Friday, July 23, 2010

Online Activism

Category: Issue 20

I do it all the time.  Until today, it was with my own accounts at Facebook, on Twitter, etc., but today I visisted Rep Calvert’s facebook page, “Like"d it, and then added a comment.  Then I did the same thing to Harry Reid’s page and Barbara Boxer’s page.  Diane Feinstein apparently doesn’t have a facebook page.

What I realized as I did it is that these FB pages are about as close as one can get to an open forum dedicated to a particular politician.  That’s something I’ve wanted to see for a very long time.  While constituents may argue and bicker on issues, the politician can either ignore the argument (that’s what I would expect) or state a position or direct visitors to certain facts that illuminate the discussion.  Either way, all the people who visit the page to express thanks or complain or whatever are exposed to each other’s input and this is the foundation of healthy communities.

There is a bit of ickiness to be withstood when you click “Like” on a politician’s FB page, but once you start engaging others because of their responses to your comments, I think you’ll find that what we’re really saying is that we like the open forum, rather than the politician.

The most important effect of this trend toward open social media being employed by (or on behalf of) politicians is for citizens everywhere (in other countries too!) to begin to demand that a political leader have an open forum of some sort where constituents (and others) can easily see and be influenced by each others’ thoughts.  I am confident that the democratic pressure of this media will produce very nice results.

I am now going to see about creating a FB “Like” page for Diane Feinstein.  Should be interesting!