Mobile Citizen logoI’ve got a big think question for all the organizers and social change agents out there – will we take advantage of the “new Internet,” or will it pass us all by?

Specifically, I’m talking about the new 4G Internet service that’s just around the corner – aka mobile broadband. 4G allows you to open your laptop / iPad / etc anywhere in network range and have a high speed web connection. Like the 3G service you currently get on your smartphone, but about 5x faster. In many cities, its already here (you’ve probably seen a bazillion 4G ads already).

My question is, will the leap to 4G help social change organizers? How? What creative ideas could it enable? Like, what cool things could door-to-door canvassers do with mobile broadband? Or, how could 4G be used at a march or rally? Will it change the way we lobby Congress? Or revolutionize voter registration?

Some ideas that have been floated include:
• giving canvassers access to rich data and streaming media on iPads / laptops
• registering voters or recruiting volunteers at events
• setting up portable predictive dialer phone banks
• mobile live video streaming from direct actions, hearings, or board meetings

I’m sure there are a bunch of forward-thinking folks out there with other smart ideas. Here’s the thing — if your idea is great, it could get funded and developed. Will you take two minutes to brainstorm about it? You can either email me directly —, or fill out this two minute survey.

I ask on behalf of Mobile Citizen, a nonprofit project that provides 4G service to schools and nonprofits for just $10 a month. Mobile Citizen may subsidize as many as 20,000 4G accounts in 2011. They already have a good sense of how 4G can help schools and social service agencies. Now they are hoping to fund and develop breakthrough ideas or tools that would help social change organizers take advantage of 4G.

This is a unique opportunity for organizers to weigh in on what new tools they want in their work. Mobile broadband has the potential to create big breakthroughs. But will it?

Brainstorm with me in the Mobile Citizen survey.

posted in Campaigning & New Tool & Online Organizing