Here are some final conference highlights:
* In Rebooting Politics 2.0, a panel featuring some of the Obama campaign's new media strategists, Sam Graham-Felsen, director of blogging and blog outreach, praised YouTube as a rapid response tool and urged cause activists of all stripes to use the video-sharing site to drum up support and shoot down opponents' attempts to spread misinformation. "During the [Obama] campaign, if the McCain team put out an ad with inaccuracies in it, I'd run over to our deputy economics policy adviser and have him instantaneously rebut the ad, and then we'd put it right on YouTube a few hours later," Graham-Felsen said. He also urged activists to assemble large, online armies to keep supporters engaged. "We had volunteers responding to every Facebook message and Myspace message that came in," he said. "Organizing is the essence of democracy, and the more organizing you do, the more democracy you reap." Added Joe Rospars, Obama's new media director: "At the end of the day, it's all about out-organizing the opposition."
* Luke Russert, MSNBC's 23-year-old youth correspondent and a Summit media panelist, coached conferees to keep their media messages short and targeted to mainstream issues and concerns. "Does a 44-year-old housewife in DesMoines, Iowa, really understand social networking? Probably not," he said. "Keep the cause, itself, the message." Check out Russert's recent interview, here, with Summit co-organizer Jared Cohen, a member of the U.S. Secretary of State's policy planning staff.
* During a panel discussion on how to protect privacy, personal safety, and avoid being shut down in the world's hot spots, Chris Michael of Witness.org warned conferees not to expect technology companies to defend social media-powered activists against censorship or other forms of intimidation. "If a government in a location wants information," he said, "it's very unlikely that a technology corporation will take a stand for an individual human rights activist."
* Sherif Mansour, a program officer at Freedom House, described his group's activist protection program, called the Blue Umbrella, which asks politicians, statesmen, journalists, and others in the West to speak out for those facing jail and torture in Egypt and across the Middle East. Check out this July 2008 video from JourneymanPictures, called Egypt's Facebook Face-Off. It describes how Egyptians are starting to use social media to protest government policies in Cairo:
Here are two "how-to" videos shown to conferees, produced by Howcast, a conference co-sponsor—How to Protest Without Violence and How to Launch a Human Rights Blog: