Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tripped up by Social Media

In late December, 2013, Lansing, Michigan was hit by a severe ice storm resulting in thousands of customers throughout the region without power for between 2 and 10 days over the Christmas holiday. The Lansing municipal utility, "Lansing Board of Water and Light" was responsible for providing power to many of those without. Amid the outage the Executive Director of the LBWL kept his plans for a family vacation out of state in New York City. How did anyone find out? A seemingly harmless Facebook post by his wife with pictures of the ED in NYC at Rockefeller Center and enjoying drinks with family and friends. Let this be a reminder to all who are involved in some way in government and public service that social media is both a powerful tool for advocacy and for negativity. Don't be the one caught in the cross-hairs of social media!
Story here:

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Will Deliver State of the State Address on 1/16/2014 7:00 p.m.

Watch here!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lolcats for Lobbying?

Yep, sure enough, the Lolcats phenomena has entered the political arena. created a video here  (with story from the Global Post) and below in the style of Lolcats that compares the rich to fat-cats and hard working Americans to kittens.

Effective, funny, creative - but didn't quite get the job done - yet.

How can you use videos to tell your story and move public opinion?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Use your smart phone for lobbying - there's an App for that part 2

Bono does it, why can't you?

The prevalence of smart phones makes the custom App perfect for your next fly-in or grassroots lobbying effort.  Bono's anti-poverty group ONE uses an iPhone App that figures out who your member of Congress is, brings up their phone number and provides you with a handy script to read off to the receptionist or other poor intern that answers the phone in D.C.

More from Roll Call here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Term: Astrotweeting

Here's a good one from the -- the definition of "AstroTweeting":


The creation of fake Twitter profiles to show support for a political candidate.

Bill White described the practice in an Texas Monthly interview about his 2010 race against Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

“There were also some silly things that happened that are still hard to believe. One consulting firm of his created artificial people to tweet. [The campaign] wanted to question my support in the African American community, but they couldn’t recruit an African American person to do it, so on Twitter they used a stock photo of a black person. One of the people who supported my campaign clicked on the image and found out it was a singer from Atlanta. The Twitter address was registered at the same location as one of Mr. Perry’s political consultants.”

Derived by Rick Hasen, with inspiration from Ben Smith, from the term Astroturfing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Petition sites Part 3 -

Here's another top online petition site for your consideration --

Like and , you can start an online petition and generate contacts to public officials in minutes.

Here's the official scoop on iPetitions from their site:

About us

iPetitions takes the power of the internet to transform society and places it in the hands of ordinary people. With iPetitions, you don't have to be a technical whiz or corporate behemoth to get your voice heard. We give you the tools and community to create your own sophisticated online campaign. All you have to do is write a petition in support of your cause. We help you gather support from around the world.

Changing the world

At iPetitions, we are committed to the idea that technology can change the world for the better. Around the world, technology is making a difference to lives. In developing countries, the internet is delivering health information to villages and equipping schools with virtual libraries. In dictatorships, web sites are spaces of freedom where dissidents evade the clutches of a repressive state. In America, the internet offers voters direct access to their political representatives and helps enforce corporate responsibility. With our tools, you can be part of this process of democratization.
iPetitions is committed to fostering a genuine grassroots democracy, where citizens from around the world can gather to exchange information and freely debate the issues. We allow you to tap into the internet’s hundreds of millions of users to support the cause that you care about.

What we offer

We offer the physical space to host your petition, and we give you the tools to gather signatures, blog about your cause, and build a community around the issues that you care about. Our sophisticated tools have been tested on a number of online petitions, and offer a high degree of customization without requiring any programming or technical knowledge. You might find other petition sites out there. But none of them offers the full range of tools that we do. Among other things, our tools allow you to:
  • Customize your question list
  • Customize the design of your petition
  • Download real-time data on your petition
  • Blog about your petition
  • Create filters to block out duplicate signatures
  • And much more…

Who can host a petition

Anyone. Thanks to iPetitions, you don't have to be a big organization or a technical whiz to manage an online campaign. On the other hand, even if you are a large organization, you will still benefit from working with us. For larger organizations, we offer customized campaign-building solutions. These are total packages that can include anything from consulting services to web design and construction. If you are an organization or company and would like to know more, contact usdirectly.

Is it free

Yes. Our costs are covered by advertising and donations, so we are able to offer you these great tools totally free.

Our principles

iPetitions is neither left nor right, neither liberal nor conservative. We believe that all opinions deserve an equal hearing.
We will not accept any petition which discriminates on grounds of race, class, sex, ethnicity, political affiliation, or sexual orientation. We reserve the right to refuse any petition which we feel does not contribute to an open and democratic exchange of ideas.
We are committed to maintaining the privacy of our petition hosts and those who sign their petitions. Click here for more information on our privacy policy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another Petition site to check out

If you like online advocacy and are looking for new outlets for activists in support of your cause give a petition site a try.  There are several to pick from and you can get started for free!

Today, let's look at The Petition Site .  They boast direct connections to Facebook for all their petitions - giving you greater range and scope for your advocacy effort.

Here's an overview of the parent company Care 2 from their site:

Company Overview

Care2 is a trusted social action network that empowers millions of people to lead a healthy, sustainable lifestyle and support socially responsible causes.
Care2's content offering includes original stories, blogs and syndication partners covering a wide range of healthy lifestyle areas, and causes ranging from politics to human rights and animal welfare. By integrating relevant content with action opportunities such as petitions, pledges and daily actions, Care2 builds a deeper level of passion and engagement with its users. The Butterfly Rewards member loyalty program is a "currency for good" for Care2 members to earn points and support nonprofit projects worldwide.
Care2 users are the emerging mainstream of conscious consumers, bringing a high level of passion, engagement and influence to everything they do. The typical Care2 user is a woman who is 25-54 years old, lives with a spouse or partner, has one or more pets, volunteers for causes she believes in, buys eco-friendly products and donates to nonprofits.
Care2 is the largest and fastest growing social action network, with over 16 million members and 175% growth in unique visitors year over year. Care2 also owns and operates the #1 site for petitions,, generating 24 million signatures in the past 12 months. With applications on Facebook and a network of over 100 revenue sharing partner sites, Care2's reach is to over 150 million people.
Care2 is in the top 200 sites worldwide on Quantcast traffic reporting
Care2 is a profitable, privately funded company and a B-Corporation. The company's business model is focused on pay-per-action lead generation for non-profit organizations and CPM sponsorships for responsible consumer brands. As a B-Corporation or social enterprise, Care2 generates revenues by connecting individuals with nonprofits and businesses that are making the world a better place.

There are a few simple steps to get started:
  • It's quick, easy, & free to start a petition
  • Every petition created on Care2 is automatically available on Facebook
  • An online petition is your direct line to your Congressperson, Senator, heads of Corporate America, & even the President.
  • The Care2 community is passionate resulting in 68,002,580 online petition signatures.
  • One Care2 member got 450,000 signatures on her petition. That's huge!
  • Use our tools to promote your petition on Facebook and other social networks
  • Our embedded petition widget lets people sign your petition on any website or blog!
  • Our Facebook petition application lets your friends sign your petition without leaving Facebook.
  • Care2's seasoned campaigners may take up your cause and help promote your online petition.
  • Find more tips in the Activist Toolkit.

Good luck!