Get FISA Right conference call Wednesday: notes and download info here.
The winning ideas were accepted on behalf of the Presidential Transition Team by Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media and the person who oversees our second-favorite website, Change.gov. Macon then addressed the attendees of the event, which included nonprofit leaders and grassroots activists, and spoke about the importance the administration will place on citizen-driven efforts like Ideas for Change.
– change.org Managing Editor Josh Levy, on the Blog for Change.
change.org’s press event on Friday featured some great speakers and got some nice press, for example Diego Graglia’s Immigrant Students, DREAM Act Supporters Hoping Obama Will Take Up Their Cause on Feet in 2 worlds, Nancy Scola’s Ideas for Change Settles on a top 10 on techPresident (which has the vote totals for the top ten finishers), and Prerna’s Undocumented Students Raise Voices Online for DREAM Act in New American Media (a great description of how our allies the DREAM Activists approached the competition). Get FISA Right’s Thomas Nephew was there in-person and discussed it on newsrackblock.com in We’re Number 5! We’re Number 5!
Yay us! And there’s a lot of ways we can build on this … discussion starts below.
At this point, though, the top priority is to take a break, enjoy the Inauguration, and recharge yourself. At least in SF, where I’m spending the weekend and the weather’s beautiful, it seems like everybody’s got a spring in their step — and that should go double for Get FISA Right. Congratulations both to us, and to President Obama! So, please, take it easy for the next couple of days … I’m going to be doing that too, so other than a couple of blog posts, expect to hear a lot less from me.
Macon Phillips, director of new media for the Obama transition team, thanked the group for its efforts. “A lot of people in the transition have been paying attention to Change.org and are very interested,” he said.
(Obama’s transition site, Change.gov, is easily confused with Rattray’s group, but Change.org actually is older.)
— Frank Greve and David Coffee Progressives offer Obama their top 10 ideas for change in the Miami Herald
As I mention in a comment on newsrackblog.com, I had asked if we could use the event to launch our new 25-second cable TV ad President Obama, please get FISA right and alas the agenda was already set.* I also asked if we could get a mailing to the people who had voted for us on change.org to point them to our idea in change.gov’s Citizens Briefing Book — pulling in a big chunk of our voters would have been enough to crack the top 10 — and suggested it would probably be useful for the other top ideas. No dice there either; my guess is they’re all pretty thrashed after the competition, especially with the last-minute merge of the two drug reform ideas. Maybe next time.
More positively, change.org restarted discussions on the ideas’ pages, this time asking for suggestions. There’s also a comment thread on each suggestion, which is a good place to engage. You can get to the pages for the top 35 or so ideas here; for an example of comments on threads, see (1, 2, 3).** If you have a few minutes, please join in on the threads of Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties and other ideas.
Sometime this week (probably Thursday), change.org is going to be setting up a group blog for all the Ideas for Change winners. This is a great thing; if it works, we’ll continue to get the kind of cross-pollination we’ve already been seeing in the finals. Rob Wheeler of the Campaign for a Sustainable America talked in the Miami Herald article about how he had already met five groups he hadn’t worked with before … ditto for us. Details tbd, but this should be a great place for discussions.
Modulo change.org’s limited discussion functionality, that is. From the experience so far, something that could help quickly is message board functionality like being able to see suggestions sorted by “most recent comment,” and the ability to have some kind of community moderation in the comment threads would be great too [for the geeks: ideally something Slashdot-like with long-term reputation]. Also a preview button would be really valuable. And it would be great to give people the option of displaying their last several posts on their profile in some way … that makes it much easier to seek out good relevant discussions. How quickly can we get these from change.org? Dunno; we shall see. (Please leave other wish-list suggestions in the comments.)
Still this is clearly a solvable problem, and overall things are off to a very encouraging start. One next step is to link up more explicitly with other ideators — we will probably want to set up a private Google Group or something to supplement the blog. And we’ll want to find out more about the MySpace relationship. Details as they emerge.
A big question for Get FISA Right is what non-profit to pick as our partner. There are a lot of interesting possibilities, most obviously ACLU, EFF, BORDC/PCC, CCR, and more broadly any of the members of the Liberty and Security coalition. I’m still not sure about the criteria and priorities here; Ben and I will be talking this week, and I should know more after that. If other ideas don’t have sponsor non-profits yet, we’d be delighted to know how you’re thinking about it!
For our short-term priority, it’s an open question what role change.org and MySpace can have in promoting our the video for President Obama, please get FISA right (below, as a reward for anybody who’s plowed through this whole thing). I’ll touch base with the SaysMe.tv folks tomorrow and see what they have to say. Expect a conference call Wednesday or so.
So. There you go … a lot going on, and for now the most important thing to do is …
Well, really, the most important thing to do is take a few days off. If you have a little time, get involved in the comments here or on change.org … but in general: take a break. Enjoy the inauguration. Celebrate!
As for me, I’m taking it fairly easy for the rest of this week, and then will be largely offline for a week or so visiting my Mom. So like I said, expect to hear less from me for a few days. I’m sure other voices will fill the gap!
PS: We would up at somewhere around 1450 points in the change.gov Citizens Briefing Book — a great learning experience. Hopefully John and/or Craig will do a followup post at some point; for now, thanks to everybody for your help. Now go celebrate!
* Instead, we’ll be launching our video simultaneously on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and the Comedy Channel in Washington, DC, on Inauguration day and then doing a moneybomb, probably for Presidents’ day. Gosh that was fun to type, I think I’ll do it again. We’ll be launching our video simultaneously on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and the Comedy Channel in Washington, DC, on Inauguration day. Sweet :-) More details soon.
** a subtle point here: change.org doesn’t include the original poster’s name on the page for a suggestion, so if mine is the first reply I always include their name. Personally, I always do that anyhow, but it’s especially important in this case.