"Choices Reveal Who We Are" & Who We Are Is Shaped by our Choices.

I always enjoy Valdis Krebs' perspectives on networks. The way Valdis sees the world is interesting and this riff is no different.  Getting the data on what users hi-lite is in a way like a peek into a deeper  level of our behavior than just the books we follow and the friends we keep but gets at a level of data that may reveal why we like that book, or maybe why we like those people.  

It is not just the also-bought data that matters (which books bought by same customer), it is what we specifically find interesting and useful in those books that reveals deep similarities between people -- the hi-lites, bookmarks and the notes will be the connectors.  Our choices reveal who we are, and who we are like!

via www.thenetworkthinkers.com

When the choices available are shaped by our culture and policy, the reverse of this statement starts to become haunting.

The choices we have available to us, reveals who we are and who we can become. Working to shape fair choices, healthy choices, and uplifting choices  is at the core of lots of policy and social advocacy work. 

 


Guerrilla Libraries .. The Network Coordination. Old Phone Booths as Network Hubs.

Is there any screening process for the books? For instance, do you try to include great works of literature, or perhaps focus on more accessible and popular novels?

I want everything and anything. I don't have much of a budget, so all the books are donated from people that live nearby and off my own shelves, so everything from Oprah-approved to Jane Jacobs. And obviously as people leave their own books, I'd want the collection to become a record of the interests of that particular site.

A next site I have in mind is near a public school, and I'm trying to get a good collection of children's books.

via www.theatlanticcities.com

This is beautiful.  The real human network finding ways to leverage resoruces (love the art angle). This is the "open source" of library organizing.  Find extra capacity or resources built into the basic unit then use network production to leverage it.

Where does it go from here?  

  1. Create a common vision on the future of the open library. (The "leave one. take one" network?)
  2. TXT to sign in an volunteer as a librarian. Text sends reminders. Send photos 
  3. Encourage people to sign the book when they return it so people get a sense of community in the asset. 

 


Annie Leonard tells the Story of Stuff. She also describes dependence on networks.

In case it has been a few months since your last peek at the www.StoryofStuff.org let me continue to encourage you to think about the way www.storyofstuff.org is an asset for an entire network of activists.

Watch the interview below to hear about the ways Annie by design has "pushed the power to organize" out to others. 

The resources that Story of Stuff team creates, the stories Annie tells, and the clarity to the vision for so many partners continues to add capacity to a network of allies. Annie's effort is a great example of the ways they are designing to be a network services to a cause. She talks a bit about it as well in the video. 

The story behind 'The Story of Stuff' from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

 


Saving Money With Smart Research and Smarter Defaults




Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness have articulated the benefits of default choices in encouraging positive behavior for workers and organizations. Though those books talk about default choices in the context of retirement choices for workers, the key lesson that's been learned is how efficiencies can be gained simply by offering smart defaults.

via expertlabs.org

What are the defaults that you have set the wrong way at your organization?   What does making it easy mean in the world of activism?



Super Crunchers : The Future of Advocacy Evolution?

No more experts and intuition. Look at the data trends. Storage to $0 and processing power out the wazoo available for everyone.   What massive datasets do you have? What data sets can you create with a little investment.


Here are some applets that give you a sense of the kinds of things that Super Crunching can help predict. Use them at your own risk (The lawyer in me feels compelled to emphasize that I make no representation as to their accuracy). .

Forget a Rerun. Watch Clay Shirky tonight.


Clay is a great thinker in this space and the impact of the culture revolution on organizing. Clay lays out a nice summary of the shifts and what they may mean to group expression and advocacy.

It is through immersion in this type of understanding that drives us to start to think of an Advocacy2.0. Stop asking how does the network help me do what I am doing today better. Ask how does the network change the strategy to get what I want?


PreOrder: Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

Clay has pulled together a solid theory of organizing and networks. I can not wait for the new book and hope everyone picks up a copy. He is a solid leader in the space and has thrown down a new set of case studies and frames for thinking about what make networks function.

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations .

A revelatory examination of how the wildfire-like spread of new forms of social interaction enabled by technology is changing the way humans form groups and exist within them, with profound long-term economic and social effects-for good and for ill

A handful of kite hobbyists scattered around the world find each other online and collaborate on the most radical improvement in kite design in decades. A midwestern professor of Middle Eastern history starts a blog after 9/11 that becomes essential reading for journalists covering the Iraq war. Activists use the Internet and e-mail to bring offensive comments made by Trent Lott and Don Imus to a wide public and hound them from their positions. A few people find that a world-class online encyclopedia created entirely by volunteers and open for editing by anyone, a wiki, is not an impractical idea. Jihadi groups trade inspiration and instruction and showcase terrorist atrocities to the world, entirely online. A wide group of unrelated people swarms to a Web site about the theft of a cell phone and ultimately goads the New York City police to take action, leading to the culprit's arrest.

With accelerating velocity, our age's new technologies of social networking are evolving, and evolving us, into new groups doing new things in new ways, and old and new groups alike doing the old things better and more easily. You don't have to have a MySpace page to know that the times they are a changin'. Hierarchical structures that exist to manage the work of groups are seeing their raisons d'être swiftly eroded by the rising technological tide. Business models are being destroyed, transformed, born at dizzying speeds, and the larger socialimpact is profound.

One of the culture's wisest observers of the transformational power of the new forms of tech-enabled social interaction is Clay Shirky, and Here Comes Everybody is his marvelous reckoning with the ramifications of all this on what we do and who we are. Like Lawrence Lessig on the effect of new technology on regimes of cultural creation, Shirky's assessment of the impact of new technology on the nature and use of groups is marvelously broad minded, lucid, and penetrating; it integrates the views of a number of other thinkers across a broad range of disciplines with his own pioneering work to provide a holistic framework for understanding the opportunities and the threats to the existing order that these new, spontaneous networks of social interaction represent


Here is Clay ..riffing on space.



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


BookCrossing - The World's Biggest Free Book Club - Catch and Release Used Books:

Network based book service. Decentralized book sharing via public places.

What are the factors that make this work?

1. Excess product with low cash value.
2. High degree of fun enjoying "free" stuff released by others.
3. Easy coordination via the Internet.
4. People are basically good.

How can we apply this to similar community based challenges with physical items? Metro cards or small change (take a penny leacve a penny). Campaign literature? Advocacy, lobbying talking points, disposable digital cameras? near state capitals or big organizing events.

"Take one - leave one" boxes in the city, on the ferry, on the train? gift wrapping paper on the way into and leaving airports......

Link: BookCrossing - The World's Biggest Free Book Club - Catch and Release Used Books.

You've come to a friendly place, and we welcome you to our book-lovers' community. Our members love books enough to let them go — into the wild — to be found by others. Sharing your used books has never been more exciting, more serendipitous, than with BookCrossing. Our goal, simply, is to make the whole world a library. BookCrossing is a free online book club of infinite proportion, the first and only of its kind. Inside, you'll find millions of book reviews and hundreds of thousands of passionate readers just like you. Let's get right down to it. You know the feeling you get after reading a book that speaks to you, that touches your life, a feeling that you want to share it with someone else? BookCrossing.com gives you a simple way to share books with the world, and follow their paths forever! The "3 Rs" of BookCrossing... Read a good book (you already know how to do that) Register it here (along with your journal comments), get a unique BCID (BookCrossing ID number), and label the book Release it for someone else to read (give it to a friend, leave it on a park bench, donate it to charity, "forget" it in a coffee shop, etc.), and get notified by email each time someone comes here and records a journal entry for that book. And if you make Release Notes


Wisdom of Crowds

There is lots of fun food for thought in the new book "Wisdom of Crowds". It is a wonderful and thought provoking book sure to be unpopular by consultants and experts because it cries out against the silver bullet leader thinker. The basic idea is that crowds are smart and under the right conditions the crowd will always make better choices than the expert. The challenge is to set up a system (designed by individuals ) to harvest the wisdom of the crowd.

Think Bushin30seconds.com vs. Presidential campaign ads....

There are lots of really interesting examples of crowd problem solving and also dysfunctional systems that create market bubbles. It is a quick read and it inspired lots of ideas. I'll rant on a few of them tomorrow.