Civic Geek: Grinding On

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

Keeping up on the Civic Geekery here – or what I’m doing to be more of a citizen.  Posting this, of course, to inspire people.

One thing I found is that you can get “Samey” with what you do – I noted last time I got a bit disconnected.  So what I’ve done here is take a look at one group I’m helping and say “we’re kinda in a rut, what can I do?”  To get a meeting together.  Remember when being active, you can engage and improve – it is being civicly engaged, it’s being activist.

I also mentioned my disengagement and I found some of that is me.  Do not automate your political involvement and take your heart out of it, learn to connect with people.  I was feeling poorly but dragged myself to a political meeting, and it felt great.  To stay civic stay in touch with people.

Another thing I’ve done is worked to deliver news to my different political organizations – which is a bit challenging as you don’t want to be “that person” who just posts stuff.  So I set a limit of one a day or so maximum, if it promotes activism.

Finally, one big thing I’ve done is follow the news of activism more closely – don’t just do your thing, see what others are doing.  Post-Trump I’m amazed to see how many people got active but also how many people were active – you really never see the huge network that supports our society until you look.

I have fell off of my news following and really need to fix that – focused more nationally and missed a lot of local stuff.  It’s always important to stay local.

Still don’t quite feel I’ve got my civic mojo working, but I think it’s because I’m being pulled in many directions – and doing a lot.  Is my convention speaking civic engagement?  My work to have cross-club dinners?  It is, but I think figuring what’s important is hard.  However as I’m big on building community these things do matter.

Now a few resources to help you:


– Steve

Civic Diary 2/13/2017

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

Still haven’t stopped these, though man they need to be more commonly updated.  I got hit with some nasty illness (we have multiple colds here) and apparently got sick twice.  So the last few weeks weren’t fun.

Political Groups And Activist Groups

I’m now helping with social media for a political group in the area – it’s a sort of “test” ground for me and my other ideas, because . . .

Don’t think you can just go to an activist group and say “give me something.”  A lot of them have hierarchies, legal requirements, etc. you have to follow.  I learned that the hard way, so now I’m working my way up.  Still I get to do some good and am going to use this to introduce a few new ideas and cool things.

The great part of being part of an established group is reach.  Nothing like being able to do something to affect a few hundred to a few thousand people.

I’m looking into involvement with my city and possible a few other groups.  I think all you can really do is just keep trying them out until something clicks for you.

TAKEAWAY: Pick at least one activist group to join, but remember it may take time to get a position.  Help anyway.

Do It Yourself

So one of my acquaintances up and created a political group for friends on Facebook where we coordinate.  Might want to give that a go too!

TAKEAWAY: Try a social media group for friends and politics.

Regular Activity

To help me out I’m doing the following

  1. I have a Google Alert for all representatives on the state and federal level, so once a day find out what they’re up to.
  2. I keep my usual news feeds.
  3. Out of that I find what I want to call them on – usually daily or every other day to tell them what they did right and wrong and make specific demands.
  4. This helps you keep up on local information anyway – I’ve had a few surprises, most of them pleasant.

How’s it working?  Not entirely sure as I’m one person, and there’s many voices, but my Congressman’s office now calls me by name when I call before I speak.  So I’m making an impression.

I’ve also decided that is worth following and am calling companies carrying Trump merchandise.  Very inappropriate and an area of ethical concern – especially as of late.

TAKEAWAY: Set up news/alert feeds to tell you who/what to call on each day.


I’ve been updating my civic guide and do need to post it now that I no longer feel terrible.  It’s been pretty helpful!

That’s what I’m up to.  What about you?

– Steve

Civic Diary 1/7/2016

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

A bit under the weather, but here’s the latest Civic Diary.  For my new readers who aren’t familiar with this, I document my attempts to be a better citizen about twice a month or so.  It was once a week but things got busy – and twice a month seems more effective.  So what have I learned and tried.

Political Groups And Activist Groups

This last week I went to another meetup of a group I’m joining – and found I’d scheduled it right during a vital planning/org meeting.  A good bit of advice here is that, when trying to join a group, keep their schedule in mind.  They’re operating on one separate from you – theirs.

It looks like I’m going to get involved in group communications so stay tuned on that.  I’d have more to update on that but the person I’m talking to has been sick.

This also brings up something important – in the past I was frustrated when interesting groups were hard to get ahold of. But considering how people have active lives, holidays interrupt, etc. I think I was being unfair.  Give your various activist groups a chance.

Also post-election I am seeing a lot of people get more involved in politics and community – and bring their business skills.  So what are you bringing?

Bringing Friends A Long

To help my friends out I’ve keeping them informed of who I’m calling and what I’m doing, and trying to get one involved in communications.  We may not want to talk Big Things with friends or politics, but the truth is social connection is what makes society a society.  Involve them.

Staying Informed And The News

I’ve purchased an actual subscription to an excellent local newspaper as my way of supporting good news.  A bit unsure of who else to support as there’s some amazing things to subscribe to.  If you pay for news, after all, you’re helping fund it, and it may be somewhat more objective.

Most news organizations have been erratic about quality the last few years.  I’ve wondered if I should add more writing of letters and calling to express concerns to my schedule, still thinking of how.


Now for something odd, but interesting.  I’m documenting my experiences more.

First, I’m building a Civic Involvement outline.  This helps me but also is a way to help friends and others get involved.  At some point I’ll probably put it on or something.

Secondly, I’v taken to documenting my political and civic views.  I want to codify them more, think them over.  It’s been pretty enlightening already.  Imagine writing a book, over time, consisting of your various jotting on politics – and thinking of how they cohere.  It helps you understand yourself.


That’s what I’m up to.  What about you?


– Steve