Power Shift ’10 Suggestion: Google Groups for Workshops

At the Power Shift ’09 workshop I attended called “Your Email Crisi-tunity: Building Your List, Organizing Fundraising & Connecting With Your Base,” Iain Keith of Avaaz.org and Jon Warnow of 350.org took down our email addresses to get back to us later with more information.

They created a Google Group called “powershift09 email workshop” and invited all the attendees. The opportunity this Google Group presents us with is amazing: now 15 or more of us are able to keep in touch, when we otherwise would have never had the chance.

In one thread, we are talking about free email tools. I started another thread for everyone to introduce themselves and their organizations.

Google Group for Power Shift email workshop

The group is new and I can’t be sure how active the members will be, but there’s no denying this is potentially a great tool for organizing people online, and you should use it if you’re in an organization.

We have a Google Group for Gators for a Sustainable Campus, which we use to send members messages; and the board members of Sustainable Alachua County use one for planning.

Idea: Google Groups for Power Shift ’10 workshops

What I propose for the next Power Shift conference is that every workshop pass around a list gathering attendees’ emails, and then invite everyone to Google Groups to discuss how they are applying what they learned at the workshops.

Google Groups for Power Shift ’10 workshops can:

  • Help us continue the discussion beyond Power Shift by providing forums for us to talk
  • Act as support groups for tons of people who would not have otherwise had the chance to network
  • Help promote and plan Power Shift months before the conference

Here’s a thought: Let’s say Power Shift creates a Google Group for each workshop way in advance of the conference. Then, they list all the groups on a page of the Power Shift site, and send an email to potential attendees telling them to go join the Google Groups for the workshops they are interested in.

Now imagine everyone starts talking about the workshop topics and what they would like to learn at the workshops months before they even take place. This will make for some lively workshops, and now a forum will be in place for planning further actions and seeking help from like-minded people and organizations.

This could also be accomplished if each workshop had a forum on the Power Shift site, but I think the Google Groups is a better idea. A mailing list like the Google Group is better than a forum, in my opinion, because everyone reads their email, while not everyone will frequent a forum.

If the Energy Action Coalition does not implement this themselves, Google Groups for Power Shift workshops could be just as easily set up by anyone who is willing to organize them.

Anyone can set up a Google Group for free here: http://groups.google.com