Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties idea is hanging toughat #7 in change.org’s Ideas for Change competition with over 5200 votes, but it’s clear that other groups are doing a more effective job of outreach than we have so far. newsrackblog.com and Beyond the Matrix have blogged about us, Moon in Cancer has our widget up, Michael Connery linked to us on Future Majority … but overall our blog prence is miniscule. And our list of endorsements on change.org’s site pales in comparison with ideas like Save Small Business From the CPSIA — which has moved into fifth overall with what must be a couple of hundred endorsements. So there’s ample room for improvement.
One straightforward thing to do is contact bloggers who write about FISA and the PATRIOT Act and tell them about what’s going on and ask them to help us. For example, here’s some mail I just sent to security expert Bruce Schneier:
Could I get your help promoting the idea “Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties” in change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition? The top 10 ideas are going to be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day and will be supported by a national lobbying campaign run by Change.org, MySpace, and some great non-profit partners — so it could be a big deal. We’re currently in 7th place and are trying to get the word out.
It would be great if you could blog about this and include the link to the idea at http://www.change.org/ideas/view/get_fisa_right_repeal_the_patriot_act_and_restore_our_civil_liberties
There’s also a widget you can put on your blog— see the embed code at the bottom of http://get-fisa-right.wetpaint.com/page/Ideas+for+Change+competition … and if you’d be willing to “endorse” the idea on change.org’s site that’d be swell: it means your name shows up on our page. (There’s an “endorse this idea” on the right-hand side of http://www.change.org/ideas/view/get_fisa_right_repeal_the_patriot_act_and_restore_our_civil_liberties page.)
Please let me know if you have any questions … and of course feel free to forward this on to anybody else we should be asking.
Ha! One blogger down, eighty-skazillion to go!
Now it’s your turn. If there are some bloggers you read who would probably like to cover this, please contact them. Feel free to use this sample mail as a start and tweak it to match your style — or roll your own, making sure to include the links. If people don’t already know about Get FISA Right, you might want to send them a link to the “About us” page at http://get-fisa-right.wetpaint.com/page/About+us as well.
Once you’ve contacted somebody, please let us know in the comments — that way, we can track our outreach and we don’t inadvertantly spam anybody. And if there are some bloggers who we should be contacting but you don’t want to yourself, feel free to mention that as well … maybe somebody else will have contacts. (See my first reply for an example.)
For a lot of people — including me — it can be uncomfortable to approach somebody you don’t know well and ask them for something like this. Something to keep in mind is that they’ll most likely actively want to help if they have a few moments.
So even though it might be out of your comfort zone, please give it a try: if we can get even twenty to thirty people actively doing this, it’ll make a huge difference. After all, if changing the world was easy, everybody would do it 🙂
PS: coming soon: outreach on Facebook