Posts tagged ‘Sunlight Foundation’

An exploration into D.C.’s schmooze culture

Politico has a great article up today on the schmoozing and fundraising hotspots in D.C. Because I am a staunch hater of schmoozing (clearly, I chose to live in the right place to avoid all that, didn’t I?), and because I want to know what places to avoid lest I be sucked into a void of networking and political fundraising, I find the article quite useful.

Besides, who *doesn’t* want to learn about where Barney Frank goes to grab a bite?

(And in a nod to transparency, kudos to the Sunlight Foundation’s Party Time blog for providing information on the schmooze hotspots from thousands of invitations).

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May 15, 2009 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

Lobbying social-media style with Twitter: Examples and how-to’s

It’s been about a year since I’ve created a Twitter feed for my organization, Public Citizen.

During this time, we’ve posted links, conversed with followers, shared content related to our mission, and encouraged followers to take action. And overall, Twitter has helped us build Public Citizen’s brand, develop a younger following and seem more approachable. But one thing we haven’t tried is using Twitter to achieve what used to be a solely offline activity: Public interest lobbying.

Contacting lawmakers has become increasingly difficult. Their inboxes typically block large influxes of constituent emails (an example of this occurred news of the financial bailout first hit the news this fall), and constituents typically can only email lawmakers within their district. I’ve talked to some activists who have recommended going back to hand-delivering paper petitions to get the word out. There’s even a campaign from Consumers Union called Don’tBlockMyVoice.org.

Now, with the expanding world of social media, lawmakers are creating Twitter accounts. Granted, the person actually doing the tweeting probably isn’t the lawmaker, but this does provide another avenue, on top of paper, phone calls and emails, to communicate with elected officials. (more…)

April 8, 2009 at 9:28 pm Leave a comment

Online tools for transparency

Coincidentally, after writing yesterday about Congress’ decision to not post complete information online regarding stimulus spending, I read a great recap of TransparencyCamp at Care2’s Frogloop blog. And I have to admit, it made me feel a bit better about the state of open government … and made me wish I could have attended.

The goal of the meetup:

This un-conference is about convening a trans-partisan tribe of open government advocates from all walks — government representatives, technologists, developers, NGOs, wonks and activists — to share knowledge on how to use new technologies to make our government transparent and meaningfully accessible to the public.

What I find most exciting are some of the experiments in enhancing open government and civic participation through the Internet. One of my favorites, AskYourLawmaker, provides a format similar to Digg, in which people rank questions for lawmakers. The site’s creators, Pundit Productions Inc., pick the top ranked questions and put their journalists to work getting the answers. (more…)

March 13, 2009 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment


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