Online advocacy: still in the primordial soup
I’ve barely used this blog for the last couple years, and that’s a shame — it’s been a great way to start articulating ideas and slow build toward a coherent point of view, and it’s served me really well. Parenting two young kids has taken up a lot of the free time I used to give to blogging.
But I miss it. I want to relaunch this professional sandbox. My original intent, back in 05, was to open-source my roughest, rawest nascent thoughts about web strategy for organizations. I want to get back to that.
There are tools around now that help people spit out this kind of stuff — quick journaling/scrapbooking — with minimal hassle. I’m thinking of moving the site over to posterous or tumblr, as people like Steve Rubel and Robert Scoble have done. We’ll see. But, however I do it, here’s the goal: post pretty much every day, maybe several times a day, short/sweet, laser focus on how organizations (especially advocacy groups) can further their mission by leveraging the social web.
To start: with respect to what wired publics can achieve and the tech and tactics they’ll use to do it, we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Blogging, tweeting — all well and good; it’s part of the capacity/infrastructure groups need to be able to build sustainable, effective wired publics around their mission. But is this stuff the basic catalytic enzyme that creates a wired public around furthering a cause?
No. People want to be able to do something that contributes in a meaningful way to achieving a specific goal. They want to be part of something larger than they are. They want to be part of getting things done. To date, we haven’t given them a whole lot more than sending form emails to politicians/CEOs and donating cash. These options are stale. We need more and better models for facilitating kick-ass collective action.
And we will. I know it. Give it a few years, and present-day online advocacy campaigns will look embryonic by comparison. Grab-bag of ideas rattling round my head coming later.