Birds on a Wire Blog was one of five chosen for a morning conference call with aides from the office of none other than Sen. Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, to answer questions and discuss elements of the Baucus bill for health care reform.
Ronni Bennett of Time Goes By recommended us, as one of several blogs taking on health care reform issues in a serious and thoughtful manner. Its readers fall into that category as well.
I'll get to the specifics we discussed in another post, but here's what I believe this call tells us:
1. At least some members of Congress have learned a lesson from the Obama campaign, which made very good use of social networking tools to build a viable base, deliberately and efficiently. If it worked for Obama, it can work for health care reform.
Yesterday, I read on BlogHer that Reid's office would be using this technology for outreach to specific constituencies (seniors, women, etc.), in hopes of building a groundswell of public opinion in favor of the bi-partisan bill. I believe we were the first or among the first called.
2. Congressional outreach by way of the blogging community makes good use of aides' time. For every blogger they talk to, they have the potential to reach at least hundreds, maybe thousands, more. No travel and no fancy preparations are necessary.
3. Complex issues require serious study, thought and discussion. You're not going to be able to discuss nuances of various health care reform proposals through soundbites on talk shows or--heaven forbid!-- rowdy demonstrations. Our readers have the time and inclination to mull over ideas, read up on the details, compare and contrast content, and float their own ideas within a supportive community.
4. What better platform could there be than a blog, to provide a town hall-type forum? It's free, open and raucous-proof, by design.
5. Apparently, people working in the great halls of Congress read blogs. Even better, they read THIS blog. Just knowing that adds a lot of value--and responsibility--to what we do. All bloggers and blog readers (of every stripe) should take pride in the fact that this new media counts, and probably count even more in the future.
6. Your ideas can and will be heard through your blog comments, as well as your direct correspondence with Congressional leaders and and their staffs. WRITE today! Tell them you appreciate their interest in your comments through Birds on a Wire Blog, and other blogs.