Outreach to bloggers

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.

Thanks much!


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


20 Responses to Outreach to bloggers

  1. jonpincus says:

    I contacted Bruce Schneier of http://www.schneier.com/blog/

    It would be great to get digby on Hullaballoo Greg Sargent on Talking Points Memo to cover this as well. Does anybody have contact with either of them?

    Note: this is an example of the kinds of posts to make to let us know you’ve contacted somebody — or to suggest somebody else we should contact

  2. I contacted Jim Henley (Unqualified Offerings), the Nielsen Haydens (Making Light), Avedon Carol (Sideshow), Lindsay Beyerstein (Majikthise), eRobin and Mick (Factesque), and Nell Lancaster (A Lovely Promise).

  3. jonpincus says:

    Thanks Thomas!

    I contacted Mike Stark (BlogPAC — and one of Get FISA Right’s founders), John Joseph Bachir (Obama Letdown Watch, another early GFR leader), Jane Hamsher (FDL), David Dayen (d-day, Calitics, Hullabaloo), Pam Spaulding (Pam’s House Blend), Nancy Scola (techPresident, which is one of change.org’s partners in the competition), Julian Sanchez (Reason and ArsTechnica),

    Also, I’ve been talking with some of the DREAM Activists about a post looking at civil liberties issues from their perspective.

  4. jonpincus says:

    In email, Beverlee pointed me to a great article by Nat Hentoff, “Obama’s black widow”. The comment thread was still fairly short so I put one in http://www.truthout.org/010709M#comment-33697

    Excellent article. This is one of the key open questions for the Obama administration … there’s a lot he could do by executive action to end the worse abuses immediately, and over the course of course of 2009 he could have a lot of influence on telecom immunity and the PATRIOT Act sunset/repeal.

    If you’d like to help with the fight for restoring the Constitution, please consider voting for the idea “Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties” in the change.org competition at http://www.change.org/ideas/view/get_fisa_right_repeal_the_patriot_act_and_restore_our_civil_liberties



    A subtle point here: I started my post by trying to add something valuable to the conversation (and making it clear that I had read and understood the article). This is always a good way to approach commenting, and it’s particularly important in a situation where I’m promoting something. Putting it bluntly, I don’t want to look like a human spambot, cutting-and-pasting “vote for me!!!!!!!!” everywhere. Fortunately I had something useful to contribute (the article hadn’t talked about Obama’s options going forward beyond appointing a commission) so I led with that.

  5. Harry Waisbren says:

    I’ve been beefing up my Twitter presence a lot lately (inspired to from Jon’s description of them being “hip and sexy” as well as their very impressive work on the Twitter Vote Report) and with no one else on it yet that’d probably be the best area for me to help. This could be a great way to hook this up to MSM too potentially as so many journalists are plugged in now, and they are talking a whole lot about future of journalism and the internet and government issues these days so I think this would be particularly pertinent.

    Few questions before I start:

    1. Baratunde has quite the Twitter presence, has he done any work for GFR or is he aware of their work (and for that matter, have we done any outreach to Jack and Jill politics yet?)

    2. Should I link to an older post or write a new one for this? I would like to write a post eventually about the civil rights implications of FISA, and now could be a hell of a time to do that (especially if we are trying to engage Baratunde).

    Keep up the great work everyone!

  6. jonpincus says:

    Yes we should also do something on Twitter … I just tweeted from the Get FISA Right account for the first time in a long time. One thing we should try to do is reach out to #tcot where tehre are a lot of Libertarians. Ideas welcome.

    1) Baratunde’s going to follow up on the “Other ideas from Get FISA Right” members thread, and that’ll be a good time to tweet about it. I’ve mentioned this in comments on JJP and will approach them for an endorsement.

    2) Whichever you prefer. The most important thing is to point them to the idea on change.org and give them some context. Quicker is better in this situation so it may make sense to contact people first and then work on a blog post.

  7. Harry Waisbren says:

    Sounds good, here are two tweets I just sent out in the meantime. After Baratunde gets back to us I’ll start direct messaging and going after more targeted communities:

    Any journalists/bloggers interested in the evolution of social network based activism/journalism? Get Fisa Right is leading the way!

    Vote for Get Fisa Right’s ? here: http://tinyurl.com/7kkqkj

  8. jonpincus says:

    Thanks Harry.

    I asked Jack and Jill Politics and the Feminist Advisory Boards for Obama for endorsements. Also I invited Bob Fertik to cross-post.

    We have gotten some nice links, including DreamActivist.org, Worley Dervish, Dreamcatcher (which is where our cross-post of our open letter to Obama made it to #1 on digg) and the Obama Letdown Watch. I’ll try to do a roundup post tomorrow … thanks all for the help!

  9. Harry Waisbren says:

    Hey Jon—there has been a lot of discussion of Ari Melber’s Change.gov work and some ancillary discussion of Change.org with journalists on Twitter. I really think if your round up post relates to that and the larger issue of what this means for the future of advocacy/journalism we could get some tweet backs and new supporters. Plus, if we could engage Melber especially it would REALLY help spread this quickly around the Twitter-sphere (if that’s not a term in the lexicon yet I’m declaring copyright!)

    I also definitely think when we have more time after the competition perhaps we should focus a whole lot more on both this issue as well as the civil rights implications of all this for the future of advocacy (I have tailored my MLK messaging regarding the connection between activism and media and would love to talk more about it with you). A preview of this larger argument at least is warranted though if we want to spread this as far as we can prior to the finishing of change.org question voting. I’ve been preparing a post on this at the Oxford Gazette to serve this purpose but I think we should coordinate it with Jack and Jill Politics and hopefully both Baratunde and Melber through Twitter.

    So definitely let me know where we are at with Melber and JJP when you get a chance and let’s formulate a plan of how to do this best!

  10. jonpincus says:

    Harry, it’d be great to get a post on this and the future of advocacy/journalism, but it’s not something I’ve thought about. Does somebody want to take a crack at it? We could cross-post here or just link to it …

  11. Harry Waisbren says:

    I would definitely like to write this post on GFR and crosspost it to the Oxdown Gazette if that’s ok.

    I will be incorporating the direction of advocacy/journalism in a post regarding MLK and what I term “person-oriented media”. I can tie this to GFR and this question with links to how FISA was enacted specifically in response to how even MLK was wiretapped and place this issue alongside his call to “break silence” as advocacy.

    If I can though and as I’ve said before, I would like to tie this as directly to Melber and Baratunde to ensure this gets around Twitter. I think Baratunde will be quite interested if I can give him a preview of it, and Melber certainly would be a fan of the MLK philosophy connection I will be placing upon his work as well.

    I’ll get going on this post, and let me know how you think I can best engage those two when you get a minute!

  12. jonpincus says:

    Sounds good, Harry. Probably the easiest thing to do is put a rough draft up on the wiki as a new page and send a link to Baratunde and Ari, as well as others, for feedback — they might or might not have the time to respond but it’s worth a try.

  13. […] and blog attention! By jonpincus The outreach to bloggers we’re doing is starting to have an impact … here’s our current list of […]

  14. […] let’s supplement our blogosphere outreach with attention to Facebook.*  I’m pretty sure at least half the Get FISA Right members have […]

  15. jonpincus says:

    i sent mail to Chris Bowers on OpenLeft, along with Mike Stark:

    Chris and Mike,

    Not sure if you’ve been tracking the change.org competition … “Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties” is currently #8. 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.


    It would be great to get OpenLeft’s endorsement and a blog post highlighting this. GFR kicked into overdrive with Mike’s post on OpenLeft and the change.gov results highlight that this is the perfect time to try something like this again. Our current list of endorsers and references is at https://getfisaright.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/endorsements-and-blog-attention/ and it would be great to add OL …


    It’s kind of a dicey situation because there have been issues between me and Chris in the past, and Matt Stoller kicked me off OpenLeft in November … oh well; ya can’t win if you don’t play.

    also i asked for endorsements/assistance from legal bloggers Ann Bartow of Feminist Law Profs, Frank Pasquale of Concurring Opinions, Michael Zimmer of michaelzimmer.org, Michael Froomkin of discourse.net, and James “The Great” Grimmelmann of Laboratorium.

    on the security side, I touched base with Adam of Emergent Chaos.

  16. […] which is right behind us at #10 has 67, and some ideas have over 300.  So let’s redouble our blogger outreach efforts** — and at the same time, not rely on this changing and continue to reach out via […]

  17. […] help with the blogger outreach — and, once again follow up on email you’ve already sent! […]

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