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Monday, November 10, 2008

Causewiring the Anti-Death Penalty Movement

Anyone interested in using online activism against the death penalty should take a look at the new book, CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World. It is about using online activism to change the world. The author, Tom Watson, also has a blog that is worth a look. He says that Obama's election was "the product of the most socially-wired campaign in American history. In a victory that holds deep lessons for how nonprofit organizations and cause-driven ventures will organize volunteers and build support in the future, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States Tuesday in a near-landslide victory keyed by state-of-the-art social networking and online organizing."

The website SocialActions is also a great place to find useful social activism services. It has a guide to 30 website platforms that can be used for online activism. Another source is MobileActive.org, which concentrates on using cell phones for social change.

If you run an anti-death penalty website, you might take a look at some of the online services that TMN uses and implement them on your own sites.

TMN was an early adopter of online activism from our start back in 2000. Our first website, created using phpWebSite, allowed us to make blog posts long before the word "blog" became popular. We have sinced starting using Blogger as our main blog while keeping our main website at texasmoratorium.org. In addition to our own blog, we reach a larger audience by posting occasionally about death penalty issues on other community blog sites, such as DailyKos and Burnt Orange Report.

Every anti-death penalty organization can share news and action alerts on each others websites by creating a news feed using a service such as Google Reader. Then you include the RSS feeds from other anti-death penalty organizations. You can see an example on the right of our blog and main website. Capital Defense Weekly is a site that uses RSS feeds very well.

We have used Joomla to create websites such as SharonKiller.com and deathpenaltyartshow.org, among others. The TMN PAC website uses WordPress. Our main website still uses phpWebSite, but we want to transition to another content management system soon.

You can also find TMN on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Change.org or read our blog. We feed our blog automatically to Twitter using TwitterFeed. Our Twitter account also is fed action alerts dealing with the death penalty from the SocialActions website, so it should pick up alerts from other anti-death penalty organizations.


We have also used Democracy in Action to let our supporters send messages to the Texas governor, members of the legislature and the board of pardons and paroles. During the campaign for Kenneth Foster, more than 6,000 messages were sent through our DIA-powered alert. We have also used DIA to collect petition signatures. DIA is a system that you have to pay for. Most of the other systems we use are free.

Many campaigns use the Care2 Petition Site, but that system doesn't allow you to download the complete contact information of the people who sign, so that is a weakness with Care2. Another option that does allow you to download all the contact information is Ipetitions.com, which we used to create this petition for a federal death penalty moratorium.

We have found many new volunteers though our profile on VolunteerMatch.

We send text alerts to cell phones using Upoc.

We most recently started using Amazee.com, which is currently running a membership contest that if our "Abolish the Death Penalty" project could win. If our "Abolish the Death Penalty" project has the most members on Amazee by Jan 22, we could win up to $5,000 to use against the death penalty.

We use GrandCentral for voice mail.

We use Upcoming.org and Eventful.com to promote events, such as upcoming execution protests.

We use ConstantContact for our email newsletter that goes out to thousands of people.

We use Magnify.net to create our video aggregation page.

We use Picnik to edit photos for flyers and websites. Then we store them on Picassa, Flickr or Photobucket. Right now, Picassa is our favorite. See photos of the recent March in Houston on Picassa here.

We use Wufoo to collect information through forms, such as registering people for Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break.

We have used SproutBuilder to create widgets to promote actions such as the Save Jeff Wood widget.

We use Scribd.com to post documents online.

We use Widgetbox to get more people to read our blog posts and Feedburner to allow people to subscribe to receive our blogposts by email. Subscribe to Texas Moratorium Network blogposts by Email.

We are developing a new tool using CauseCaller to allow people to call the governor and members of the Texas Legislature. It should be ready by January. We might also use it to allow people to call members of the U.S. Congress and the new president to push for a federal moratorium.

If you think we have been doing a good job using online social activism tools, especially for an all-volunteer organization, please vote for us in the



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1 comment:

Joseph Mucha said...

Thanks for the Sprout Builder mention, looks like you have an awesome/efficient approach to social media. Glad that Sprout is in the mix. Follow us on twitter http://twitter.com/sproutbuilder