Organizing inside

When Barack Obama reversed his position about the bad FISA bill (that updated US surveillance law by pruning the fourth amendment), Obama supporters didn’t just get mad, they organized. What’s new is that they used Obama’s online social network, to organize their opposition to their candidate’s position.
Barack Obama’s campaign has been innovative in using online social networking to organize his supporters — it’s a milestone like FDR’s use of radio, Kennedy’s use of television, and Viguerie’s use of direct mail. But a social network is not like radio or direct mail. Participants can talk to each other and organize. This is the first well-known instance of a candidate’s supporters organizing using the candidate’s tools. I don’t think it will be the last.
The FISA opponents lost this battle. Marcy Wheeler’s debrief shows that the participants are learning lessons for the next battle, not just about online organizing or even messaging, but about longterm strategy and tactics, understanding the unwritten legislative process; dogging committees; and organizing primaries against key adversaries.
The discourse about social media often sounds like marketing rebranded; how to market to the buyers inside the social networks. But the people in social networks can talk to each other, and that’s a fundamentally different thing.

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