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Readings 7

June 13, 2011

Ari Melber’s special report “Year One of Organizing for America: The Permanent Field Campaign in a Digital Age” talks about the grassroots network during the Obama presidential campaign in 2008. Drawing on new interviews with dozens of both parties’ congressional staff, former Obama campaign staff, and activists from Organizing for American (OFA), the report gives a comprehensive review of this unprecedented grassroots campaign.

The report first reviews the activities OFA did in 2009 and provides more contexts with interviews with congressional members, campaign staff and volunteers. Then Melber provides a detailed analysis of OFA and takes a look at its new organizing model.

Ben Rigby’s “Mobilizing Generation 2.0: A Practical Guide to Using Web 2.0: Technologies to Recruit, Organize and Engage Youth” is a practical guide of Web 2.0 technologies, telling people how to integrate social media tools into their organization’s outreach, marketing, and fundraising plans. In this book, Rigby provides very useful advice for people who want to reach a younger and tech savvy generation via Web 2.0 tools.

Rigby explains the definition of Web 2.0 technologies in the Introduction part of the book. He said “the term refers to a group of popular technologies that survived the dot-com bust, so-called 2.0 because they pick up from the previous generation of technologies invented during the last wave of Internet innovation.” This book discusses these new technologies including blogs, social networks, video and photo sharing, mobile phones, Wikis, maps and virtual worlds.

The book is informative and well-structured. Each chapter talks about one technology, beginning with a brief introduction of this tool and how it should be used to raise awareness, do fundraising and communicate effectively. After each chapter, there are two “big pictures” essays written by other authors offering useful real world case studies.

Rigby aims at getting people started to take advantage of these new technologies in their organizations or during campaigns. So the book offers strategic considerations and possible challenges at the end of each chapter, which is very helpful and accessible for any beginners in this area.

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