Organizers and activists who are tracking an issue – say, nuclear regulation - can spend countless hours sifting through data from a vast range of federal sources: the Peace Corps, the National Institute of Health, and hundreds of other disparate tidbits in order to understand the full picture. It can feel a bit like going to the bookstore and having to peruse all the titles before finding what you want.
Finally, someone has hit on a time-saving solution that organizes key federal data while also shining a bright spotlight on what’s really happening in government: OpenRegulations.org. It’s the only place on the Net that offers individual RSS feeds for each federal agency (there are more than 150 agencies cataloged). Feeds range from the Administration of Children and Families to the United Institute for Peace, offering reports, lists of statistics, meeting notes, and every other bit of regulatory data you can imagine, right at your fingertips.
Jerry Brito, a senior research fellow with the regulatory studies program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the creator of this project. He came up with the idea after he subscribed to theRSS-feed of Regulations.gov, the “federal government’s official regulatory clearinghouse,” and got flooded with thousands of updates on every piece of regulation posted about on the site. Frustrated by the information overload, Brito, a self-described neat-freak (see Unclutterer), formed OpenRegulations.org as analternative to Regulations.gov.
By doing the sorting via RSS feed for users, Brito’s site makes it possible for activists and organizers to spend less time researching and more time on advocacy efforts, all while gaining a clearer picture of what the government is up to.
Brito sees the development of OpenRegulations as a step toward future opportunities for interesting mash-ups. He points to MAPLight, an award-winning database that tracks campaign contributions and political action, as an example of what can be done when websites parse, tag, and catalog otherwise cluttered bits of information.
With this newly organized, inside information about how our government behaves, organizers will soon have a clearer picture of a politician’s relationship with funding, policy, and legislation right at their fingertips. With the advancement of Brito’s project, pajama and traditionalist activists alike will have another tool with which they can understand and respond to government waste, clumsiness, and irresponsibility.
Meet Wendy Cohen, the interviewee I neglected to record.
We discussed our love for Jay Rosen, adoration for Larry Lessig, and talked about how she organized the first Screening Liberally event, organized around the film Thank You For Smoking, back in New York. We talked about her time as a community manager at the Huffington Post (she was their first), where she worked on increasing the volume of user participation and on-site chatter. We discussed her present role at Participant, where she has the same title but works in a capacity that is not focused strictly Internet community development. How does she keep up with the demands of a job that doesn’t necessarily have a consistent, set-in-stone job description? She says that she’s had great mentor and consistently reads up what’s being said about the subject online
Based on her contrasting experiences, I asked if an increase of tangible, face-to-face social capital better facilitates online action? Are you, Wendy Cohen, more willing to sign onto an Internet protest or fundraising campaign I am organizing than you were before we met face-to-face and only knew me via email? And if so, do you think that this is the case for most people
Wendy suggested that yes, she would be more interested in participating in some sort of online action that I initiate after having actually met me, but that the dynamics of getting to know people are becoming so much more multifaceted that it is becoming easier to feel like know know someone that you have never met face-to-face. Perhaps this is closing the gap between the need-to-meet-to-trust people and those who give/participate more freely than others.
Nice to meet (/trust) you.
We discussed Wendy’s efforts with Screening Liberally, a social event she co-created that organizes folks online to get together and watch socially liberal independent films offline. We discussed the conversation the meetings breed and bonding that face-to-face meetings facilitate. Screening Liberally stemmed from Drinking Liberally, a similarly structured event that Cohen had been attending for a few years. She also organizes Net Tuesdays in L.A., a NetSquared event that organizes in a similar way to the “Liberally” events (bringing folks face-to-face using Internet technologies), though it concentrates on non-profit and tech issues. Part of the bonus of both events is camaraderie and networking built around an issue as well as the educational component. The strengthening of trust, based wholly on meeting someone face-to-face, can be beneficial when eventually trying to mobilize someone to act online.
Internet-organizer communities continue to rhetorically treat the off and online as binaries — as if they don’t overlap each other as one: When I am my offline self, I am not my online self. When I am my online self, I am not my offline self. However, social transactions are based upon perceived loss and gain on the parts of each participant. For some, getting a person to act online may require little more than a compelling cause and an easy avenue for action. For others, it may require a level of trust unachievable by a call for action alone. In the past week, of the past ten people I have asked who have given money to a cause online in the past year, every one said that they are more likely to give to someone that they know. Even though my ask went out to friends and Internet associates alike, with the exception of one donor, every person who gave me money for a Point campaign aimed at helping my cousin who had lost her home in a fire, a seemingly compelling cause, is someone I have met, if only briefly, in person. Even Warren Buffett has been known to work to restore trust with his fellow company-folk by meeting with them face-to-face.
We chat, We vlog, We tweet.
While the ways with which we are able to get to know each other online are becoming more and more diversified in both their depth and distribution apparatuses, thus transforming the ways we build and assess trust, for some, the willingness to give time, money, or action is contingent on getting to know that the face on the other side of the screen indeed belongs to a human being. The Internet is special in its ability to accelerate the speed of our message, the mechanics of our campaigns, and the depth of our ability to organize. Meetings, connection, and person-to-person resonance, while absolutely possible for many to achieve online, is still a more-quickly absorbed process off. By adapting our off and online behaviors to embrace all tools — by focusing on building social capital in both spheres — we strengthen our leverage in both worlds, both as individuals and part of a greater social wholes, as well as leaders of movements architected in this digital world we’re finally starting to get a grasp of.
The next time you have time to do so, head on over to a gathering of the like (or differently) minded, be it at a Screening (or Drinking or Living) Liberally event, or a gathering of Net Tuesday organizers. While your online fundraising prowess might be in competition with rock stars like Beth Kanter (thanks to her suggestions for successful community maintenance and fundraising), it can’t hurt to connect with those who might potentially participate in a future something, if only they know who you were.
[Edit // 10:30 pm EST] Here, a few hours after posting this, I just came across this blog post. It discusses this study [doc]. While it doesn’t necessarily drive home my point, it does discuss the importance of offline shared experience, online connectivity, and to The Point’s point, fostering “a feeling of ’strength in numbers”:
There is great potential for the youth activists to build a Global Potential alumni network, one grounded in the offline shared experience of activism and action, on Facebook that will help”connect one another online and in person,…[fostering] a feeling of ’strength in numbers’ a common space in which to [feel] comfortable and supported in their activist work”.
For tomorrow: I’ll discuss the pros and cons of providing incentive for group participation, and take a look at what can happen when added incentive brings more participation than productivity.
For the comments: In your experience, how does face-to-face, offline networking and participation augment your online organization?
At Netroots Nation 2008, Dr. Lawrence Lessig spoke as a keynote and presented Change Congress, his new initiative to use connective tools to help steer the government body into a new direction. I asked Lessig why, after 10 years of tackling copyright and intellectual property issues, he had decided to move on Congress. He responded, “We had hit a level of success, the issues were no longer hard, and I felt like I was getting lazy so I said ‘I’m going to throw everything I am doing away and do something different.’”
Even more amazing, he explained, “And I in fact said, ‘I am going to do that every ten years. Every ten years I am going to throw away all of my intellectual capital and work on something new.’” And so here he is, trying to corral Internet grassroots activists on the left and right to act against what many consider to be a failed government body. Here, he discusses using the carrot model to change the government, how true change has to be “purple” and how he plans to attract the attention of the not-so-obvious audience.
Make Something Happen: Outside of a crowd like those at Netroots Nation, which is predisposed to being supportive of your work, how do you plan on bringing the attention of the public to Change Congress?
Lawrence Lessig: We’ve got a big push now to grow a list of people who want to participate in as many different ways as we can. Part of what the Trippi organization is doing is helping us think about how to parse, simplify, or extend the message so that it can reach a wider range of people than those who are otherwise coming to events like [Netroots Nation].
I spent an enormous part of my life speaking and not all of the speeches are ones that I give for 2000 person audiences, so I speak in every venue I possibly can to get people to think about that. Everything I produce, I make available for other people to use as well.
I think that’s as much as we can do right now. As this thing gets going and other people who are running campaigns begin to incorporate this message into what they’re doing, I think that will be another kind of leverage point that will be very important to us as well.
MSH: Is public dissatisfaction with Congress correlative to the public’s feeling of disengagement with the process?
Lessig: I think there’s a number of things that plays into it. Some people are skeptical that [9%, the number of constituents happy with Congress's performance] is a meaningful number. The important thing to do is to see how it has changed over time. So if you don’t think it’s 9% and you think that it’s 15%, the one thing it’s not is 40%. Just after World War II, it was above 70% so part of it is that people have become disengaged. Part of it is that they just don’t have faith that there is any integrity in the system — that Congress is just particularly bad at drawing lines and fighting this particular president on certain issues, that they’re so quick to think that it’s worse to be seen as an obstructionists. But I think it’s better to be seen as an obstructionist of bad policy than I think it is to support this policy of the present administration. But even the best leadership is not going to restore the type of faith in this institution that we need — that’s fundamental to reform.
MSH: Are there any examples or success stories where you have seen people use connective technologies to spread awareness or illicit reaction? Stories where you realized that your mission is now possible?
Lessig: I think that some of the things Sunshine does with lobbyist [issues]. Bloggers like Matt Stoller, who put up the voting record and asked people to fill out information about the particular things [with regard to voting records]. Models like Wikipedia — What’s interesting about this is that they invite people to participate in their pajamas, meaning it is in a context where it is very easy to be connected and doesn’t require a huge demand, but then gives you a feeling like you’re making a contribution to something that is public and important as the inspiration. We’re seeing more and more of that.
But there’s been no organization that has really achieved the percentage of efficiency that I think is possible. We still have a lot of learn and to build from.
MSH: You noted in your presentation that Change Congress will have a panel of bloggers intended to be critical of the organization. Why do you find doing that important?
Lessig: It’s the ethic of the net. When you look at what happens on the net, [participants that] adopt an ethic of openness, [can help protect] from criticism. When you contrast that with a corporate ethic and a corporate website, where everything is closed and just great, I realize which side of the divide we’ve got to be on. So that wasn’t conceptually hard.
What’s hard is organizing it in a way so that it’s not self-destructive because it’s so easy for critics to take over space and to drive other contributors out. Figuring out how to architect that to the best advantage is not easy to do.
MSH: What concerns and criticisms about the model are you hearing back from this community?
Lessig: There is a concern about the substance of particular things, and this is likely because we haven’t made the message clear enough. My response to that is that we haven’t endorsed as much as we have made available. We might expand those and it might turn out that some are not relevant. If nobody cares about earmarks in the end, then maybe earmarks disappear. Making clear that what we’re doing is trying to facilitate a language with which we can understand, criticize, and change Congress. Not having a set of Ten Commandments is a hard thing to get people to be able to do.
MSH: How is Change Congress using the carrot model with regard to leveraging political activity?
Lessig: It will make it very easy for people to focus on the flavor of a forum that they care about, and then go out and support particular people who match that. Right now we’ve got a list of [supported] candidates, or you can go to an ActBlue,or a Slate Card page eventually, where you can support all of the candidates. What I want it to be is basically you make your representation that takes you to your ActBlue page and then you can make a choice to support all of them or pick which ones you’re going to support individually so that it’s just a simple 1, 2, 3 and then you support it so that candidates begin to say, “Wow. Where is this money coming from? Oh. I see there are people in my district who think this is important and they do something about it.”
MSH: Do you think that Congress knows what’s coming?
Lessig: No. And that’s our chance. They have a vague sense, but they don’t have a chance to focus on it because they’re still focused on getting funded in the old system. So I think we have eight years to build the alternative before it penetrates enough before they figure out how to co-opt this as well.
MSH: Does anyone in there get it?
Lessig: There are particular people who I am inspired by. Tennessee Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper is one; (Massachusetts Democratic Congressman) Ed Markie understands a lot of these issues. I wouldn’t say that my list of candidates is actually comprehensive enough.
MSH: You have said that you think that this change is purple (supportable by both the left and the right). You really believe that both sides are going to be able to work on this issue?
Lessig: I think that’s the only way we succeed. When RightOnline had that conference and wrote me and said, “You know, we’re having our conference at the exact same time [as NN08],” I wrote back and said, Why didn’t you invite me to talk?” They responded that they can’t invite everybody so I just said “OK.” [laughs]
We’ve got to learn how to speak about these issues in a way that includes the widest range. This is a matter of the constitution. We have to pledge support for reform of the constitution that makes it so the system functions.
[Lessig discusses Change Congress at Personal Democracy Forum 2008
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Liveblogging from Netroots Nation
12:42 PM -
It looks like other folks are writing about NN08 as well. Here’s a taste:
10:57AM - A friendly-looking, somewhat heavy kid in his late teens, rifle case slung over his back just approached me, asking if I knew if “the gun show were here [at the Austin Convention Center." He said, "I wonder if its down on this level. I asked around but it seems that folks with the orange name-tags [Netroots Nation attendees] don’t know much about it.
10:46 AM – Everyone that hasn’t already left is on their way out of the convention center. On my way in, I passed Jay Rosen, who looked as epically knowledge-filled as always. Here he is on a (very) short video from TheUptake defining citizen journalism:
10:37 AM – My conversation yesterday with Prof. Lessig was great and I look forward to posting something more substantial about it tomorrow. He discussed how Change Congress plans on employing the carrot model, presentations, and more. I asked him if he thought that Congresspeople on the whole have a sense what’s coming in the context of the ability of constituents to leverage power in a whole new way. He did not, he said, and for him that is part of the reason why the time to act is now
04:44 PM - Lots of milling around going on right now. People are getting end-of-the-conference antsy. I had a great conversation with Colin from ePolitics. His site is a fabulous resource for anyone who is looking for a how-to tool re: the field of political organization on the Internet.
02:06 PM – Blogging Creating Political Community Around Film (with Wendy Cohen of Screening Liberally and Participant Media, Tracy Fleischman of Live From Main Street, Jacob Soboroff of Why Tuesday?, and Jim Gilliam of Brave New Films).
12:37 PM – Blogging Lessig’s keynote:
12:07 PM – I am preparing to blog about Larry Lessig’s keynote. We’ll be talking with Lessig later today, and I’ll feature notes based on our conversation later this afternoon. I’ll definitely be posting a larger, more substantial post about our conversation about Change Congress and Internet collective action very soon.
08:02 AM – Blogging Ask The Speaker Pelosi:
07:40 AM - Showering the parties and late-night pizza off of me and heading over to see the Speaker Pelosi event. There has been word of a “very big” surprise guest. Thoughts? I’m not even going to speculate.
03:02 PM – Blogging Milblogging: How the Troops’ Writing Affects Our View of the War (with Alex Horton, and Richard Smith and Brandon Friedman of VoteVets.org and moderated by Kevin Maurer, a 5-year embedded AP journalist):
01:45 PM – Blogging John Hlinko discussing how to connect to blogging/campaign audiences
01:35 PM – I was struck by something an audience member at the “Working from the Inside Out” said to me. A grassroots activist/organizer in Florida for the Democratic Party and DFA, she talked about the amount of elected representatives she runs into that don’t know about many of the issues, or even how to navigate around on the web. “We need to get to them as soon as they get elected,” she stressed to me, “but a lot of people don’t know how to get in there.”
She went onto make a suggestion that I recognized, as I, too, have been a party organizer. Those who are interested in getting close to a campaign or candidate simply need to volunteer for the campaign, as it gets them close to many future staffers. In my experience, many of the people I worked campaigns with went onto work as staff members. “I know a Republican representative,” she said, “and he’s even said to me, ‘It’s hard to say ‘no’ to someone I have seen licking envelopes at my kitchen table.”
12:30 PM - A great note on the lunch with Kos and Harold Ford from Todd Beeton from MyDD:
He then spoke about how ridiculous the traditional media is, especially when he is asked about Obama’s so-called move to the center. It’s clear from what ends up getting written, that what he says goes in one ear and out the other because his response doesn’t fit into their “move to the center” narrative. As Markos says regarding Barack Obama’s FISA vote:
“We weren’t mad at Obama for moving to the center, we were mad at him for NOT moving to the center. There was no popular movement in favor of this bill. If you ask most Americans I think they’d tell us that they do not support the government spying on Americans.”
10:37 AM – Blogging Working from the Inside Out: Success Stories in Netroots Organizing: (with Timothy Karr and Craig Aaron of Free Press, Adam Green of MoveOn.org, Liz Rose of the ACLU, Andre Banks of Color of Change, and Joan McCarter, a Daily Kos blogger):
10:00 AM – A set of notes and observations on Don Siegelman, who spoke at Netroots Nation.
09:15 AM – Blogging From Dean to Obama: Four Years in the Internet Revolution (other observations can be found here):
8:30 AM - Heading over to “From Dean to Obama: Four Years in the Internet Revolution“
8:58 PM – Howard [!]:
08:02 PM – The lead up to Howard:
05:25 PM - Time for a drink or two with my conference-hopper buddy Alex from Eventful and then on to see Howard speak.
05:25 PM - This is a really great photograph of a conference-goer checking out a hand-written list of all of the US soldiers that have died since the start of the conflict in Iraq. It is just one of very many photographs coming from this dude’s Photobucket feed.
05:03 PM – I spoke briefly with the ever-impressive Michael Silberman of Echo Ditto. He talked briefly about the work he’s doing at present for the 1Sky Education Fund. It is a fascinating organization, well-worth checking out, that is focused on climate change and organizing using the “Internet and old-fashioned neighbor-to-neighbor outreach.”
04:25 PM – A hilarious piece of Kevin Bondelli’s blog post today:
A funny thing just happened. A couple of guys were walking by in the hotel that weren’t associated with Netroots Nation, and one says to the other: “there are a lot of people in this hotel using laptops, huh.” I bet this lobby looks really strange to people that don’t realize that there is a blogger conference going on.
04:16 PM – Netroots Nation is huge. The Austin Convention Center is huge. These people’s ambitions are huge. I saw in the comment section of someone’s blog a joking statement about bumping into all of the wide-eyed newbies. I, indeed, am one of those wide-eyed newbies.
03:02 PM – At a session with Blogs United about best practices, etc.
03:00 PM – Another great piece about Netroots Nation. This one is featured in The Center for Media and Democracy.
01:30 PM – At a Democracy for America training on crafting campaign messaging:
01:40 PM - Great article in the Dallas Morning News about Netroots Nation.
01:34 PM - Haven’t eaten in nearly 12 hours, thus I am thankful that Wired For Change was somehow responsible for getting a bag of chips into the free crap bag that you’re given at conferences. I’m also grateful to whoever thought to put a fortune cookie in there, though it was smashed to hell before it got to me. There’s also a condom from Center for Constitutional Rights. I wonder how many folks at this internet and politics event are going to put that to use.
01:00 PM - There was a rally today featuring Howard Dean, who will also later this evening deliver the keynote address. Some reports say that the numbers there were at around 100 people but I got the sense that it was much more than that. He fired up all of the congregating liberals like it was 2003 again. Heeeeya! [A special thanks to Robert Harding from The Albany Project for the photo]
12:43 PM – I am excited for the Dean speech this evening. There’s still a lot of buzzing about Pelosi and how she’ll address the I-word issue. Further, we’re excited that we’ll be talking with Larry Lessig about Change Congress on Saturday. Stay tuned.
12:36 PM – I want a taco.
11:11 AM – It looks like I spoke way too soon. The hotel is standing firmly in my way. The bureaucracy gods are keeping me down.
10:19 AM – After a nearly Homeric trek from Boston, Massachusetts to Austin, Texas, I am finally in town and nearing a place where I might be able to actually get over to the Austin Convention Center — So long as a bank, a Jet Blue flight delay, or a disgruntled hotel employee doesn’t stand in my way, I should be there shortly.
We’re happy to feature this guest post by Justin Massa of MoveSmart.org:
Exploring the implications of new technologies for old-line civil rights organizations, E. Ethelbert Miller recently wondered in a Washington Post article, “What would happen if W.E.B. Du Bois or Marcus Garvey had a laptop?” Such ‘what if?’ reflections are commonplace – baseball fans constantly debate how Ruth would have hit on steroids or against modern pitching speeds. For this former community organizer, the most interesting reflection is, “How would new social media tools have affected Anti-Racist Action?”
In the late 90’s I co-founded a chapter of Anti-Racist Action (ARA) in Chicago. As part of a group of punk and hardcore kids who were concerned about organized racism showing up in our subculture it was a natural choice. Those were heady times for ARA; after a decade of slow but steady growth the number of chapters had exploded to nearly 130. The murders of Dan Shersty and Spit Newborn, two Las Vegas ARA members murdered execution-style in the desert by nazi skinheads, and the Illinois-Indiana racist killing spree of Ben Smith exactly one year later served us with a stark reminder of just what we were up against. Youth recruitment by white supremcists was increasing, becoming more effective, and funding the movement through the sale of white power music.
Just 7 years later ARA is but a shell of its former self. There are only a handful of active chapters and the once ubiquitous info tables at punk and hardcore shows are gone. I drifted away about 6 years ago, transitioning first to working full-time for a civil rights organization and then completely losing touch after becoming a public school teacher. While chapter leadership had used a listserve to effectively coordinate and strategize, the Internet was then more a tool for research than organizing. But I can’t help but wonder, with today’s tools would we have built Sprout widgets warning against racism and lobbied bands and record labels to include these on their websites? What strategies would we have developed to effectively confront racism on social networking sites? If our online presence – which was never very well organized or accessible – would have been better, would the organization still be as strong? How would Twitter and live streaming media have changed the ways we directly confronted organized racist events?
While my approach and focus has changed over the years, the values that working with ARA instilled in me still influence my work today – confronting racism head-on with a heavy dose of education and passion can be incredibly effective. What’s your favorite or most influential organization that’s either in decline or gone, and how might new social media tools have changed things for them?
Justin is a co-founder and the executive director of MoveSmart.org, a start-up organization that fosters residential integration through technology. By day he investigates complaints of housing discrimination for the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.
Along with Kelly Coyne, Erik Knutzen is the author of Homegrown Evolution (formerly Homegrown Revolution), a blog that covers “urbanites are becoming gardeners and farmers.” In June, the pair authored Urban Homestead, a book based on the same premises as the blog and released by Process Media. I have read it and it is a wonderful starting point for anyone interested in figuring out how to live off the land from the comfort of their own apartment, condo, or urban living space.
I came across Knutzen’s name a little over a month ago in an article about guerrilla gardening in the L.A. Times. Since he was pretty embedded in work in the community and guerrilla gardening communities, we reached out to talk with him about how public desire for reallocation of space and resources leads to community and collective action.
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David Sirota is a political organizer and journalist based in Colorado. He has helped to organize/worked for Bernie Sanders, the Ned Lamont for US Senate Campaign, and other populist, grassroots movements. His columns have been published in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, and many other well-regarded publications. Sirota recently authored The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington, a book he is presently promoting.
Considered to be an expert on this emerging movement towards a new kind of revolt (lubricated in part by Internet technologies), Sirota explains to us the difference between grassroots politics and populist grassroots politics. Further, he answers:
Please enjoy our MSHcast with David Sirota:
[And a special thanks to Connecticut-based Waiting For Sully for providing the opening song.]
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David All is a Republican 2.0 (and emerging 3.0, as he notes in this episode) consultant who has long been advocating for an Internet conservative grassroots movement. Further, he is the brainchild behind Slatecard, a conservative competitor to ActBlue. He came to my attention last year when a summer issue of Mother Jones highlighted a conversation with key players in the politics 2.0 movement included him as an authority on the subject. Composed and articulate, All outlined his efforts to bring the Republican Party to a Netroots style movement.
We reached out to All because his efforts are inspiring from several perspectives that many collective organizers can learn from:
Please enjoy our MSHcast with David All:
[And a special thanks to Connecticut-based Waiting For Sully for providing the opening song.]
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Here’s a quick gander at/guide to some of the great folks we look forward to talking to and/or profiling this week:
Imagine if you held so much Internet power, you were able to Google your first name and your very own website were the first to come up. Beth Kanter is able to do just that.
It is impossible to describe Kanter accurately without wholly offending a large bloc of people, but here goes: Beth is God. There. We said it. Beth Kanter is God. Dare you you disagree? Have you ever seen this woman at a conference? Faced with her, you’re rendered awkward, graced, and feeling somewhat irrelevant by comparison of accomplishments. Back up a little bit and observe those around you; they’re all trying to figure out how to get involved in a conversation with her, how to somehow connect with her. In [the extremely approachable] Kanter’s 25+ years of involvement in web-based organization, she has seen it all and she graciously shares slivers of her brain on her blog every single day.
Having been employed by the likes of Ned Lamont and Sen. Bernie Sanders, it is easy to understand why the New York Times has described David Sirota as a “populist rabble rouser.” Sirota has appeared on countless television and radio shows as an all-around sage on all-things political and civic engagement. Further, he has written for The Huffington Post, and The Nation and he serves as senior editor of In These Times. The Uprising, his new book, has won the praise of Bill McKibben, Tom Hayden (legendary Students for a Democratic Society organizer), Naomi Klein, and Matt Taibbi, and it outlines how the netroots can lead a populist rebellion. Also, he is sort of beautiful. But then again, he is also married, so he [unfortunately] wont be appearing in a most-eligible-netroots-activist section any time soon.
Check out this talk at STRAND Books featuring Sirota discussing The Uprising.
Every evening, Howard Dean slips into his PJs, kneels before his bed, folds his hands and thanks Scott Heiferman for everything he has. Dan envisions the great Scott Heiferman and says, “Scott. Thank you so much for helping to get my name out there. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you. Sure, I lost the Democratic nomination ‘04, but here I am at the head of the party. Not a bad consolation prize, sir.”
I bet you didn’t know that about Howard Dean.
Through creating Meetup, Heiferman essentially put into action one of the original bridges of Internet and grassroots organizing, helping to breed and popularize the term “netroots.”
Oh. And his “notes” are also awesome.
Of Barack Obama, David All recently praised the candidate’s appreciation for “people-powered revolution.” All is especially interested in making this revolution fruitful for the American conservative movement. In the context of the 2.0 activism world, he is essentially the Little Conservative That Could, as he works his tail off to catch the Republican Party up with the left when it comes to Internet political organizing, and he is doing a darn good job at doing so far. Further, All is not only an advocate with respect to bringing the netroots to the right, but also by bringing the entire process to the netroots. He is an all-around advocate of Internet people power.
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