Link In to Advocacy!
The popular networking site Linked In isn't just about making business connections and finding old friends. It's also a powerful tool for advocacy. Next time you need to bend the ear of a particular elected official, search for his or her name on the site. Even if the official hasn't joined, it's likely that you'll find staff, campaign supporters and others.
The "degree of contact" icon on the list that is generated from a search will tell you the number of connections between you and the person in question. So, for example, if someone is marked as a 2nd degree of contact, that means you know someone in your network who knows your target person.
Linked In can also help you determine who in your network might be "grasstops" type individuals. They may not have told you that they have connections in high places, but that information could be found on their Linked In profile.
In essence, the Linked In approach takes the old political truism of "it's not what you know, it's who you know" to a whole new level -- and now you can capture that power for your own advocacy effort. Oh, and while you're on the site, look me up!