NetAction Notes

Published by NetAction Issue No. 65 January 11, 2001
Repost where appropriate. See copyright information at end of message.


The Virtual Activist 2.0
From Web Logs to Blogs
Getting Down to Earth
About NetAction Notes

The Virtual Activist 2.0

NetAction has just launched a completely revised and expanded version of our Virtual Action online training course, at

This is the first major revision of the training course that we developed when online activism was first becoming popular. Since then, the course has been translated into Spanish, Japanese, and Indonesian, and activists from all corners of the world have written to let us know they found the materials helpful.

The expanded training course includes two new sections, mini-trainers on web design and online media advocacy. We've also provided updated information on copyright protection, privacy, censorship and spam, and checklists on preparing action alerts and creating email alert lists. We've provided some of these materials in a format that can be downloaded, printed and distributed as handouts by readers who want to use them in online advocacy training workshops.

In the new web design section, we provide a brief explanation of the HTML and java programming languages, web design, and information on obtaining a domain name. The new online media advocacy section includes a checklist of media outreach tips that can be used as a handout in workshops, and links to a variety of other online media advocacy resources.

We've also expanded our discussion of email advocacy to provide more detailed information for people who are new to email and the Web, and added information on Application Service Providers (ASPs). ASPs are becoming increasingly popular for email list management and online fundraising.

As with our initial online course, our goal is to share information that can be used by grassroots activists with access to a computer and the Internet, but with limited technical expertise.

The revised training course was prepared with assistance from NetAction's student interns Theresa Chen, Jasmine Li and Josh Dimon. Internet consultant Michael Stein and NetAction Advisory Board member Judi Clark also helped, and some materials in the revised course are based on an email activist curriculum that NetAction developed for CARAL (the California Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) with assistance from Jennifer Kanouse and Jill Herschman.

We welcome comments and suggestions from readers, and encourage you to share this announcement with others who may find the course materials useful.

From Web Logs to Blogs

NetAction's Advisory Board member Judi Clark recently suggested a new tool -- named Blogger -- that lets Internet users create web content without having to learn HTML, the programming language used to develop web sites.

Blogger is a free, web-based tool that makes it possible for Internet users to publish content on the web instantly -- "whenever the urge strikes." It enables Internet users to create web logs (also weblogs or "blogs") as if they were new entries in an ongoing journal. It can also be used to provide frequent updates to a "what's new" page, or as an ongoing communication tool.

Here is how the tool is described on the Blogger web site:

"A blog is a web page made up of usually short, frequently updated posts that are arranged chronologically--like a what's new page or a journal. The content and purposes of blogs varies greatly -- from links and commentary about other web sites, to news about a company/person/idea, to ... project updates...."

"Blogger gives you a way to automate (and greatly accelerate) the ...publishing process without writing any code or worrying about installing any sort of server software or scripts. make posts by submitting a simple form on the Blogger web site, and the results immediately show up on your site, with your design."

Blogger has proven to be very popular, and the company recently reported that more than 90,000 people are using Blogger.

"I doubt it was created to support the non-profit community in particular. But it's a great tool that can be used by this community to easily further their work," she noted.

Evan Williams, co-founder of Pyra Labs, the company that makes Blogger, says "Blogger is used by several non-profits. I'm all for it. It makes particular sense for non-profits. Blogger appeals to independent and personal publishers who have not been served by other tools--it helps make the ongoing maintenance of a site easy."

Blogger can be set up so multiple users can do updates to the same page.

A few examples of web logs (blogs) are:

Getting Down to Earth

Canadian activists in Montréal, Québec have launched a French-language online project aimed at promoting the use of technology by women.

Down to Earth in Cyberspace (D2E) is a community project intended to provide women and women's organizations with the tools they need to use technology, according to Colette Lelièvre, D2E's project coordinator.

The project includes a five-week online workshop at: and a comprehensive reference book at: The reference book is also available on paper. The workshop and reference book may be of interest to activists in France and other places with French-speaking populations.

About NetAction Notes

NetAction Notes is a free electronic newsletter, published by NetAction. NetAction is a California-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting use of the Internet for grassroots citizen action, and to educating the public, policy makers, and the media about technology policy issues.

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