Demanding progressive infrastructure

Deanna Zandt: An army of technologists, activists and organizers are insisting on tech tools that work.
In more ways than one, progressives are sorely lacking in some basic infrastructure that the right has had in place for years-- media machines, intensive internship programs to rear the young activists, business associations, etc. But one area that neither side has addressed, and which is rapidly becoming a blinding necessity as online interactivity skyrockets, is the area of technology standards and interoperability.

Inter-wha'? It's just a geeky way of saying that all our tools can play well with others. Fundraising technology, social networking, email lists-- believe it or not, all these things should actually talk together. Yes! Really!

Fortunately, a new group, helmed by former AlterNet Managing Editor Tate Hausman, is tackling these issues head on with the Integration Proclamation. Here's the dream:
Ask organizers about their tech tools, and you'll hear the same story over and over: too many overlapping databases, systems that don't work together, hours wasted importing and exporting and de-duplicating lists. In a recent study about progressive technology, lack of data integration was cited as the #1 universal complaint.

It doesn't have to be this way. Recent advances in web development make data sharing much easier. Past attempts at solving the problem have taught us valuable lessons. Technology vendors have become very open to integration (though individually, the market hasn't given them enough incentive to solve the problem themselves). And now, with this Proclamation, a wide community of progressive organizers, campaigners, vendors, consultants and technologists is demanding change.

Do you believe? I do. Sign the Proclamation, and help get the momentum strong enough to build out some of these tools that the left so desperately needs in its corner for the coming waves of technological advancement... 'cause we ain't seen nothin' yet.

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Deanna Zandt is a contributing editor at AlterNet.