Civic Geek: Whew, here we are!

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr)

Man I haven’t done one of these in awhile!  I’ve scheduled myself to do one a month though.  If you fell off this series, this is where I blog on civic geekery.

Let’s make this more of a catch up.

What am I doing?

  1. I am helping with a country political group.  I’ve been doing this for awhile, running social media.  Most of it is posting links and events, but it does keep people informed – and when elections are around they promise I’ll get busy.  A bit boring, but it keeps me in the midst of events and hard politics.
  2. I print a list weekly of what I want to call my reps on (boy are they gonna get an earful on the California Health Care bill).  Then I kinda do it.  That’s federal, state, AND local.  Bug them all people.
  3. As part of #1 and #2 I also keep on the news, having alerts for all my representatives.
  4. As part of #1 and #2 I follow the news through various forms – Twitter and a newsfeed – as well.
  5. I go to a regular monthly activism meetup that also has regular advice what to do.

I’ve not done as well as I wanted in late May and June, bluntly, as I’ve gotten real busy.  But the regular reminders I set up help and help me stay active.

The only thing I don’t feel is as connected as I’d like.  It’s probably as I’m comparing political involvement to, say, daily work or my professional associations.  So I’m always on the lookout for what more I can do.

A very, very important thing to do here is have that regular weekly plan.  I print it out and check it off every week.

Also don’t knock the power of the various sites that tell you what activism you can do like 5calls.  As you get active you learn ways to be a more engaged citizen.

And now a few findings

  1. When you call representatives, politeness goes a long way.  If they’ve disappointed you, feel free to be civil but with an edge.  I find representatives that are “gone rogue” respond to that.
  2. It really, really helps to meet with people.  I find the less I meet with people the less involved I feel.
  3. You have to keep trying out other groups and organizations to really know what’s going on.
  4. A lot of people do NOT know how government works – probably including you.
  5. I know a lot of people who were in military service, and as I talk to reps I see how many people just keep the country running.  When you see how many people are in the serivce, the government, security, etc. it can kind of make you feel inadequate.

(Oh and if you need some other creative boosts, check out my book on Creative Paths!)

– Steve