Cooking with the Internet -- A Recipe for Grassroots Success By Jonathan Peizer takes yet another peak at the lessons from the Dean campaign. JP raises some nice solid points to consider as you plot new advocacy campaigns. I recommend reading the article. However, I thought it was important to tease out and comment on some points.
The biggest point that I struggle with is the setup of the ingredients. Successful online advocacy through social networking is about having the right ingredients to organize, communicate, and, most importantly, win the day. It is important to not separate the successful advocacy and successful online advocacy. They are one in the same. JP's article flows from that understanding but the leap in the modern political campaign (Dean, Kerry, Edwards and Bush) is that campaigns can now work both ways. One successful strategy is to use modern connectivity to define issues, communicate, organize, social network and the win the day . This is reverse of traditional order and decentralized from the start.
The rest of my comments flow from that subtle difference but ultimately I agree with the general guidance JP lays out.
Quotes, I like:
You can't artificially contrive issues -- they either capture people's attention and imagination or they don't. Each issue also has a ceiling for participation. I would also add a time limit. Campaigns need to increasingly respect the idea that people are only going to give you a brief window to engage them and use their support.
When organizers were paired with the new technology tools available, a potent combination of skill and logistical support was achieved. It is the logistics capacity that enables new campaigns to change tempo and scale effectively. The basic organizer challenge is to understand how to use that new flexibility to create a political advantage.
Busy people wishing to engage in a variety of activities often require one-stop shopping online to learn what is going on and to connect with those disparate activities through some centralized links. JP focus on aggregation sites. However, it is just as likely that we can adopt strategy to allow more temporary connection campaigns using micro-issue specific hubs that do not attempt to engage in longer term or broader agenda of issues.
Finally, JP does nice job wrapping his assessment and looking at the successes and failures of advocacy using online strategy. The important point is that we have not seen the final style of the successful campaigns just yet and we need to keep pushing to figure out how to update advocacy strategy to the age of connectivity. We need to focus on designing network-centric approaches to advocacy.