I’m going to start a short series on how to be a freeway blogger, using videos and instruction from the original Freeway Blogger himself.
I have one main goal — to get freeway blogging started in as many cities as possible — and especially in the Washington DC area. If there were ever a city ripe for milking by no-cost mass political advertising, it’s DC. An amazingly target-rich environment. Anyone want to try? (It’s almost free…)
Of course, any other city can be a target too. It’s tons of fun — I have it on good authority — and has great monkey-wrench potential. Interested? Read on, and please watch the short vid near the end.
Why do freeway blogging?
Why would you want to start freeway blogging? I’m convinced it’s an untapped gold mine of low-cost progressive influence. If you’re the kind of person who really wants to have an effect, loves to raise a non-violent ruckus, doesn’t mind working alone (or in very small groups), and wants to kick some NeoLiberal (or Climate Denier) ass — by which I mean butt — this is your gig.
The original Freeway Blogger has been at it for about a decade, has perfected the method, and shares his reasons about why be a freeway blogger in a recent Daily Kos diary. A great read. Some of his 100 reasons:
1) You can say whatever you want.
2) It costs almost nothing.
3) It reaches thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people.
4) Done right, it can even reach millions. …
6) Payback for all the political propaganda you’ve been subjected to.
7) Get some use out of those graphic design classes. …
9) Two words: Citizens United. …
12) Entirely Non-Violent.
13) Utilizes all the coolest strategies and tactics of guerrilla warfare with absolutely none of the dangers.
14) You can do it alone.
15) You can do it with others. …
18) No camping required.
19) No annoying pepper-spray. …
There are many more reasons, and I can’t find a bad one in the bunch. (Be sure to get there first though; right-wingers can do this too…)
A final reason: The progressive movement needs more activist young people — and what better way to get started with playful activism that this? It’s non-violent (I think I mentioned that) and doesn’t require going to meetings. You can even do it in a … refreshed state of mind (heh).
What can you blog about?
You can blog about anything. Literally anything.
You can deal dirt on your local mayor that only the back pages are covering. You can deal the NRA a couple of body blows (seriously; see below). You can tell Nancy Pelosi’s district — or her immediate neighbors — that she’s on board with the kill-the-safety-net thing (surprise, neighbors; she’s not who you thought she was).
And in a high power political town like DC, the issue-world is your oyster. Don’t like Obama’s choice for Treasury Secretary? Say why. Think the Community-Organizer-in-Chief should be bailing out homeowners first? Let the world know you agree. If you find the right locations for signs, you can milk a location for a week’s worth of viewing before cops or the weather take it down. And you can go back to those hard-to-police locations again, and again, and again.
You have total editorial control, and no server fees. In DC, or any other major city, you can personally talk to thousands of movers and shakers — and the world’s media — with $4 worth of sunk cost and some nighttime fun. You can have more reach than John, Chris, and I do with this blog. Any message can be your message. Any hobby horse can be yours to ride.
There are only a few things to keep in mind in order to be successful. This series will detail those things.
How do you get started?
Start by watching this short clip — it’s fun and has nice music. After you watch, I’ll highlight just a few things.
So, just a few starter tips:
■ Note that he works with white-washed backgrounds. Very visible, plus it makes the cheap cardboard more weather-worthy. Some of his signs stay up for a week in Seattle, of all places.
■ Notice his highway jacket? There are lots of versions of that, including in running and biking stores. Why wear one? Because (1) you’re less likely to get hurt, and (2) people who see you put your signs up will think you’re taking them down.
■ Do you see how nice the lettering comes out? Hand-lettering works, but it’s not hard at all to mass-produce signs with decent lettering on them. The difference in effect (I hear) is noticeable. More on that lettering technique in a future post.
■ It helps to have good slogans. You can steal them. Or think them up. Or ask your friends. Some of us in the left media world will also be glad to help. Just ask. (For example, if anyone is interested in taking on housing and mortgage reform as one of your subjects, I know several people who would love to feed you ideas.)
That’s not much to remember. The lettering thing is not hard and I’ll feature it in the next post.
This is what the work looks like:
Note the reach. Here’s another:
Note the two-parter. This is a good technique, and one he uses a lot. One more:
OK, gun control gets the final nod.
Ready to be bold? Consider this a challenge. Are you ready to be effective? More Freeway Blogger info here. And more from me in a bit. Be bold; and have a blast (heh) doing it.
To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius