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by Jay Fienberg

PlaNetwork conference,'s Joan Blades, part 2

posted: Jun 7, 2003 1:11:52 PM

Blogging the PlaNetwork conference in San Francisco.

They have only six fulltime staff. They coordinate with other groups like Working Assets and People for an American Way.

Finding that people are happy to pay for ads on other issues, such as funding for education and against the FCC ruling (with Common Cause). More and more organizations are embracing online organizing. The ACLU has developed a list of 900,000 online. Planned Parenthood 400,000 online. NRDC: 500,000 online. A huge call to community.

The websites are nice. But it is the continued communication by trusted sources that makes activists. Sensible messaging (via email) gets the message across. Try to find what people care about where online activism can made a difference. Beginning to create sub-groups. Some people will take actions as much as once per day. Finding ways to give those people opportunities to act.

Engagement is a two-way street. The Internet is not just for broadcasting. At MoveOn, they do continuous survey of members. They created their action forum where people can post issues and rate each other's postings, to highlight the best. The send themselves an automated weekly report of the top comments of their measures. This is their chance to really connect, by listening. (This is how they see leadership.)

Service: their job is to give people opportunities to act. Building trust, by giving trust.

Campaigners hardly know what to do with volunteers. Broadcast media was efficient, but that led to every aspect of political campaigns being professionalized. And, the politicians need to raise money constantly to pay for it all. It is not efficient any longer. The Internet is different, two-way, where real trust can be realized. People don't trust what they see on TV.

Trust: built it by stepping forward when people are looking for leaders. Internet is sticky: when people sign-up for something, they could stick with it for year. With each new activist campaign, they have added 50,000 new members. Whether they win or loose their campaign, people grow in their trust and they grow.

Lead: some politicians are eager for citizen mobilization. They are frozen and can't execute, and need a different force. All of us are their hope for change. Quote from FDR: you convinced me, now make me do it.

This organizing can lead to new coalitions never possible before. Civil rights, environmental looses, international isolation. We can work together to address these issues.

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