People To Politicians

Examples

  • Grassroots organizations that lobby politicians

Secondary Sources or Scholarly Articles

Kahn, R. et. al. "New media and internet activism: from the ‘Battle of Seattle’ to blogging." New Media and Society 6 (1), 87-95. 2004
External source
This journal article focuses on how new media has affected activism over the years. It discusses in detail how certain grassroots organizations such as MoveOn and Answer use websites to post anti-war information and organize demonstrations. Activists like these groups, are not only using websites but even blogs and wikis in order to mobilize supporters and spread information about their cause. According to the author, the internet has created new “political possibly” and social relations for activist groups.

Eagleton-Pierce, M. "The Internet and the Seattle WTO Protests." Peace Review, 13 (3), 331-337. 2001
External source
This article focuses on how activist groups utilize the internet. Specifically, it touches on how websites offer information to activists that helps them in reaching local media sources, access government reports, and assist in building local coalitions. Websites have a global reach, allow for networking, and are available at low cost to activist groups so more and more are turning tot eh web. This article also goes into how the internet has impacted activism by promoting new protests such as “hactivism” and explains how it has increased chances for national mobilization.

Kim, J., & Reber, B. “How Activist Groups Use Websites in Media Relations: Evaluating Online Press Rooms.” Journal of Public Relations Research, 18 (4), 313-333. 2006
External source
This article touches on how activist groups can rely on their websites to connect with fellow organizations, influence the political agenda, and make information publicly available. They have the option to include online press rooms, policy papers, downloadable materials, online forums and according to the author, activist groups can use the internet to level the playing field against government and corporate interest groups. 97.3% of activist websites included some sort of general contact information,31.3% included dialogue mechanisms, 33.8% had request mechanisms for information (33.8%), and 37.8% offered regular email updates. Almost half of the environmental activist websites in the study provided a means of making a donation to the organization while one-third provided information on how to volunteer with the
organization.

Van de Donk, W. "Cyberprotest: New Media, Citizens, and Social Movements." 2004
External source
While this book covers a broad spectrum of new media and its affect on politics, one specific section in the preview discusses how grassroots organizations benefit from the internet. It talks about how citizens can look for and receive specific information concerning grassroot causes, craft messages, and a personally contact politicians via the internet which is a obvious advantage. Also, virtual organizations are now possible which is something new to the grassroots field and resources can be modiblized more easily. In addition, grassroots now have the option to communicate more often via ICTs.

Taylor, M. et al. "How activist organizations are using the Internet to build relationships." Public Relations Services, 27 (3), 263. 2001
External source
This is a study on how activist groups use their webpages. The data suggests that while most groups meet the technical and design aspects needed for dialogic relationship building on the Web, they are not yet fully engaging their publics via two-way communication. So there is room for improvement. This is just an interesting study in general.

Hara, N., & Estrada, Z. "Analyzing the mobilization of grassroots activities via the internet: a case study." Journal of information science, 31 (6), 503. 2005
External source
This is a journal article featuring a case study on whether or not grassroots organizations can mobilize activities via the web. It specifically examines the influence of the MoveOn and StormFront, two organizations which rely on the web for activity mobilization.

Economist, The. "The Day of Netroots; Internet Grassroots Politics." The Economist. October 13, 2007
External source
This news article talks about grassroots going online, transforming its influence on the government. The journalist notes how MoveOn.org staged an online protest which was an interesting action by a grassroots organization.

Anonymous. "Grassroots Enterprise Launches 'PhoneTheVote' Virtual Phone Bank; Activists Can Now 'Mobile-ize' the Vote With iPhones, Treos, Blackberries, Skype, Etc." PR Newswire. November 8, 2007
External source
This is a press release concerning new applications designed for grassroots fundraising. Grassroots websites are now incorporating phone applications on their actual websites to help connect themselves to their supporters.

Goddard, J. "Grassroots charity wins kudos as best fundraiser; Internet helped GuluWalk raise $500,000 for child war victims." The Toronto Star. February 14, 2007
External source
This news article talks about a specific organiztion known as Guluwalk and explains how they used the internet to spread the word about their fundraising walk. The organization ended up gaining a lot of international support and the walk turned out to be a success thanks to the impact of the internet.

RunObama.com. "RunObama.com Enlists 6,500 Obama Supporters in First Two Weeks; Calls On Obama Supporters to Gather 10,000 Signatures by Sunday." PR Newswire. December 7, 2006
External source
This is a news article on the grassroots website runobama.com and highlights how the site recently urged its following to sign their support to Obama. The site is run by average citizens who support his campaign run for the presidency. Note: Runobama.com now goes directly to Obama's website.

O’Sullivan, P. B. "Computers and political participation: Santa Monica’s teledemocracy project." Journal of Applied Communication Research, 23, 93-107. 1995
External source
New communication technologies have been touted as a way to improve political participation by facilitating the flow of political information and opinion between citizens and their leaders. A project in Santa Monica, California, broke new ground for teledemocracy experiments with Public Electronic Network (PEN), the first government-sponsored computer network intended as a supplemental channel of communication between a city government and citizens. This paper examines how computer networks in general, and PEN in particular, match the ideals of teledemocracy through a descriptive and historical analysis of Santa Monica's Public Electronic Network.

Gillespie, Tarleton. "New media and politics… consensus or engagement?" Scrutiny. April 17, 2008.
External source
There is a tension in the ideas about public political involvement and the “public sphere,” between whether the value of public participation in debating the issues of the day is the value of engagement for its own sake, or engagement in order to accomplish something, to reach consensus or resolution…

Primary Sources

MoveOn.org website
This is a grassroots organization in support of Democrats in the Whitehouse. Talked about in a lot of the articles listed above.

National Organization for Women website
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest grassroots feminist political action organization in the US.

Green Change website
This is a grassroots organization known as Green Change which supports sustainability, non-violence, equality, and green values in general. It works to put "green" politicians in charge and this website is a great example of how grassroot organizations can increase supporters and volunteer network, dispense news and issue information, and encourage followers to take action politically. It is a good example of how organizations can use websites for different purposes.

Earthjustice website
This is the website of Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm/lobbyist organization located in Washington, D.C. This website shows how not only organizations can list relevant information and political updates, but they can also encourage supporters to donate money and take action on legal issues. In addition, the website offers blog postings from their legal staff, information about the firm, news feed options, videos, and press releases. This is a website that really takes advantage of the multimedia option.

World Hunger Year website
This organization's website has different departments, some for: information, taking action, learning about the program etc. The organization works on community-based solutions and has numerous recommendations for getting involved so it i is another example of how websites can be used for mobilization and taking action.

Idealist website
This is a grassroots search engine which offers links to various grassroots websites in different areas geographically. It can be helpful if we want to compare how different organizations utilize their webpages.

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