Ask organizers at the top of their game and they’ll tell you flat out: organizing is organizing. It’s not about the tools and tactics. Organizing and community organizing are ways of looking at the business of social change with a metrics mentality. Not that long ago, organizers would prepare lists of people to have one-on-ones with, leaders to train, walk lists for canvassing in the neighborhood, people to call who you ask to call yet more people. All in the service of building towards moments where the combination of numbers (people) and political strategy led to resources and power shifting from those who have too much to those that don’t have enough.
Guess what? Online organizing is no different. It’s just that along the way, a few new tools came along like online databases, services for mass emailing and online advocacy, donation and membership software, field organizing and walk list software, online voter databases, mapping tools, phone apps, the blogosphere and the rise of crowd sourcing. For some, these new tools represented an amazing opportunity to rush forward and win victories and mindshare. For others, they represented a challenge—a conundrum. Some of these tools were obviously useful, but didn’t feel quite right. [Read more...]