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George Scoville Shares 'Online Activism 101'

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, June 22 2011

On his personal blog, political consultant George Scoville — now of CRAFT Media/Digital — recaps his Right Online talk with Ericka Andersen on how to be a successful activist online. Among his tips is this one:

Technology doesn’t replace personal relationships. We have to find ways to use technology to augment existing relationships, and to discover new ones.

Over the last two election cycles, the most successful emergent tools have been the ones that unlock the power of connections between people to people. Ning, a plug-and-play, web-based social network platform, helped to power Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's successful 2009 campaign. The Scottish National Party credits a brand-new tool, NationBuilder, with helping its members organize and manage supporters en route to achieving an unprecedented majority in Scottish Parliament in May elections. After the 2008 presidential campaigns, platforms that unlock the ability of volunteers to run their own phone banks for voter outreach, manage their own fundraising operations and generate and use walk lists — like BlueSwarm, which is now Fundly, and Democracy Engine for peer-to-peer fundraising, or rVotes and the now-defunct Civio for the volunteer door-knocking, pamphleteering and other work that form a campaign's ground game — flourished.

Online activism 101, per Scoville, is understanding how to spread a message, start a conversation, and keep it alive. I'd be curious to hear the opinions of other online activists on what the 201- and 301-level courses might be about.