I'm back in Germany at long last, and recovered enough from the San Francisco Bay and air conditioning-induced allergies, and jet-lag, to be able to post online again... I really enjoyed the conference info about how various nonprofits created very positive online "buzz" about a particular issue, or how they countered an opposing political effort through grassroots online organizing, etc. BUT... I also kept thinking of how these efforts are NOT always used for "good", and I brought up how it's been through various efforts, including online activism, that the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has been so severely maligned, particularly regarding its work in China. I've found myself convincing family members back in Kentucky, and friends back in Texas, that, no, what they read in that church bulletin or heard on some local radio program or read on some online discussion group about UNFPA was, in fact, NOT true. How does an organization effectively counter malicious, seemingly-grassroots online efforts to discredit its excellent work? (I've written to UNFPA directly and encouraged them to respond as well, FYI)
FYI, I'll be posting my thoughts about the conference on my own web site shortly (as most of you are in the USA, it will probably be posted by the time you wake up).