Spare me the jokes about me being Mexican and Mexico losing to Argentina (although I’ll definitely have a blog post about that debacle). Last Thursday and Friday I attended the Salsa Community Conference 2010 hosted by Salsa Labs (a.k.a Democracy in Action and Wired for Change). Salsa bills itself as “flexible, affordable online platform to organize and energize people.” There were many take aways from the conference but since I love cheesy puns I’d have to say that Salsa 2010 was definitely HOT.
While I haven’t actually started using Salsa’s tools I know that many non-profits and political organizations have done great things with their various products to organize and mobilize advocacy groups. Disclosure: My employer recently signed-on with Salsa as a client. Disclosure part 2: I have a few friends that work at Salsa who I’ve met over the years on various political campaigns (you know who you are.) However, I can say without bias that there is definitely a fun-loving and relaxed culture at Salsa. I mean, where else can you get “iced” in your office and get away with it?
Despite not being able to go online for most of the conference for lack of a wi-fi signal or cell phone signal, the panels and sessions at the conference were definitely worthwhile. I may be setting the record for the number of disclosures in a blog post but I have to admit that I had a couple of friends (@drdigipol and @dcconcierge) on a few panels. Nevertheless, there were plenty where I didn’t and I certainly came out of them excited about the potential that Salsa has for helping people organize in this upcoming election. Specifically, the session on mySalsa, which is a new feature that Salsa is rolling out to help organizations build social networks that are directly tied to their Salsa databases and e-mail records. This is particularly important as e-mail continues to be the foundation of online organizing for political orgs even as they look for new ways to engage supporters on social networking sites.
The conference did not have any shortage of discussions about growing e-mail lists, e-mail open rates, conversions, contributions, e-mail best practices, etc., which I actually never get bored of attending. In fact, if there was any panel that got me itching to get back to work and to start using Salsa, it was the one titled, “email@example.com” with Taryn Rosenkranz from the DCCC and Lizzie Kendrick of the DSCC. While there are many, Salsa is another great tool for e-mail communication and despite the many blog posts proclaiming that e-mail is dead, e-mail continues to dominate our every day lives. Those of us that work on writing, designing and sending blast e-mails everyday to mobilize and organize people love to use tools that make it easier to do so, Salsa appears to be one such tool.
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