(via Beth Kanter) I found this guide to using Facebook for Activism, from DigiActive:

Facebook Activism

Given the incredible numbers of people logging on every day, it makes sense to try to use facebook for activism – but, as the authors point out, you have to be careful about your expectations.

I like this description, of one of the reasons Facebook is not so great for activists:

Dedication Levels are Opaque: The low barrier to entry means that group size does not necessarily indicate genuine interest. This makes it more difficult to target those who are actually going to act. In particular, planning events will be more difficult because you won’t know the exact participant headcount until the event actually occurs.

The very fact that Facebook makes it absurdly easy to join (and create) groups means that the user’s investment in any group he/she has joined is equally low.

Facebook can provide a great mechanism for reaching out to people and for sharing media (images, videos) about an event – but you shouldn’t overestimate the commitment of a user who chooses to “join.”

DigiActive also has a blog devoted to “digital activism” which they define as “the methods by which citizens use digital tools to effect social and political change.” Activities include:

  • Explaining how to use various digital tools for activism
  • Reviewing digital activism guides and resources created by other organizations
  • Sharing stories of successful digital activism campaigns around the world
  • Hosting virtual events where activists can learn from expert digital activism practitioners
  • Alerting activists to digital actions taking place around the world.
  • Fostering community among digital activists from around the world

Sounds like they will be providing some very useful services – I look forward to seeing additional guides like this one.