As a holdover from registering for President Obama’s campaign communications, I still receive emails from his grassroots Organizing for Action program. Every time I consider opting out of these emails, I get a patriotic heart-tug that stops me.
The last email from Executive Director Jon Carson announced an end to the 16-day government shutdown and thanked supporters for pushing this campaign to success through online grassroots support.
“Volunteers organized hundreds of grassroots events across the country.” he wrote. “We drove calls to Congress, and we absolutely dominated the conversation online to keep the pressure on the lawmakers responsible — including hundreds of thousands of Facebook shares and more than 600,000 tweets holding Congress accountable.”
There are many people out there who doubt the value of grassroots marketing, and many of those people will say that big business, big money and political power are the elements that really made this and all other policy decisions go through the pipeline. But the truth of the matter is that social media, social networking and other digital mediums are being embraced by Members of Congress, Senators and the Executive Branch, not to mention state- and local-level officials and regulatory bodies. Elected officials are listening to these Tweets, Likes, blog posts and Facebook rants. Many of them are holding Google Hangouts, Tweeting policy decisions and responding to Facebook posts from constituents. Government email communications are retrofitted now with filters that only let messages come in from people in their district, so they have every reason to listen, especially around re-election years.