This afternoon I attended a forum held by the New Politics Institute on leveraging social networks and it was a great event.  As we know, social media is changing the way we communicate and this event honed in on its utility in the political and non-profit arenas. 

Simon Rosenberg (President & Founder, NDN) kicked off the event and expressed the importance of new media in communications.  I’ve known Simon for a long time and he is often on top of political shifts and technology transitions.  He spoke about the rapid advances of technology and how far campaigns have evolved from Howard Dean’s successful efforts online in 2004.  Simon believes campaigns need to utilize new tools and social networking is one of the “most undeveloped tools out there.”

Chris Kelly (Chief Privacy Officer, Facebook) stated ”politics has always been about social networks” and that leveraging connections on sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube are unique ways to build communities.  He went on to mention 5 areas where social technology can play a role in politics.  Those areas are – branding, voter registration, fundraising, volunteering, and voter turnout.  For a full meal - checkout his paper on it.

Chris Kelly was asked by fellow lunch 2.0 DC member Peter Corbett about “what keeps him up at night.”  I followed up with Chris after the forum and asked him about dealing with Capitol Hill’s internet fears.  Specifically, the fact that many lawmakers are afraid of social networks and view it as a place for online predators.  Chris responded that by engaging facebook users who are active in politics that he is hopeful they will be Facebook’s advocates to push back on unnecessary regulations. 

Related ingredient – Friends of mobile diner are welcome to join me on Facebook.