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Can MoveOn Move Forward?
Alex Steffen, 9 Dec 03

MoveOn is an upstart net-activist group which has quickly become the benchmark by which all other digital democracy projects are measured.

Alternet's Don Hazen has written a sharp piece exploring MoveOn's evolution into a "mediamaker and viral marketer." Hazen says that the groups efforts to add media to its mix (like the 2,700+ house parties it arranged nationwide for Sunday's premiere of Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War[mapped in the picture right], or the build-your-own-political-TV-ad contest, Bush in 30 Seconds) are just the harbinger of a larger impact:

"MoveOn's revolutionary potential lies in ... its ability to circumvent the corporate media with quality content that could potentially turn many of its nearly 2 million members – and the larger group they influence, potentially 10 million or more – into viral marketers, and perhaps more.

"Many MoveOn members are influential in their communities. In the new communications parlance they are "connectors," a term made famous by Malcolm Gladwell's book, "The Tipping Point." Seth Godin in his book, "Unleashing the Idea Virus," calls them "sneezers." Whatever you call them, they are not shy about spreading their feelings or recruiting family and friends. They know that communication from a trusted friend or colleague is far more influential than an advertisement or a direct market appeal. ...

"As Lawrence Lessig, arguably the country's most innovative thinker about digital communication explains, 'Politics has always been about engaging people to act. But for the past 50 years the most efficient tool for engaging people to action has been broadcast media. Yet over time people grow immune. Surrounded by images pushing every passion imaginable, the only sane response is to develop increasingly thick walls to block them out. As a result, broadcast has become increasingly weak...and the weakened power of broadcast politics creates a strong incentive to develop an alternative. Enter the blog, a space where people gab. When done right – as the Howard Dean campaign is apparently doing – a blog is a tool for building community. A well-structured blog inspires both reading and writing. And by getting the audience to type, candidates get the audience committed. Engagement replaces reception, which in turn leads to real space action.'"

(Thanks, Jon!)

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It took me a moment to see an explanation of the map.

My initial guesses:

1) Concentrations of good book stores and/or indie movie theaters.

2) MoveOn activity.

3) Map of where Young Republican would target nuclear missiles in an effort to preserve American civilization from socialists, free-thinkers, and atheists.

4) All of the above.

Posted by: Stefan Jones on 9 Dec 03



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