Finding ways to participate on the Internet isn't hard. You don't even need to turn to an established activist group to create an online campaign. Web sites such as PetitionOnline.com allow anyone to create and manage a petition on the Web for free, and as their success stories suggest, online grass-roots politics can persuade powerful players to change their tune. Launched in 1999, the site has housed tens of thousands of petitions and collected more than 47 million signatures. . . . . . . .
. . . . . .Online activism dramatically reduces the time and money it takes to organize and participate in events. Consider how hard it is to organize a physical petition -- printing expenses, hiring petition gatherers to find good locations where there might be enough foot traffic to attract signers -- vs. posting a text on PetitionOnline.com and advertising the link.
As some types of online activism allow people to take part quickly and easily , it opens the door for broader changes, shifting how regularly people take part in political actions. Such streamlined activism may lead to more frequent, and more committed, political engagement on the part of everyday citizens. And politicians seeking donations, votes and other kinds of support may look to tap into this new generation of self-selected, point-and-click activists. Much like the Web, these online petitions are an end in themselves as well as a gateway to new kinds of action. . . . . . . .. . . . .The next generation of citizens is learning how to organize around issues they care about, and they're doing so in their own way.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
From the Washington Post: