Lessons learned?

As Harry’s update describes, it’s not over yet.  Feingold is going to introduce a couple more amendments in next week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: NSLs and immunity.  It may make sense to take another run at social network activism, using a similar pattern: build strength over the weekend, try to catalyze blogging on Monday and Tuesday, and build momentum on social networks Tuesday and Wednesday to try to break into the traditional media.  And even if we decide not to do that, there’ll be future battles as the legislation goes through the House, Senate, and committees.

So now’s a good time to learn from the experience.


Please include positive lessons as well as negative ones!



10 Responses to Lessons learned?

  1. jonpincus says:

    http://getfisaright.twazzup.com/ worked really well as a way of highlighting the key action (except when Twitter search was down this morning, oops)

    – The “best chance yet to fix the PATRIOT Act and FISA” message was a good one.

    – Still haven’t found the hook for technology-in-politics bloggers.

  2. novenator says:

    A bit of advice on spreading the word on Twitter. Keep the tweets relatively short, precise, and strongly worded.
    Use the format [message] [short link] [hashtags]. Commentary can help generate enthusiasm as well, although I tend to use the service more as a way to share information.

    The progressive #p2 crowd should get on board with this pretty eagerly, especially with mentions of Feingold. The libertarian #tlot crowd may or may not get on board, I’ve found some of them to be neocons hiding behind the libertarian banner. Still worth a shot, use both hashtags on every post:
    #p2 #tlot #PatriotAct

    Also, if someone writes a short article, I could pitch it on digg. Catchy title required for traction.

    Keep up the good work folks.

  3. jonpincus says:

    Thanks for the feedback, novenator … so far we’ve been mostly using Twitter for information, calls to action, and then messages for politicians — only a little discussion.

    While some #p2 folks are very actively involved here (including co-founders me and @myrnatheminx, you, @alapoet, @baratunde, @GloPan, @digitalsista, @cyn3matic, @j_ro, @maegancarberry) we haven’t seen much activity from the broader #p2 community yet. Good point about #tlot; maybe the #libertarian hashtag would be a better alternative.

  4. Jim says:

    Get FISA Right and associated should be commended for the tremendous effort put in despite the short time frame. On the positive side, there is another week.

    Now that there is another week, I want to suggest getting retro by adding another action point: write a letter to the editor of your local print newspaper today. A lot of old school liberals and libertarians who think “tweet” is some kind of shredded breakfast cereal can be reached that way.

  5. jonpincus says:

    Thanks Jim. Excellent point about letters to the editor — today and this weekend’s a great time.


  6. jonpincus says:

    A couple of comments from an email thread (posted with permission).

    Jason Rosenbaum of The Seminal:

    I’m personally not seeing nearly the energy around this from commenters that I thought there might be. Wondering what others are seeing. If similar, any thoughts as to why? If not, what frames are you using that I might try?

    Gloria Pan of #fem2:

    I think there’s no sense of urgency – other headlines are dominating the news and people in general just don’t know enough about this stuff to be inspired to automatically jump in where there’s an action, especially on a fast-moving casual platform as Twitter. Also, among people inclined to jump in, there are tons of other stuff to get exercised about. Among women, it’s been abortion and the healthcare debate. I think it takes time to build a community around an issue – for a first step, this was pretty good – but we need to consider how we can move this issue up the progressive community’s long list of priorities.

  7. There must be a sense of urgency if we are to avoid the excesses of the GWB administration in this one. Once an office-holder gets power, it is very difficult to reclaim the power and give it back to its rightful owners (“We, the People”).

    It is also clear that Obama will abandon his principles in the name of “getting SOMETHING done.” This has held true for every controversial issue that has come before us in the last couple of years (and before that when he voted “present” in the IL State Senate.

    The only way we can get our rights re-established within the current governmental structure is to enact campaign finance reform in order to shift the power back to the people and seize it from fat-cat Big Business and their special interest groups and lobbyists. Until we do this, Congress and the Executive Branch will allow them to “pay to play” and will not make decisions that benefit the people.

    Campaign Finance Reform is the first and most critical step.

    Once that is in place, a healthcare bill can be passed that benefits the people and not the insurance companies, healthcare providers and Big Pharma.

    Decisions about how to solve the economy will move back from “welfare for Big Businesses” and the proper restraints and regulations that were eroded since the Reagan years (and even before that) will be re-established.

    And, of course, if we re-establish the natural balance between the three branches that the authors of the Constitution intended (and which have worked reasonably well in the past), it stands to reason that our rights and protections will be re-established as well. All the executive abuses of the past, from torture, rendition and the writ of habeas corpus to Executive Orders and all the provisions in the last few FISA amendments and the end of the Patriot Act will cease to exist in their present form.

    And we must pass a rule that amendments that are not germane to a bill cannot be included in any bill.

    We also must demand the SCOTUS rule on whether or not an Executive Order is constitutional and binding, particularly if it includes provisions that are unconstitutional (abolishing the writ of habeas corpus, etc.)

    And we must establish the Right to Privacy, which I belief does exist if you look at the Bill of Rights (it is quite apparent that our forefathers believed in the “man’s castle” theory and the Right of Privacy).

    Anyway, I think we must approach this issue in two ways:

    First, get control over our politicians, who have reason to fear Big Business and Special Interests because of the enormous cost of running a successful re-election campaign;

    Second, we must try to educate “We, the People” and make them realize how dangerous it is to set such precedents. We must re-establish the inherent controls and balance between the three branches of government and the unconstitutional shift of far too much government power to the Executive Branch. Even i we like and trust (or think we do), the guy in office now, we must remember that these precedents, once set, will empower and candidate that occupies these governmental position in the future.

    Unchecked power and authority just doesn’t work, whether we are speaking of individuals or a political party. We have seen that throughout the ages, and especially since 1980, when the political parties and special interests influenced the general public in becoming more and more polarized. And that is the real danger.

    A democracy must be “people-oriented” in order to succeed and achieve the true goals of such a government type. Every time we sit back and watch our inherent constitutional rights protections “flushed down the toilet” — regardless of any fear that permeates political discourse or public discourse — we move further and further way from the true freedoms that only a democracy can provide.

    The GWB administration proved how instilling fear in the general population could successfully empower an unhealthy, unchecked Executive Branch who believed themselves to be above the law. And we also see how the country was bankrupted by the GWB administration to the point where the People are now financing with their own tax dollars poorly run companies and negligent executive management who deserve to be punished, not rewarded with multimillion-dollar executive bonuses BEFORE they have paid the American taxpayers back for their bailout money… These are the same executives that routinely and for a significant period of time made bad management decisions and were even criminal negligent to the point that their actions consist of a criminal breach of their fiduciary responsibilities. And then we allow them their million-dollar bonuses while we are punished for their crime by having to carry the load of an out-of-control national debt.

    Campaign Finance Reform is the first step. Without it, the Constitution will not be restored to its original intent, real healthcare that first protects the best interests of the People and not Big Business and Special Interest will never pass, and Big Business and Special Interests will continue to have an excessive access to our elected officials.

  8. harrywaisbren says:

    A key lesson learned I see is that we shouldn’t rely on bloggers to promote social media based activism.

    Our model from last summer might be dated in that regard considering twitter’s explosion and our growth in leadership amongst progressives on twitter. Blogosphere support definitely would lead to a major spike for such activism, but I think our focus should be on developing a system where we can consistently bring about a spike that they could report on rather than working for their support to lead to it in the first place.

    Plus, developing this infrastructure will make it easier to bring about the popular idea of a “retweeting schedule” and would generally build upon itself.

  9. I’ll be honest with you: I am always suspicious and a little wary of depending on what I consider to be “fad” technology like Twitter. Not because it can’t be useful if used properly, but because we already have eliminated all the “hard work” of investigative journalism (background story, objectivity, professional distance, serious impartial analysis, etc.) as it is. Twitter just encourages folks, particularly our young people, to keep the discussion on an extremely superficial level.

    To use Twitter to pass along superficial information (timeline and/or results for congressional votes, etc.) about events or issues or the people involved in the public debate on same is one thing; trying to have a serious policy discussion of an issue is quite another.

    We already lack too much substance of the debate taking place in the public forum. We need to get past our addiction to technology fads, image over truth/reality, substance over the superficial, etc. :ooking good or “appearing” to be good is not the same thing as actually BEING good.

    And “improper” use of this very superficial fad called Twitter encourages all the wrong things, IMHO. Using Twitter to pass on directions, updates on votes or other logistical details is an appropriate use of Twitter. Serious policy debate is not.

  10. […] Lessons learned post and discussion in the comments section […]

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