of specific political persuasions. Also, there's a paid forum for serious internet marketers that's run by a group of guys (industry experts) who make millions with online ads that you've all seen, such as the before/after type banner ads in the lucrative fitness and beauty niches. Their forum costs $97 per month. I've tried their 3 day free trial twice and the quality of the forum is unquestionable. If I tell these guys I need help trying to build an online audience for Foreign Policy, and ask how it can be monetized, I'll have an entire gameplan using paid advertising in no time. And they'll follow up for the duration of the project. The great thing about paid advertising is that it generates lots of traffic very quickly, and it's very scalable.
4. Outsource services. Inevitably something will come up that requires the services of a specialist, like graphic design, which ain't my thing at all. Also can outsource the time consuming process of organic promotion, i.e. doing backlinks, leaving comments all over online, etc.
Foreign Policy is the most critical issue in the history of man. Because with nukes, it could be bye-bye man.