What happened to the old TZM Members? Please let us know

I realised I put the cart before the horse with the Constellation Model proposal. This is partly because the proposal morphed from being an email reply to being a full on proposal. But also because I skipped a few steps and talking with others has helped me realise that.

The TLDR is that I’ve created an online form for old TZM members who have left the movement or aren’t active anymore. We want to know why.

TZM Form https://forms.gle/AiGEuTDKoAvomd1B7

I pointed out how the movement is very small compared to what it used to be.
I then figured that one of the primary reasons is a lack of funding and then proposed a new structural change that can help facilitate that solution.

Actually I think that there’s a variety of reasons that the movement isn’t as large as it was before and there will need to be a variety of solutions.

Google Trends – Searches for Zeitgeist Movement and Venus Project have dropped over the years

I know there’s some people saying a lack of content is the problem. Some saying it’s a lack of educational materials, others suggesting we need to be doing more on the ground activism.

But first. What ball park numbers are we looking at?

Just looking at the TZM Official YouTube channel we know the Zeitgeist Addendum and Moving Forward movies have been watched by at least 20 Million people. Moving forward has 25 Million views and Addendum has 7.4 Million videos, with most other important presentations getting around 100k views and the more recent videos getting at least 6k views.

There is about 2.3k members on Discord, about 5k who are a part of most FB groups (National and International groups), there was 5k but that’s been going down to 3.5k unique visitors to the main website and 289k people who like the global FB page. About half of those who like the page are being reached with really engaging content and a quarter getting most of the content.

It feels like there’s only a hundred or so active movement members who are actively working on furthering the movement or working on projects related to bringing about a Post Scarcity. Certainly the core group doing most of the work on the movement is under 10 people. That’s expected to some extent. Previous grass roots orgs I’ve worked with have a similar structure. I think of it as concentric circles. In the center are the core members, rarely more than 10 people. There’s sometimes some other project based groups as well. In the next level are the engaged but not fully active members. The 100 people who are doing things. Then it looks like we’ve got about 2.5k to 5k people who are interested in doing more than just liking the main FB page and sharing the occasional content.

TZM Official YouTube Channel
Discord Server Member stats – 2,387 on the 19th July 2021
TZM Global Page Engagement stats – 19th July 2021 Showing 50 to 118k people being reached ( out of 289k who like the page )

Whilst there’s been tens of millions of people who’ve watched the movies and of the stats above I missed the hundreds of thousands of DVDs burnt, people who’ve read the books, listened to the podcasts, attended or ran ZDAY and other events and there was chapters doing local activism all around the world.

So where is everyone and why has the Zeitgeist Movement dwindled to nearly nothing whilst TVP and the like are having big increases?

Thankfully there’s a lot of other related groups. People making magazines or working on related but not TZM named projects. But that doesn’t cover all of the previously active people.

My theory is that we need people who can work on the movement full time, for that they need to get paid the survival tokens we call money. Be it content creation, volunteer coordination, social media curation, there’s lots of tasks that could be done in a good, engaged way instead of as a side hobby.

I also think that a refinement of the existing movement structure can help with this. Hence my Constellation Model proposal.

That said, I’m interested in why previous members are no longer active. Not just why we aren’t increasing our numbers on Facebook. I suspect it’s because:

1. The movement’s focus was on awareness raising. Once you’ve told everyone you know and run multiple events and spent some years promoting the ideas of the movement you feel that you’ve reached the people you can. You then want to do more than just advocating, you want to start building something.

2. There has been a perceived lack of progress or at least no indication of progress. Without knowing any useful metrics people resorted to using their own experiences of the world instead of being able to see both short and long term progress. When you see things like Trump get into power and simply watch the news for any decent length of time you can feel despair. It feels that the actually Zeitgeist is moving in the wrong direction. All that work seems to be doing nothing. But with some good quality input metrics we could show how many people are spending out much time, effort, money and resources helping define what the Spirit of the Future will be. We can also track output metrics, everything from number of members, number of unique views through to doing yearly surveys of the global Zeitgeist. This is where the informatics team would be really useful. Although the movement isn’t focused on this nor large enough to support it right now.

3. Lack of understanding about the transition. I’ve put together the Price of Zero transition model which is more like a meta framework that can be used to create a plan. Groups like Koto Coop have been inspired by that, although reality obviously alters the plan they’ve recently purchased their first property in Finland! There’s a few other proposals around the place, like the Project Aurora that Ziad has been working on. But for most movement members in guessing they don’t know of a solid transition plan nor much about practical steps being done to enact it, nor what can be done by them to help.

4. A lack of communication. I’ve helped create multiple newsletters over the years which PJ has sent off and Mark E also created one. Mark has also ensured there’s good regular International meetings. I’ve seen that TZM UK and Germany are having regular National meetings. There’s plenty of discussion on Discord, Facebook and some starting on the forum. But there’s a lot of other communication we are likely missing. Or we aren’t getting the information to people who want it where they are instead of having to come and get it. I do think The Venus Project are a lot more organised in this regards.

5. They found other related movements or groups that better resonates with them. Examples include TVPGame B, Communalism and more. This can also be because the other groups provide a better community or more cohesive thesis about what a Post-Scarcity Society will involve and how to get there.

6. They considered it something “that’ll never happen”, or not something that they can make happen so moved on with their lives.

7. The cost of being in the movement was too great. The emotional cost of seeing such potential in the world being squandered. The friction often caused by family and friends who don’t and willingly don’t want to understand. The financial cost of spending hundreds or even thousands of hours working on the movement and still having to pay up to get things happening.

I think part of the emotional burn out comes from hitting a brick wall of trying to talk to family and friends about it. But also a lack of metrics indicating how we are going. There’s no feedback loop. No progress indicators. I’ve already talked about the financial burnout, although Teemu also did and created a great document in 2017 about it if people want to read more.

Part of the lack of progress includes not knowing where we are going, hence the transition plan matters. People moving on to other groups is likely because those groups are providing something people want that we don’t.

However all of these ideas are based on my experiences with members over the years.

We want to be based on statistics. We need to know from the actual members who aren’t active anymore. So, if you can, please fill out the TZM Old Members Feedback survey and then get old, inactive members to also fill it out:


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