Jon Lebkowsky is moderating a panel on Advocacy as an Application. The other panelists are Bill Greene, from RightMarch.com, Adina Levin, from EFF-Austin, Jonah Seiger, from the Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet, and Cory Doctorow, from EFF.
Jonah leads out talking about how tools can facilitate advocacy. These are evolutions of things that started long ago. The essence of MeetUp is online organizing for offline action. The business world is about making something bigger than what you started with. Applications are useless without users. The tools are only half of the solution. Message matters. You have to have clarity. You have to motivate people to participate. MoveOn works because their message resonates with their constituency.
Cory says "architecture is politics." We want the Internet to be something that is inherently resistant to regulation. That is not true. We all live somewhere where we are subject to those regulations. If you want the Internet to survive, you have to be involved. Early on in the Internet, the FCC was considering taxing modems. Kevin Werbach, working at the FCC, put in a electronic comments box and in 24 hours 300,000 letters came in (against naturally). We can fix bad laws. Defeatism is not an option and not necessary. We can make a difference.
Bill Greene talks about outsourcing. RightMarch.com outsources most of its backend services. CapitolAdvantage, for example, syncs with Congressional contact forms and RightMarch.com just uses CapitolAdvantage to create "email your congressman" on their site.