From: will perrin [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, July 22, 2006 1:56 PM
Subject: ultra local environmental campaign using new media
i read your essay on new media with interest and have recently acquired your campaigns book
i am not an 'environmentalist'. i campaign to clean up the gritty urban environment in Kings Cross where i live. i have been doing this on my own as part of a loose network of other residents and concerned council officials for about four years. i have used email, digital cameras and cameraphones extensively throughout. i recently branched out into a website, using blog software but not calling it a blog.. we have had a lot of success and the area is really on the mend.
i have been astonished by the v rapid and favourable reaction i have had locally from just 'showing and telling' that something is going on.
what are the lessons from this experience so far ?
- conventional pressure groups would have been no use to me whatsoever.
this is ultra local. (an area less than a mile across).
- even local political parties have limited application - this is not a partisan campaign it is aimed at my neighbours and visitors and seeks to attract resources from the council and the police.
- pictures are enormously valuable to get the message across first time digital media makes this child's play.
- the ultra-local nature has meant NOT trying to cause a ruck with authorities such as the council and the police - that would be easy to do but we have to work together in partnership over the long term. if i slag them off to the press i go into the troublemaker box and partnership is withdrawn.
- the very recent ability to use video by linking to YouTube has proven surprisingly helpful in getting across the impact of noise pollution. i could not have done this using trad. media. my campaign is too small to get over the threshold and posting video tapes to people was never a good route.
- it is astonishing that all these facilities are free and robust at a massive scale.
on your essay i feel you are trying to defend pressure groups rather too hard. the nature of google and the ultra-low barrier to accessing and sharing knowledge on the web means that many of the expert roles /aggregators you posit can now be filled by individuals without them needing to come together in the classic pressure group. if they didn't exist now you wouldn't need to invent them (at least if you are under 30 and online in the western world).
i don't know if you get time to read this sort of thing but any views welcome.