Update, January 14: please see Act now: 30 hours left in Ideas for Change in America for ways you can help in email, blogs, digg, and Twitter.
Voting in change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition closes Thursday at 2 p.m. Pacific time. When I first posted this, Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties has just fallen to #8 (with Appoint Secretary of Peace in Department of Peace and Non-Violence now a few votes ahead of us), and a couple of the ideas just out of the top 10 have been climbing rapidly. Now would be a very good time to start increasing our momentum.
So let’s supplement our blogosphere outreach with attention to Facebook.* I’m pretty sure at least half the Get FISA Right members have Facebook accounts, and while there are a lot of challenges to doing Facebook activism, it’s a great platform for person-to-person contact. As you get a few moments of time over the next few days, here’s how you can help. If you’re new to Facebook, more detailed descriptions are available on the Advocating on Facebook page on our wiki.
- Post the idea to your Facebook profile and Share it with your friends. The URL is http://www.change.org/ideas/view/get_fisa_right_repeal_the_patriot_act_and_restore_our_civil_liberties
- Change your status, Thomas’ is currently Thomas hopes you’ll vote for “Get FISA Right” at change.org. Mine is Jon is fighting for civil liberties! http://tinyurl.com/8ovtnt
- sign up for the Facebook event Get FISA Right in Round 2 of “Ideas for Change” and invite your friends! We’ll be using this as a communication channel over the last 72 hours, with one or two messages a day to let people know what the priorities are.
- reach out to groups, causes, and pages by writing on Walls and contacting admins. Advocating on Facebook has some sample messages and lists of likely allies. (Don’t try to do more than two or three groups in a day! And if you start getting warned as a spammer, please see How to respond when Facebook censors your political speech.)
- change your profile picture. There are a lot of different images to choose from in our photo gallery.
Some of the groups we’ve already contacted include Abolish the Patriot Act now, One Million Strong for Barack, EFF: Midnight Riders of the Electronic Frontier, Stop the Warrantless Surveillance Program!, Feminist Advisory Board for Obama, No to wiretapping, no to immunity!, and the Privacy ’08 Cause. There are a lot more, though, so please try to find the time to help out. Set you expectations low; I hear back from admins less than half the time, and it often takes a couple of days; sometimes there’s no response to a discussion thread. On the other hand, surprisingly often people are interested and very helpful — a discussion in the FAB thread led to an improvement in our description of the idea, and has now continued into the blogosphere.
If you do reach out on Facebook, please let us know about it here so that we don’t duplicate our efforts. As usual, see the first comment for an example.
And if you’ve got other suggestions for how we might consider reaching out on Facebook — or other groups, pages, or causes we should target — please add them in the comments!
It really bugs me when people deride Facebook activism as “too easy” because it’s so simple to invite people and accept invitations. It betrays both a shallowness of thought and a disrespect for Facebook’s value. In actuality it’s very hard to do effective activism at scale on Facebook and requires a lot of people to get involved in order to scale. Then again it’s where a lot of millenials spend a large chunk of their lives — and it’s also a place optimized for disintermediated person-to-person contact — so it seems to me that it’s worth the effort.
So please get involved and help.
PS: and please help with blogger outreach too.
* MySpace and my.barackobama.com are also good potential recruiting grounds … suggestions on how to reach out there welcome as well.