Tom Steinberg on Innovations in Online Activism at the MySociety Project

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"Tom Steinberg of talked about innovations in online activism from across the pond. has created a variety of online activism resources, including HearFromYourMP TheyWorkForYou, WriteToThem (which used to be called FaxYourMP), NotApathetic, and PledgeBank, which are all examples of the type of services mySociety aims to foster. While HearFromYourMP, TheyWorkForYou and WriteToThem are designed to service UK citizens who want to communicate with Parliament, PledgeBank and NotApathetic are resources that we can all use to promote collective social activism and voting.

PledgeBank allows anyone to create a pledge which has the basic format 'I'll do something, but only if other people will pledge to do the same thing'. For example, if you'd always want to organize a street party you could organize a pledge which said 'I'll hold a street party, but only if three people who live in my street will help me to run it.' Imagine if someone pledged to donate $100 to your organization if 1,000 other people did so, as well. Once the last person signs on, you would get $100,000.

HearFromYourMP takes a unique approach to constituent-representative communications. By signing up on the site, a citizen is added to a queue of other people in their legislative district. When enough have signed up, their MP gets sent an email. The email says "25 of your constituents would like to hear what you're up to. Hit reply to let them know". If they don't reply, nothing will happen, until your MP gets a further email which says there are now 50, then 75, 100, 150 — until it is nonsensical not to reply and start talking."