Online political action can effect offline change

Will Anderson’s first foray into politics didn’t come via a letter to the editor or a campus flier, the Sun-Sentinel of South Florida reports: Instead, the 21-year-old started a group on the social-networking web site Facebook opposing changes to a state scholarship program. In 11 days, Anderson’s online supporters swelled to almost 20,000, and he got a phone call from state Sen. Jeremy Ring, announcing that he had decided to drop the bill seeking the scholarship change. "You can’t ignore 20,000 people," Ring, D-Parkland, said later. Welcome to politics in the new media age, where social-networking portals, the video-sharing site YouTube, and sharp-tongued bloggers are playing an increasing role in shaping policy and opinion, from the presidential campaign trail to county and city halls and the state Capitol…

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