Magazine article The Futurist

Cyberadvocacy

Magazine article The Futurist

Cyberadvocacy

Article excerpt

Computers and the Internet could help stimulate political involvement, reversing a long-term trend toward apathy in the United States, according to the authors of The Net Effect.

"Many people are apolitical, because they don't feel like they can be part of the process," write "cyberadvocates" Daniel Bennett and Pam Fielding. But the Internet can become politics-friendly by means of Web sites that require only a few clicks to find the information you want or to "write your congressman."

Bennett and Fielding outline a "no-frills" cyberadvocacy program that can help you fight for your cause:

* Define your goal: for example, to get legislators to pass the "ABC Act."

* Identify the targets of your message: which off-line audiences are most likely to support your effort and which online targets are most likely to influence them.

* Develop an appealing message: Use language that is clear, compelling, and easy to understand.

* Research the available online tools: Most Internet service providers allow you to create a personal Web site; hosting services also offer free Web sites in exchange for advertising space. You can also link your Web site to www.Congress.org, the authors' Web site enabling visitors to identify and send e-mail to legislators. …

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