Last week, I was asked by the Globe and Mail the following question: “How can average citizens influence government policy between elections?”
My answer was fairly simple: direct contact with elected officials. Collecting “likes” or “followers” is great, but ultimately passive. If you are trying to mobilize online to create change, you must go directly to decision makers. A show of support through likes, upvotes or even petition signatures does not have the same impact on the policy process as direct contact.
From my experience deploying online and offline advocacy campaigns, I can tell you that the quickest way to successfully create change is to be constantly top of mind amongst those in government. A petition is a valuable tool, but easily forgotten once delivered.
Rather, it is important to use all points of contact (Twitter is a great one, as many politicians run their own accounts) to ensure your view is heard on a regular basis. If you are organizing such a campaign, those repeated “calls to action” (emailing, calling, tweeting, sharing) are critical.