Getting in Touch with the Netroots (pt.3)

Third ses­sion of the day and it’s Who’s Being Left Out of Online Orga­niz­ing. This pan­el was all about who’s not part of all these shiny, awe­some online spaces we’ve been talk­ing about all day at Net­roots. The pan­el’s actu­al­ly still going on, but I thought I’d put out some quick obser­va­tions:

-What does it mean to be left out? Left out of what? If its “the dis­course” or “democ­ra­cy”, then the online orga­niz­ing is sim­ply a tac­tic. If its only about online polit­i­cal spaces, maybe we’re miss­ing the point.

-We need to meet peo­ple where they are. It’s not just a mat­ter of whether cer­tain pop­u­la­tions pre­fer MySpace or Face­book, its whether SMS or text mes­sages are what peo­ple actu­al­ly use. We’ve seen inno­v­a­tive ways that cer­tain pro­gres­sive cam­paigns have sought to inte­grate things like cell phones which is used in real­ly inter­est­ing, sub­tly dif­fer­ent ways by com­mu­ni­ties of col­or and women.

-Some­one shared an anec­dote that dur­ing the past elec­tion, a cer­tain can­di­date’s cam­paign suc­cess­ful­ly used online orga­niz­ing tools only when they were tar­get­ed towards offline actions (donat­ing mon­ey, call­ing some­one, etc). Can we have a con­ver­sa­tion about online advo­ca­cy that isn’t miss­ing the essen­tial whole of what par­tic­i­pa­tion and orga­niz­ing means.

-Cost and access came up over and over dur­ing the pan­el, whether its along racial, gen­der, geo­graph­ic or age lines. Ulti­mate­ly, if we want to break open the doors of the inter­net to those miss­ing from the cir­cles of pow­er and agency, maybe phil­an­thropic advo­ca­cy needs to be on our radar so that work gets fund­ed.

Pres. Bill Clin­ton keynot­ing tonight!