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November 2006
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Yahoo launches citizen journalism site

Yahoo and the Netcentric Vault

Getting you ready in 2003.

The Family Video: Ok. So you have 30 hours of the baby. Very cool. However, did you ever think that the video camera might be valuable hardware for environmental protection.

Everyday environmental groups and activists attempt to tell stories about the importance of protecting our landscape, water and air. We talk about the death of species and the loss of great places. Take some video.

While amature cam shots might not work for TV news (they do play it sometimes) the video editing and playback tools are cheap enough that groups should be able to create video that complements the story of the movement.

Try to apply this to environmental advocacy.

Today's launch of audiences that peak 150,000,000 viewer a day.

Link: Shoutblog » Blog Archive » Yahoo launches citizen journalism site.

December 7th, 2006 How does the face of journalism change when cell phone cameras and small video camera devices become ubiquitous? Instead of the appointed few recording breaking news, we have the eyes of the masses, each equipped with the necessary gear for grassroots journalism. Following in the footsteps of CNN’s I-Report, which allows users to upload video, audio, or photos, comes the more sophisticated You Witness News from Yahoo. YouTube has already proven the ability for average people to present compelling news stories. Both the UCLA tazing incident and Michael Richard’s racial outbreak were documented by bystanders and first broadcast via YouTube.

http://www.ilovemountains.org/multimedia


Power to the Edges: Advocacy and Politics in the Age of Connectivity

It is good to touch base again with stuff that I have written in the past, dust it off and kick it around again. I have been kicking stuff around in this space since late 2002 and moved Advocacy in the Age of Connectivity to Typepad on March 19, 2003. In the early days, I often was able to focus more time and energy and lately I have been thinking about ways to repackage all or the materials into a useful guide, set of workshops and some sustainable consulting services from Green Media Toolshed to help convert new folks to the network-centric advocacy strategy in their planning and investments. So in addition to the continued use of the blog as my note space, I am going revisit and recycle some older posts to spotlight them in new ways and update them with my current thinking..

Starter:
The age of connectivity brought about by the Internet and other digital information technologies is reshaping how Americans do business, obtain news and information about the world, engage in social functions, shop, express their creativity, and engage in community life.

Things change: In the midst of this moment lies an opportunity to reshape politics and progressive populist organizing for the better to be more powerful, more inclusive and boldly successful. To take advantage of this window (3-10 years) of technology and mobility induced destabilization will require a change in organizations and organizer culture.

Organizations must:
1. Nimbly jump on to the fast-moving wave of opportunities that the Internet both delivers and makes
possible.
2. Integrate online activities with offline.
3. Leverage extended networks of activists, friends and sympathizers across issues areas.
4. Lead using a new set of facilitative skills.

Culture, industry and technology are connecting people together. The web is there.The barriers to full participation are lowered, and the potential for powerful participation increased. The web has shifted from a tool to use as a delivery mechanism to a platform to harness. While the last many years have focused on training individuals and building organizational capacity in specific areas, now is the time to “wire” these investments together while supporting new training, leadership and planning skills. Now is the time to think about the progressive network as a platform.

Like many web2.0 businesses, we now need to build new business plans based on "the assumption" of the infrastructure web. However, our web is a social web that is weaved wider and more far flung than any our social organizing strategies have dealt with in the past. Centralization is not an option so the guiding principle of organizing needs to change to "push power to the edges."

The future of civic engagement belongs to communities and organizations that effectively align online and offline policy, strategy and campaigns efforts; and it belongs to those that harness the passion and power of individuals.

Download Pushing_Power_to_the_Edges_05-06-05.pdf


Don't Plan to Retire at the Beach: No ICE in North Pole by 2040

Man. Mark this up as a bad day for Polar Bears and the rest of the Planet.

Link: Ice at North Pole could be gone by 2040, scientists warn / Dire news on global warming as Geophysical Union meets in S.F..

In 20 years, Serreze said, the extent of Arctic sea ice will be reduced by 80 percent. "And that could be another tipping point. It is no longer recovering as it should, and if it reaches a critical level, it may never recover at all." As the ice continues to retreat in response to increasing temperatures caused by increases in greenhouse gases, more open ocean is exposed, and the sun warms that open water more rapidly, said Marika Holland, an oceanographer at National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. "Our calculations show that by 2040 the Arctic will be nearly ice-free," she said.


Need to Google Answer? Go to Mediavolunteer

To all those researchers that are itching to continue contributing and enjoy looking up things and providing answers. We still NEED you.

Go nuts for the progressive movement http://truemajority.mediavolunteer.org

Link: Seth's Blog.

Even though Google Answers is a great idea (hint, someone should recruit all their brilliant researchers),


Rules for Using MySpace in Politics | Personal Democracy Forum

Joshua Levy and PDF do a great service for the movement by digging into the advocacy uses and literature on Myspace organizing. This is a good read as a primer for thinking about social network sites and the ways they can be used in advocacy.

MySpace profile is not a replacement for a campaign's homepage. Instead, it is meant to be part of a participatory ecosystem that campaigns must set up. ... MySpace profiles are the equivalent to canvassing on the street or in a mall; they are part of a larger outreach effort...That said, it's becoming increasingly clear that a campaign without a social networking profile will be taken less seriously in the coming years.


Link: Rules for Using MySpace in Politics | Personal Democracy Forum.

After talking with Boothe and Goodstein, I realized there are four main rules about organizing on MySpace (and perhaps on Facebook and other sites as well). What follows is a breakdown of those rules with details from our discussion. Four Rules of Organizing on MySpace


Global Guerrillas: WORSE THAN A CIVIL WAR

I try to keep an eye on the rants of military thinkers on issues of network and network warfare. Normally, I don't react or comment on their blogs because I tend not to want to sucked into that area of network theory applications.

John Robb is normally a brilliant network thinker on the ways that connectivity and mobility are changing the way conflict is unfolding in the net worked world (fifth generation warfare). However, in a post today there seems to be a deep disconnect between how rapid and fluid everything is in" a scary and disruptive way" and no focus on how these same dynamics can de stabilize context for war power itself. In a mobile and shifting world network dynamics can also build culture and society. Everything continues to evolve including the strategy for peace which is not maintained by guns alone.

The military types (Robb and his readers) need to transform the way they only look at the negative aspects of global culture shift and realize that the same infrastructure and swarming ability of the new bad guys can be used by lots of good people to uplift an economy or the plight of the victimized with just as many examples of Katrina and Tsunami relief to Save Darfur and cases at MobileActive. The bad guys in the London plot were targeted using connections to good leads and the network traffic to find the next wave of plane bombers.

I may not know much about what the hell is going on the ground in Iraq but if I had been asked for an opinion I would start with the idea that most folks Iraq don't want to be dead real soon. If we are not "at war" nor interested in being an occupying force then the general population should not be feared but empowered (if 25 million folks are all fighters no amount of firepower would keep our guys safe)

The exit strategy is not build new screwed up politicians ( here or there) but to connect people together (most people are good) and super-saturate the country with a network of the massess who have distributed self-interest in success NOT just in appointing good representatives, or building a police force who are beholden to also build power for the representative.

So what do you do...cover Iraq with a saturated communications infrastructure so that the cell phones are not in only the hands of the bad guys, (cell phones for everyone for 2 years with unlimited in country calling) (build social ties). Kick up meetings and conferences to pace and tempo that the insurgents couldn't disrupt at a high percentage% support conferences for road builders, water folks, bakers, teachers, poets, everyone) . This also makes sure it is not just the power brokers that are controlling the conversation.. (build social ties) Enhance mobility (never neighborhood blockades) increase subsidized public transit and decentralize it. (every van is now a bus and set up local and long distance routes) help people keep moving. Enhance the common story, give it room to breath and form saturate the country with prininting presses, long distance radio broadcast (signal saturates far beyond ethic reach), national TV, web cafes and access to Internet ( create common story and conversation.) Push a high volume of exchanges of staff from across regions and foster common language for addressing concerns with the future of the country ( the role of forgiveness and reconciliation commissions .) Set up a series of funds controlled by mass vote and referendum (voting seems popular ..vote more often) let small groups petition for projects and roll similar projects from across the country into massive common funds. Let the Iraq's decide what needs fixing together. ...... This is just riffing from the seat of my pants in blog post but someone with network chops to carry credibility in the military consulting world needs flip their brilliance to focus on the possible destabilization provided by network trends as a path for social uplift, advocacy of better living and peace.

The same forces Raab fears (external support for government, the oil effect, and manufactured state) can be flipped into part of the reason that this civil war can also stopped more quickly than anything we worked with in the past.

If people are involved, there is always hope. Network good people together and watch what happens.

Link: Global Guerrillas: WORSE THAN A CIVIL WAR.

This fragmented open source state of affairs is becoming increasingly common in modern wars. The reprise Johnson and Spagat gave to the work of Lewis Richardson on the power law distributions of war casualties demonstrates this nicely (see "War's New Equilibrium" October 20, 2005 for more). They showed that modern guerrilla wars like Colombia and Iraq (and likely Afghanistan, Nigeria and others if they had included them) haven't behaved like they did in the 20th century:


Customer Carewords: Words are the most powerful tool you have: Gerry McGovern:The Long Neck:

In an inverse to the long-tail this communications and web consultant focuses on the "long neck". What are most of the people coming to your site for? This is really interesting in political base and election results interpretation.

Did the Democrats win because of the Long neck? (Iraq and corruption) or the long tail lots of individual reasons adding up to sum greater concerns than only the main reasons? It is interesting because this may have keys to the debate of message control or message volume on advocacy organizing strategy.

I like this quote and can visit the press room of any major advocacy group to see there are no customer care words in our movement. Customer Carewords: Words are the most powerful tool you have: Gerry McGovern.

What's the number one mistake organizations make? (The bigger the organization, the more likely they are to make this mistake.) Thinking that what they care about is what their customers care about. Thinking that the words they like to use are the words their customers like to read.


Mediavolunteer Better than Google Answers

If only we could swarm answers folks to www.mediavolunteer.org. (Answer for a cause not for peanuts) Mediavolunteer is distributed research for a reason.

Link: Official Google Blog: Adieu to Google Answers.

The people who participated in Google Answers -- more than 800 of them over the years -- are a passionate group committed to helping people find the information they need, and we applaud them for sharing their incredible knowledge with everyone who wrote in.