The major of question to be answered, of course, is whether online activism can result in offline political activity in the "real world." The answer is a resounding yes.
Reports from Pelosi's office indicate that hundreds of calls were received before the phone lines shut down. While the intent of the blogswarm was to indicate support for moving ENDA, rather than shutting down the phone lines, the obvious point is that there is a great deal of support among the LGBTQ community and its allies for moving ENDA. Let no one say that we do not lobby hard.
But the day was filled with more online/offline interweavings. Unrelated to the blogswarm, online activists of the organization GetEqual, a new direct action organization dedicated to LGBTQ equality, conducted coordinated nonviolent sit-ins at Speaker Pelosi's DC and SF offices. Email and social media alerted supporters to the action, generating additional hundreds of callers, who also logged in online to tell of their experiences calling the Speaker's office. Online video, pictures and live tweets from the protests gave online viewers a direct line to happenings in DC and San Francisco.
Some have questioned the wisdom of the blogswarm, and others are critical of the direct action tactics of GetEqual. These are certainly important issues to discuss, but there is no question that today's blogswarm demonstrated that bloggers and social media can produce significant offline political activity.
What do you think about this? Do you agree with me that online activity can produce significant offline political activity? Do you think the blogswarm was a good idea? How about the unrelated direct action produced by GetEqual?
Here's the GetEqual video taken before the Pelosi SF sit-in began:
Here are some of the highlights from their last tweeting hour. Imagine the thoughts and feelings these resolute souls must have had as they waited for the denouement. I hope they are warmed by the comfort of the support of many thousands while in police custody.
Pelosi's staff has closed the door to press outside. Hoping if they ignore us long enough, we'll go away.... about 1 hours ago via HootSuite
@barackobama you asked us to hold you accountable. Now we're telling you, we're ready to @getequal! about 1 hours ago via HootSuite
Thrilled to hear the lines are jammed! U wouldn't know it with how quiet the S.F. staffers in this office are. #GetENDA about 1 hours ago via web
We just scared the crap out of Rep. Pelosi's staff discussing our plans to stay in the office through the night. #GetENDA about 1 hours ago via web
Keep calling folks! Either they've unplugged the phones or the calls are going to another office, cause there are no rings here #GetENDA 34 minutes ago via web
Five people from U.S. Capitol Police have gathered outside Pelosi's office. Arrests could be imminent. (via @DCAgenda) 21 minutes ago via Tweetie
US Capitol police now entering Pelosi's DC office. #GetEQUAL members chanting, "I AM - SOMEBODY - AND I DESERVE - FULL EQUALITY" 15 minutes ago via web
UPDATE: Pelosi's DC office: "Cops gathering outside. We love you all. Likely to be signing off shortly. Stay loud, and GetEQUAL!" #GetENDA 5 minutes ago via web
ABC news waiting outside Speaker Pelosi's DC office - police still negotiating with #GetEQUAL occupants inside. #GetENDA 1 minutes ago via web
http://twitpic.com/19em3t - Thru the door: friendly officer telling us to leave Pelosi's office &the bldg #getENDA
"This is my favorite person in Pelosi's DC office right now. He came out to say hi" :) #GetENDA http://yfrog.com/e7kp6j less than a minute ago via web
DC update: RT @StealThisTweet Thinking it's going to be about 10 more minutes. 7:00 seems to be closing time at the Capitol. #GetENDA
SF activists released with citation n fine 4 disturbance charge after sit-in @Pelosi's office 2 #GetENDA
DC update: Just told police that the group won't leave until Pelosi commits to an ENDA floor vote, then rejoined the group #GetENDA
Pelosi aide Dan Bernal says Pelosi has no commitment or timeframe to #GetENDA. Epic #fail of leadership. #lgbt #ENDANOW
# US Capitol police try and move in to arrest #GetEQUAL occupants of Speaker Pelosi's office - but we lock the door from inside! *standoff* 5 minutes ago via web
The DC Pelosi ENDA 8 are about to be arrested.
At this point, communication ceased.
Meanwhile, Back At the Batcave
The blogswarm was joined by dozens of bloggers, social media users and more traditional media outlets reporting on the action.
Here's a list of all the blogs and media I could find and document by 7:30 pm tonight that participated in the blogswarm. There are dozens more, and I will list them as soon as I can gather myself for that herculean task.
Thank you to all those who participated today. Thank you for your commitment to civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and your willingness to stand up for justice, even if it does not seem politically convenient at that moment.