Continue Reading Grass Roots 2.0" />

Grass Roots 2.0

by Louis on January 30, 2009

The evolution of the web from dynamic information provider to interactive meeting place is called 2.0. Grass Roots 2.0 is a similar extension of social marketing and political advocacy to grass roots behavior. News articles on the web change throughout the day- dynamic, but often the comments are more revealing- interactive- people participating in the news. Compare to the real newspaper: the story is old by the time the paper lands on your stoop and there is no way to add your two cents. For many who always understood the power of the web, interactivity is a natural step. For many of us 2.0 is a whole new level we need to figure out. It became clear to me this week we need to make the politics of Aging in Place interactive.

That interactive extension is more pervasive than just the web. Obama was not just elected using interactivity to connect supporters. His administration plans participatory government as they continue to seek input to policy. I was awakened to this yesterday when I heard Thomas S. Blanton, Director of the National Security Archive and Greg Elin of the Sunlight Foundation on the Kojo Nnamdi Show. They explained how they mine public opinion not by reading every comment but by using software to find common interests and comments.

I wrote about Social Marketing a while ago. It is an important tool and factor in promoting Aging in Place. I want to expand the social marketing discussion about influencing behavior to participating. We need to call for change and participate. Grass Roots 2.0.

This week I had the pleasure and opportunity to speak at the annual United Seniors of Maryland rally in Annapolis.* The event was organized in conjunction with the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. The theme was Aging in Place. Every speaker spoke to the issue, evidence of significant change from 15 years ago when I was often the lone voice on this topic. I was excited to join this now popular effort.

I am happy to pump folks up, to influence legislation and legislators, but I also see an opportunity to call the attendees to ACTION. I know the most significant factor in Aging in Place successfully, is the planning and effort an individual does for themselves.

It is not enough to wish, respond to polls, chat among your friends demand legislation or attend a rally. We must act. Each of us must do to ensure our own future. I mean installing grab bars and other simple safety steps, full scale modifications and exercising. The steps YOU take to avoid a forced move are insurance against the forced move and preparation to stay home safely when you need assistance. These steps have tangible benefits for those who act and positive results for everyone else because money is saved. It is control and empowerment.

GRASS ROOTS 2.0. The steps you take for yourself are the demonstration of your stand on the issues. The steps you take are the vote you make with your time and money. They stand as testament to your commitment. Can we influence people to act in their own interest? This is social marketing.

The Call to Action tests the message. 1. How does the message and the medium effect the response? How many act? What do they do? 2. If we are smart enough to track the action the results demonstrate that it works. What are we waiting for? This is participatory political action. Grass Roots 2.0 is a giant social marketing step into the present!

* I sandwiched the governor of Maryland with my remarks. He came in with his handlers- I stepped aside so he could speak- and resumed as he rushed out the door. I am happy to ‘share’ the dais with the governor!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one } February 1, 2009 at 7:07 pm


I am energized by your comments and the call to action you so typically convey in your posts. When a person chooses to take responsibility and make changes in their lives to age in place it lets others know the importance of those choices.

As I’ve commented before, you are right on the money. If you ever have time, drop me a note. I’d welcome the chance to talk about helping each other spread the same message.



steveo February 5, 2009 at 2:27 am

Your thoughts and ideas inspire us even if our actions don’t follow rapidly. Yes we can lead by example. Perhaps we should do more. Those of us who eagerly read your blog will act, push and pull the greater community towards good solutions. Don’t despair.

Re: the NPR comments on the Silvers Summit at the recent Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. I disagree; the program was excellent; with education, research, novel ideas, controversial topics across the spectrum all being discussed for 8 hours. Not to mention its own space on the convention floor. This event was very worthwhile and should be on everyone’s calendar for next year.

All the best,
Steve Atwater


Patrick Roden March 4, 2009 at 6:40 am

Louis, this quote comes to mind:

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.”
~ Peter Marshall

Reminds me of the slight edge-philosophy by Jeff Olsen; If you do what’s hard now, life will be easier later on. Conversely, if you do what’s easy now, life will be hard later on.

Planning ahead by taking small steps towards aging in place modifications can make life easier down the road.

Thanks for the reminder…



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: