Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gen Y, Coming to an Advocacy Arena Near You

MTV has launched its ThinkMTV social networking site, oriented around GEneration Y's desire to make a difference in the world. The site allows users to bring attention to social issues and causes they care about. In addition, a number of tools are provided to engage other network members in advocating for their cause.

Although I don't necessarily agree 100% with some of the tools (sign a petition? please), I do think there's something here in terms of how this generation will seek to impact public policy. Advocacy organizations around the country would do well to ensure that their issues are part of the discussion.

In the future, I'd love to see MTV or other activism oriented networks, adopt some of the techniques that were discussed at a recent Internet Advocacy Roundtable discussion I attended. In an exchange between leaders in the online activism community and hill staffers, a number of really interesting ideas came to the forefront. One is a new technique of posting questions for elected officials and having other constituents vote on which questions they are most interested in having answered (a la Digg). It serves as an online petition of sorts, but ensures that the most interesting (or at least the most "voted for" questions rise to the top). Then the elected official responds to the top 3 (or 5 or whatever).

Perhaps if MTV can serve as a link between Gen Y and government -- we'll have to see what happens!

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