Guest post by Thom Clark
The Internet brought more information to each of our desktops than we ever dreamed of 10, 15, 20 years ago. But in the last five years, the rise of social media and digital tools, like the tablet and smart phone, are transforming how many organizations get their work done, engage existing members and expand their base.
“While engaging your current community is critical to fulfilling your organizational mission,” according to Tracy VanSlyke, co-director of The New Bottom Line , “Broadening your community to advance your work is equally important.”
Effective use of digital tools for organizing one’s members, campaigns and program is critical in this 24/7 world of data dumps and info overload.
VanSlyke will moderate an afternoon panel  June 4, 2013 at Making Media Connections  on activism in the Digital Age, featuring activists who use digital tools in their work: Martin Macias, Jr. of Chicago Fair Trade; Eric Tellez of Grassroots Collaborative and Charlene Carruthers of National Peoples Action.
“Digital tools allow you to go beyond one-way organizing to engage and build relationships within your community,” she says. “If you want to be influencing the media, to expand and deepen impact of your work, you have to be serious about building community both online and off line.”
A veteran of many local and national campaigns, most recently around stemming the tide of home foreclosures and holding banks more accountable, VanSlyke will engage her panelists in a conversation about successful, and some not so successful efforts to use these tools to further organizational goals. “There is still so much to be discovered with these new tools,” she reports, “with many possible complications. It’s still more an art form than a science, that is constantly evolving with experimentation.”
Modern Mobilizing: Activism in the Digital Age
2:15-3:30 June 4 Film Row Cinema, Columbia College 1104 S Wabash
Digi-wha? Digital organizing is modern campaigning and we’re here to help you improve your digital work in activism and organizing. Learn how digital tools, like social media, can help you not just say something, but be heard. Panelists: Martin Macias, Jr. (Media activist/Youth Organizer at Chicago Fair Trade); Charlene Carruthers (National Peoples Action); Eric Téllez (Grassroots Collaborative); Moderator: Tracy Van Slyke (co-author of The Echo Chamber)