November 1st, 2007
The latest of Internet politics legend Alan Rosenblatt’s Internet Advocacy Roundtables covered free online advocacy tools, particularly those available to nonprofits. We heard a lot about the usual suspects — Google Apps, MySpace and Facebook, YouTube, Drupal and Joomla — but I thought the most valuable resource presented that afternoon was Center for American Progress web guru Annie Schutte’s list of various tools for presenting advocacy information online. Her index covers mapping applications, timeline generators, chart and graph creators and more — the kind of non-sexy technologies that actually help get a message across in a way that words alone can’t. I.e., they have the potential to be damn useful. Joe Bob says, check it out. Update: Alan’s pulled together a Google doc (one of those free tools…) that includes Annie’s list, plus a lot more resources suggested during the panel.
One caveat that came up many times during the presentation: just because a tool is free, doesn’t mean it’s actually free. You’ll pay in time, at the very least, and open-source software usually requires a mechanic to tinker with it before it’ll run. You have been warned.