Environmental group employs MySpace to reach new generation

LAKE GEORGE A local environmental advocacy group is using a new toolbox of of tactics including a MySpace Web site page to court a new generation they see as politically motivated and offering muscle to their movement. On Sunday, the Lake George Association held a music festival entitled Lakeapalooza at Judds Tavern in an effort to bring a new breed of environmental activists into the local fold. The association views Generation Y as a potential source of future political capital, and its using the social networking site Myspace.com to garner new recruits. We have had trouble getting in touch with the younger demographic, LGA Communications Director Jim Hood said. MySpace is a leap of faith for us, but its an amazing way to network with younger people. The LGA has traditionally hosted fundraising and awareness events at the Sagamore, Hood said, which typically attracts boomer activists, who have greater wealth than their younger counterparts. The LGA uses newsletters and press releases to keep the boomers informed. The Associations presence on MySpace, which is free to users, is geared specifically to the millennial voters. We are hoping to attract a potential volunteer base, Hood said. They are the stewards of the future. Hood said that since the his agencys launch of their MySpace page and www.lakegeorgeassociation.org Web site, theyve experienced a considerable spike in membership. Herb Cloutier of Encompass Design Studios is responsible for managing the LGAs MySpace page. Social networking sites are so much more interactive in comparison to the dot-coms, Cloutier said. It allows for immediate satisfaction, which is what these kids want. Cloutier said that using MySpace allows the LGA to not only observe anyone who has visited their site, but to also contact them and everyone on their friends list immediately. Myspace is a powerful marketing tool when attempting attract a younger demographic, he said. A visit to the Myspace site offers photos of LGA friends that young people have posted, links to their own MySpace pages, and the ability to browse photos and videos depicting the beauty of the lake and the importance of its preservation all while listening to a folk-music artist singing an ecologically-themed song. Also, the MySpace site offers opportunities to sign up as an LGA volunteer to aid the Associations cause. Sundays Lakeapalooza event featured five local bands, information regarding proper maintenance of lake health and a live, streaming Internet-based broadcast on radiolakegeorge.com and radiougly.com. Hood referred to the festival as an awareness music event designed to reach younger individuals who may not know about the mission and numerous projects of the LGA. Lakeapalooza was the brainchild of Lake George resident Chuck Kelsey who said he sees this type of event as the perfect way to fuse local music with environmental awareness and political action.

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