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Get Thee Behind Me, Disco Duck! » Digital Diner

I am playing a bit of a punk to the wise elders of tech....Gavin and Michael.  I don't disagree with feelings of these riffs against walled gardens, lobster traps and annoying ads but I don't think the advice that emerges works.

I would suggest... 

  1. Don't design for yourself. (Perry White reference alone makes this point)
  2. Providing your vision, comments, staff time and content and only asking for email name alone is akin introducing yourself online.
  3. It is not that big of a deal for people to "skip to homepage" through the splash page. Those pages are the best ways to start collecting information on users.
  4. People are not on Facebook or "being pushed to Facebook" by groups. They are there for their friends. They are on Myspace in equal numbers. It is the nonprofits that need to listen and organize where the people are. Going where the people are at is reducing the barrier.
The problem is that many groups look at relationships as "lobster traps". Groups want to engage people to pick their pockets and political capital but want the lightest possible relationship (they can't service many relationships). Groups seldom want those people to talk back. The threat is that it is not controlled or directed in the same way as traditional platforms and the groups lack the skills, tools and organizers perspective to be able to let members serve each other.     


Get Thee Behind Me, Disco Duck! » Digital Diner.
Michael Gilbert (who I think of as my own personal Perry White) suggested I repost my response here, on the Diner. (I think he’s worried that I haven’t posted much stuff in the last few months. Not to worry Michael, it was just a dry spell caused by excessive time travel.

NYC 311

Mayor Bloomberg talks about amazing new data traffic patterns guiding the development of web services for the city. Network building strategy is about creating feedback mechanisms so the network can learn from itself. Now NYC is heading down that path with 311 so we should see some amazing things in the next several months. From PDF

YouTube Stats from PDF

This came via email from PDF. It is a statistic that I use in presentations.  According to this the YouTube network is more active than I have been giving it credit for:

currently pouring onto YouTube alone — about 200,000 three-minute videos added every day — is the equivalent of 385 always-on TV channels. In July 2008 in the United States, approximately 91 million viewers looked at nearly 5 billion videos on YouTube.

Amazing. This can only be organized by the network of viewers filter those 200,000 videos. 

I am looking forward to PDF this year.


More Network Wisdom from Shack/Slum Dwellers International

I continue to be amazed at the depth of network rituals developed by SDI. In a context of little resources SDInet has made the operation form the ground up based on principals that are very network-centric.  If you look, there are elements of all the key components of the network in the “Rituals”.  Here is an example of network culture, network vision, communication grid, social ties building, management of shared resources, leadership building, and feedback in one program area. 

From their website..

Horizontal exchange, then, is the primary learning strategy of SDI. Participants within the savings networks learn best from each other - when one savings group has initiated a successful income-generating project or has replanned a settlement or has built a toilet block, SDI enables groups to come together and learn from intra-network achievements. The community exchange process builds upon the logic of 'doing is knowing' and helps to develop a collective vision. As savers travel from Khayelitsha to Greenpoint or Nairobi to Colombo, the network is unified and strengthened - not only at a street level but between towns, regions and provinces, and nation-states. In this way, locally appropriate ideas get transfered into the global millieu through dialogue amongst slumdweller partners.

Community-to-community exchanges allow participants to see themselves and their peers as experts, thereby breaking isolation to create a unified voice of the urban poor, reclaiming sites of knowledge that have frequently been co-opted by professionals, and strengthening solidarity to increase critical mass. The pool of knowledge generated through exchange programmes becomes a collective asset of the SDI network - so that when slumdwellers meet with external actors to debate development policies, they can draw from international examples, forcing government and other stakeholders to listen.

Shack/Slum Dwellers International