Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Online advocacy: Who's clicked now

Recently this Washington Post article about their investigation into the public not remembering they clicked online advocacy system to communicate with regulatory agency. Relates to efforts by National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to oppose merger of satellite radio stations.

Many associations expanding into public involvement in online advocacy, so interesting read. Why can't public be educated online, with option to participate?

1. Great idea to run ads on consumer-oriented sites to educate consumers and request action on issue.
2. Every online experience wants one click - even Post online article had 36 one-clicks inside and around it. Not a negative.
3. Don't like when politicians or staff get annoyed by online advocacy email. Constituents should be able to contact however they want. Likely they'll send mass email response back so bit one-sided to want big effort by public, but convenience personally. Why force letters (stamps, gas cost, time delays), hunting public fax machine, dictating to answering machines or receptionists when easy option online?
4. Consumers don't like to put too much personal info on any online system (like phone number) - of course many numbers dialed were wrong.
5. Theft of data from any advocacy system or database huge concern - could be stolen for advocacy purposes.

6. Potential for disconnect between what legislators/regulators often need to know (or require) to identify bill (technical terms, bill number, title); and how public will understand issue. "Inside the Beltway/dome" terms might not make sense. Simplified terms on complex issue doesn't mean many could pass quiz on details of full bill - But public still can communicate support/opposition.

Definitely concerned about negative comments in article to positive (and real) option of public education and advocacy.

No comments: