The meetup

by Sebastian Benthall

It’s name still needs a lot of work, but tonight’s meeting of The New York Web 2.0 for Grassroots Causes (Web4Roots) meetup was a huge success.

To be honest, I’ve had some doubts about the effectiveness of the group in the past. But no longer. Tonight’s event focused on the web site and web presence of the NYCLU, represented at the meetup by Jen Carnig, its Communications Director. That concrete task kept a room full of miscellaneous programmers, activists, and pundits grounded in actionable ideas for the entire evening.

As a bonus, I met Lou Klepner, of GatewaytoGov.org.. A fledgling non-profit, they have an ambitious mission:

Gateway to Gov’s mission is to create an electronic public square that promotes civic engagement by enhancing communication between constituents and their elected officials.

Lou seems dedicated, and the cause is certainly worthy. But I worry that he may be biting off too much to chew. If I have learned anything in my (brief!) experience in this world, it is that it pays to start small. A realized service that pulled off the verified users aspect of their mission alone, and even in one state or city alone, would go farther than any amount of Vision. And the best part is…it’s in reach!

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