Connecting Individuals, Creating Communities

Quick hit from Al Gore, discussing his new book The Future – Six Drivers of Global Change today on Morning Joe:


I honestly believe…that one of the healing forces for our politics is the progressive shift towards the Internet. And I say that…in spite of the fact that people associate the internet with all of this vitriol.

Actually I think that it empowers individuals to connect with one another and to pursue reason and logic and to lift up ideas that gain support from larger groups of people.

It’s a topic we debate on a regular basis here in the Advocacy and Engagement department. Are we adding to the overall noise, or are we bringing light to new issues and giving voice to those who feel left out of the mainstream political process?

I tend to lean towards the latter – the idea that communities and grassroots efforts help bring out the issues folks are interested in and to some degree help to level the playing field. Yes, there’s no denying that sponsors can rev up a grasstops effort with properly spent money, but there is no silver bullet, no one path to grassroots greatness. And that’s what makes organizing communities around efforts a constant challenge. We need to address users on their level, at their pace, and provide the tools they feel comfortable with to become part of the process.

And so I think the former Vice President is spot on – yes, we raise the ease of which vitriol can be distributed, but at the same time, given the diverse nature of users with their various devices and needs, the internet allows us to bring together like-minded fractured communities, percolating up ideas and issues that mean something to a larger group of people.