How to build progressive activism online

This past weekend, I spent a whole day attending a conference to discuss how political and social activists can better use online tools to advance progressive causes and messages – the first such event in the UK. If that seems an odd way to occupy a Saturday in a cold and dark January, all I can say is that the event was a sell-out with some 350 in attendance.

The title of the conference was “Netroots UK” which borrowed from the successful Netroots Nation campaign in the United States. The venue was Congress Hall in central London.  Many of the attendees had laptop or tablet computers (I had my iPad) and the event had free WiFi and a Twitter hash tag, so  there was lots of note-taking and twittering.

As well as two plenary sessions, there were two workshop sessions offering a total of 18 workshops which, together with five lunchtime fringe meetings, provided an incredible range of topics to consider.

Polly Toynbee of the “Guardian” gave a detailed account of how planned public expenditures cuts will impact in practice on both typical families and those on benefits. Two Labour MPs spoke: Tom Watson who was the first Parliamentarian to blog and Stella Creasy who is one of the party’s youngest and brightest legislators and a possible future party leader.

Some of the great campaigns that were described include the following:



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