Banner for Get Equal web site getequal.orgThe linked blog entry is from Dr. Jillian Weiss in the Bilerico Project blog. Weiss has worked tirelessly to get an Inclusive ENDA passed, and even as the bill has gone up and down in terms of the prospects of getting passed, she has remain unchanged in her commitment to see it passed.

Last week, Weiss called for a blogswarm and the linked post is a wrap up to that effort. I wrote for the swarm, and Sue did also over at the Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents. In addition Hugh over at Meet Adam and Steve, decided to post as well after reading my post. I think that is part of the value of a blog swarm- the way it draws in more people and each share a different perspective.

Weiss has been under some criticism however. I was on a conference call about ENDA and someone said something about how they didn’t agree with her approach. I don’t share that view. Mostly this type of criticism grows from long time activists who think people like Weiss are rocking the boat too much. As if they know how to move gay civil rights forward… yet, they haven’t had nearly enough success.

One aspect of the swarm, was a call to action: call the speaker’s office and demand a commitment to put ENDA to a floor vote. And did the calls come in! The House phone system was shut down due to the number of calls.

As well as the swarm, another action took place, and it is unclear if the criticisms are more about the swarm, the action or both. Members of a group called “Get Equal,” visited Pelosi’s offices in San FRancisco as well as DC and staged a sit in, claiming that they wouldn’t leave until the speaker had committed to a floor vote on ENDA.

Both of these actions were encouraged and spread via Twitter posts. Weisss asks:

What do you think about this? Do you agree with me that online activity can produce significant offline political activity? Do you think the blogswarm was a good idea? How about the unrelated direct action produced by GetEqual?

I think we are entering a new phase of LGBT activism where actions such as these, and greater acts of Civil Disobedience will become more and more commonplace. I think it is both inevitable and necessary. LGBT’s need to rise up and say enough is enough- the time for equality is now. The “internet” will play a key role. As this blogswarm demonstrates, an online action produced significant off-line engagement. It isn’t everything that is needed. This type of engagement, all alone won’t make change, but as one piece in a broader movement, it will play a key role.

How would you answer Weiss’s questions? What do you think about actions such as these? Leave a comment!

via Wrap Up: Online/Offline Distinction Blurs As Bloggers Generate Both Light And Heat | The Bilerico Project.

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11 Comments

  1. I saw that, but it seems odd that these two actions would take place simultaneously. Then maybe it isn't that strange. A number of concerned groups want to see action on ENDA?

  2. There will never be any system or tool that everyone uses, so to cite that as a criticism is a poor argument in my book. As for Ashburn, I would agree there was a failure, but I think too the causation of the fail is pretty clear. and I wrote about this on my blog. Too often, there is this unspoken thing that legislators are left alone, as if their private life is that- private. This is a real shame. In California, I think it is partly due to the fact that those West Coast Activist types are too busy trying to tell everyone else how they should be doing things.

    But aside from that, one person posting 1 small post to his own wall is hardly a good use of Facebook to try and get a message spread.

    I don't have any patience with the argument you make about Google Reader. No matter what the tool or how hard you try, some things will always slip by. This has been since the start of Journalism, and will continue to be. No one can ever stay on top of everything. Will never happen. Each of us by nature, have to make choices and look / keep an eye out to look for some things over others. And in hindsight, we will often find that we missed something that we wished we hadn't or feel lucky that we picked up on something that others didn't seem to notice.

    I want to be clear- I'm not interested in judging any single action as 100% anything. Even that very act or time, seems to be to be counter productive. and to those people who are busy looking for “The Perfect Action” will be waiting a long long time, because they never exist. Change happens because lots and lots of imperfect actions take place and allow for a momentum to be build as well as other results.

    I mention blorolls only that they provide me with an easy access to other people so I can scan what is going on.

  3. By the way, I'm getting a malware detected on screen message for your dot.com

  4. Not all people use Facebook. Also, Facebook proved to be a FAIL with the Roy Ashburn situation.

    The problem with Google Reader is that while it's a great way to keep up, if someone is following too many blogs or websites, there's always the possibility of missing something important.

    I did that with the Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado murder, by the way. I took a look a Pedro Julio Serrano's blog, read it, then moved on to something else, totally underestimating how grievous the situation was in Puerto Rico.

    Nonetheless, the blogswarm can't be declared one hundred percent effective because someone, or more than one, thought a little too much of themselves over others, there were people left out of it whether intentional or not, and or or not everyone had time to put something together for it.

    A few “equality advocates” bloggers have made blogroll and links political, so they've become ineffective too.

  5. 1) I think the Dan Choi thing is BIG and something to talk about. I've been thinking of writing about it, started, but not really sure what I want to say.

    2) I don't know if there really needs to be a Google group or Yahoo group (so old tech.. LOL) If various bloggers are all friends on Facebook, linked in their blogroll, or subscribed via RSS in Google Reader- probably the best way to keep up on what is going on.

    I think it is a misconception however, to think that any one blogger or group speaks for everyone. We have seen that concept fail with groups like HRC. I think that different bloggers with differing ideas, even when they are not all aligned is a far better overall representation of the who we are as a community/coalition of communities.

    In the Black Civil Rights struggle, when a group of men sat down at a lunch counter, there were those who thought it was a horrible thing to do, while others thought it was the right thing to do. All of us, have to stand up for equality. Some will find some of the actions we take objectionable. That may be a warranted critique or it may not be. Only time will tell.

  6. Dr. Weiss says or wrote on her Bilerico column the blogswarm was separate to GET EQUAL. Via QUEERTY, Miss McGeehee says she was planning to participate herself in the ENDA action, but there was a change of plans, by way of Lt. Dan Choi.

    Nonetheless, there does appear to be a little of everything with respect to the blogswarm and what happened this week. Granted there are very degrees of blogs and bloggers, nonetheless, any time you have people inviting themselves to make decisions on behalf of everyone else, that always leads to problems.

    It would be nice if there could be a Google or Yahoo group for bloggers and everyone with a blog could join it and keep each other informed as to events like these, but no doubt there will still be bitching and whining from people about that too.

  7. Thanks for posting a comment!

    While not everyone reads blogs, use of Google Reader has been increasing I believe and I read recently of a study, that more LGBT's get their news from blogs and other online resources than the general public.

  8. Jay,
    I think the issue is, what are the measures used to determine how successful an action is. If the purpose was to generate a ton of calls to the Speaker's office so that she gets an idea as to how much support exists, then this action has to be called successful.

    If the measure was, how well did the blogswarm spread across the entire blogosphere, then, I guess it can be argued (although I don't personally agree) that it wasn't very successful because there were blogs who didn't know about it.

    I saw something on Facebook, and so I blogged about it- I joined the swarm, and I know of at least one other blog that joined the swarm because of my participation. I suppose if I hadn't seen Facebook or read any number of blogs that I frequent all the time, I would have missed it too.

    I think these types of actions are successful because they don't have to get everyone. Some activists keep looking for *that one thing that will change everything* like a light switch, and it isn't going to happen. There is no such event that could happen. The path to greater civil rights will continue to be small steps that build in momentum. Sometimes building a lot, sometimes appearing to lose some ground, and persistently pushing forward.

  9. This was posted here from Facebook: Jay GetEqual Morris wrote:

    I tried to comment on the blog but ad issue… so if it didn't post… here's my thought:

    I certainly have seen that online activism promotes offline dialogue. Do I think the blogswarm was effective? Not really. In fact, I hadn't even heard of it until the GetEQUAL NVCD took place… and several people mentioned the blogswarm. Considering I am a blogger who was unaware of a “blogswarm” – how aware could the general public be?

    Over the course of a few moments, direct action received more attention and sparked more commentary than any one blog swarm event… the message was clear. Of course, much of that attention and discourse was a result of the blogs covering the news… so we work beautifully in tandom.

  10. This was a comment left on Facebook:

    Steve Zupcic As someone who has lived 95% of his 60 yr. life COMPLETELY OFFLINE and has recently made the transition to Facebook, I can say that much is lost and much is gained.

    Some of yinz' guyz' so overuse tools such as Twitter that you negate any of the goals of activism.

    Don't get me started: I don't tweet and probably never will, but as I age into physical disability I really will make more use of social media to maintain activist activities and to further globalize my efforts.

  11. As I noted elsewhere, it remains to be seen whether the blogswarm was effective. What's ironic is that one of it's participants said on his podcast recently that most of his friends don't read blogs and have no idea about the BS taking place.

    Robin McGeehee doesn't appear to be e-mail friendly, which is unfortunate as I'd like to know myself whether the actions she took this past week were in part due to the blogswarm or coming to the realization there are alot of fakers out there posing as equality advocates and that many of these peoples are more a hindrance to the cause than an asset.

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