Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bringing Organizing Into the 21st Century

I spoke to a friend of mine who works on the social media side of things last night, and we mulled over some ideas to update the traditional methods of organizing, be it labor organizing, community, or otherwise. While I am somewhat traditional on organizing, there were a few things that his line of work has to offer that I believe could seriously improve our efficiency and success rate.

1. Tie in the use of systems like Salsa to Blackberry and iPhone apps. Think about how much easier it would make it for the average organizer if they could eliminate the time and effort of filling out a paper form for every house visit. Instead, they could utilize software from Salsa to punch in the data on their Blackberry. This would also allow for real time data accessibility during a large scale organizing blitz. This would be as big as the introduction of electronic voting machines vs. the paper ballot system.

2. Use Salsa as a sort of one-stop shop for Locals to consolidate all of the tedious bookkeeping and management functions in one place. I know from my experience using Salsa with a Young Democrats Chapter that it made life much easier when you could log in one place and check on everything. It saved a lot of time and headaches.

3. Use the technology to help with member run organizing campaigns. In many cases, labor organizations hesitate to invest resources on organizing campaigns until the members themselves have done a lot of the footwork themselves. Salsa could be utilized to set up an area for the employees to keep the union abreast of the progress without the union having to invest time and money in the very early stages.

While I have just spent a fair amount of space extolling the virtues of Salsa, I stand firmly by the conviction that technology alone cannot save the labor movement. House visits, along with other face to face communications are still our most effective outlet. However, technology can definitely be used to eliminate the clutter between those moments.

Check out Salsa here:

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