Network Customer Service :

This looks like an interesting site that melds the customers and the staff on customer service. It will be interesting to see which nonprofits and campaigns might pick this up.
Customer service doesn't have to suck. Real conversations with company employees and other customers who will answer your questions about the products and services you use. Get heard.

Network-centric advocacy and organizing meets New government

The NYTimes moment has arrived.

The network and the movement combined to set a new standard for organizing . We might even see network-centric government. A government that creates and fosters social ties among its people. A government that helps establish peer to peer communication around the biggest issues and challenges. A government that creates shared resources that can be mixed and reused. A government that provides open transparency and feedback data that people throughout society can use to to identify important societal trends. A government that welcomes outside leadership and engagement. A government that realizes that the answers to its challenges are not in the handful of expert staff but distributed in the power and skills of the people it serves.

A government not focused on the survival of one player, one lobby or one interest group but a government that embraces the roll as a network organizer. Not reaching out to get others with only options to "Join or donate" but one that offers engagement, leadership and the ability to really influence outcomes to all participants.

Network-centric governance and leadership.

“I think it is very significant that he was the first post-boomer candidate for president,” Mr. Andreessen said. “Other politicians I have met with are always impressed by the Web and surprised by what it could do, but their interest sort of ended in how much money you could raise. He was the first politician I dealt with who understood that the technology was a given and that it could be used in new ways.” The juxtaposition of a networked, open-source campaign and a historically imperial office will have profound implications and raise significant questions. Special-interest groups and lobbyists will now contend with an environment of transparency and a president who owes them nothing. The news media will now contend with an administration that can take its case directly to its base without even booking time on the networks.

The Strategy of Web Superiority and Web Dominance of an issue.

In the past, I have highlighted the value of web dominance and in 2003 talked about the value of "web superiority" with the hope of flooding the chatter, setting the tempo and message online no matter where online influentials looked they would see your message.

It seems like a more doable strategy the smaller the issue.  If you work on farming issues in WI, or river protection in Georgia dominating the web discussion would be a very easy territory to take over. I am surprised anyone can pull it off on a national issue with so much attention and so many sites but check this snap shot of Obama vs. McCain.

Here is a snap shot of how that plays out ...

  Online snap shot obama mccain

Protect the Vote: Lock it in today for election day:

If you plan to vote and are interested in protecting the process checkout  ....

Put CHALK on the Sidewalks ...  Report your experience ... 567-258-8683.

It is pretty cool the way they are both collecting and using all this data to provide feedback to the media and public on the voting process.
Four ways to submit reports to Vote Report:

 * Twitter: include #votereport and other tags to describe the scene on the ground * SMS: Send text messages to 66937 (MOZES) starting with the keyword #votereport plus other hash tags

* iPhone: We have a Twitter Vote Report iPhone app in the App store!

* Phone: Call our automated system at 567-258-VOTE (8683) to report about conditions, using any touch-tone phone And if you would like to talk to a human to report bad conditions you’ve observed, please call our partner 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

As news outlets and blogs will report on Election Day stories, is an invaluable resource for thousands of voters to get immediate help. From questions like “where do I vote” or “how do I make sure that my rights are being upheld,” Twitter Voter Report augments these efforts by providing a new way for voters to send text messages (aka tweets) via cellphones or computers which will be aggregated and mapped so that everyone can see the Nation’s voting problems in real-time.

Imagine a nationwide web map with pins identifying every zip code where Americans are waiting over 30 minutes to vote or indicating those election districts where the voting machines are not working.

Collectively we will inform each other when the lines are too long and ensure that media and watchdog groups know where problems exist. and

Tracking government actions a hobby of yours? Here is a new interface that tracks agencies and generates an RSS feed of rulemaking notices. Want a view of the trends check these out..

capturing the full text of the House, Senate and Extension of Remarks sections of the Congressional Record for every day, dating back to the second session of the 106th Congress (January 20, 2000), via GPO Access and storing it on Sunlight's LOUIS database. Sunlight then runs a query on LOUIS to calculate the most commonly used words for a given day, with some exceptions, (described in more detail below). Each afternoon, the daily counts for the previous day are added to the Capitol Words database.

Link: is an alternative interface to the federal government's regulatory dockets database. Below are the newest agency notices of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register. Click on a regulation's title to go to that docket's page. To see a particular agency's dockets, choose the agency from the menu to the right. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed of a particular agency's rulemaking notices.


The story of culture shift told from Youtube. (Great Presentation at the Library of Congress)

Mike Wesch Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology of Kansas State University does a fantastic overview of the culture shift. He looks at Youtube as anthropologic study area.

It is definitely worth watching.

Mike presents a strong case that culture is shifting the way that people connect and build relations. It shows how new culture creates synchronizing effects. It is only a matter of time that organizing in a political sense gets reshaped by these forces.

As passionate progressive organizers we want to get the jump on this organizing and find formulas and frameworks that are road maps to pull these together around the big issues of the day.

How do we organize in this new context? Yes, we need a new plan and a new model to organize political power. It is context that makes network-centric advocacy the right place to be focusing our attention.

Benkler on TED

I have said it before Yochai Benkler is my hero. (hard to read ..better to watch)

This is a good background on the foundation of what trends are really playing with modern movement organizing. Network-centric advocacy stems from exactly the trends that Yochai introduces here. As Benkler's ides sink in it transforms the way you think about organizing and what is possible.

The challenge for the movement is to think about network production and social change endeavors. The model of radical distributed campaigns are just taking shape in our sector. Long-term campaigns built deliberately around network organizing are just being contemplated by the leaders in our sector.

The web and these networks are going to transform social change movements but not just in fundraising. It could easily be argued that in America today our successful social movements are not dealing with a scarcity problem from a lack of resources (ask AARP).

Money was a problem in social movements. Organizing solved this problem and focused on addressing the scarcity of money (both Presidential opted out of public financing) by compiling small donations.

As time of supporters becomes scarce in political and social organizing the challenge and opportunity for the sectors is to collect smaller parts and build them into something wonderful.

Work for me? I am picking up entry level staff and interns.

If you tune in here often (the 86+ of you), you might find this job really fun and interesting.

We have been picking up quite a bit of work in line with training people on the concepts of network-centric advocacy and we are providing partners with direct support, online training and strategy services. I am looking to grow this part of my work at Green Media Toolshed over the next few years.

Hopefully, in the next few months I can bring on a few people interested in this work, train them and work with them over the next several years to build the Netcentric Campaigns Division of Green Media Toolshed. I am looking for great staff that want to get into the real work of networking the movement. Please check out the job and pass it on to friends that are interested in a great job in DC.

Network Advocacy Coordinator

Small Group Dynamics. Small is better because factions can not survive? Nope.

There are some interesting assumptions in this theory of the "inefficiency coefficient." I think physicswold has it wrong (how often do we get to say that?)

Stefan Turner says that inefficiency goes up when there are enough people to support independent coalitions and factions. That seems to make sense, but it should be universal across government, private sector, and public interest sectors.

However, as the barriers to coordination go down, it would seem that smaller coalitions and factions will be able to sustain themselves with less energy (need less people to maintain a viable faction then in 1933). We have actually observed increased fragmentation and increased inefficiency which is the opposite of what the big theory and conclusion would suggest.

This methodology doesn't make sense to me. There are other things at play. It is as if the indicators for success and the political systems that demand large cabinetes (include more people because the culture is deeply fragmented) are conflicting rather than any proof in the magic of the 20 people to a group. It may be something even more fundamental to human nature people are less willing to question authority in bigger groups? People less will to challenge leadership in larger group settings? Leaders less willing to throw open questions and reverse thier opinions in larger groups?

Less perfect information would lead to worse decisions not group size. Close the doors on opinions and limiting the seats of power as a way to make better government choices would only make sense to physics and math guy.

The real challenge then is to look for the ways to scale small group dynamic. To access the wisdom of the crowd and scale effective coordination using better communicaiton skills and technology.

Or you could tell the EU to limit committee size... Are they actually buying that?

Physicists quantify the 'coefficient of inefficiency' -

Parkinson, who died in 1993, discovered a strong correlation between a committee’s ability to make a good decision, and its size. In particular, Parkinson found that committees with more than about 20 members are much more ineffectual at making decisions than smaller groups — something he dubbed the “coefficient of inefficiency”.

While many organizations are aware of the 20 person rule, Thurner and colleagues had not been able to find any reference to a mathematical explanation of the coefficient. So they set out to first empirically verify Parkinson’s law and then develop a mathematical model to describe

The problem is not turning them into activists: It is knowing what to do with activists.

Seth's Blog.has a good riff on engagement, big groups, fundraising and volunteering. We need to work harder in thinking of valuable things online volunteers can do to help move an agenda. Do they help you write thnak you notes? Do they call other volunteers? Do you send them phone lists and calling scripts so they can phone bank your member to remind them of upcoming events.

We are not afraid to let our members talk to each other off line at an event or meeting. We can't control it there face to face. However, we paic on the ideas that encourage our members to talk to each other in online contexts.

The big win is in turning donors into patrons and activists and participants. The biggest donors are the ones who not only give, but do the work. The ones who make the soup or feed the hungry or hang the art. My mom was a volunteer for years at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, and there's no doubt at all that we gave more money to the museum than we would have if they'd sent us a flyer once a month.

The internet allows some organizations to embrace long-distance involvement. It lets charities flip the funnel, not through some simple hand waving, but by reorganizing around the idea of engagement online. It means opening yourself up to volunteers, encouraging them to network, to connect with each other, and yes, even to mutiny. It means giving every one of your professionals a blog and the freedom to use it. It means mixing it up with volunteers, so they have something truly at stake. This is understandably scary for many non-profits, but I'm not so sure you have a choice.

Do you have to abandon the old ways today? Of course not. But responsible stewardship requires that you find and empower the mavericks and give them the flexibility to build something new, not to try to force the internet to act like direct mail with free stamps

Tag cloud and analysis of 952 ProgressiveExchange emails. (what has this list been talking about in a glance.)

I have a killer project in the works. I am not sure Net2 application and/or presentation does the project justice.Progressexhange_folder

The Advocacy Email Index will change the way we scan emails and understand the movements. Who wants to be on our our allies email list? This project will help us scan and navigate thousands of emails more easily. Users will figure out new ways to find allies and swarm issues.

I want to know what all the groups at Green Media Toolshed are talking about (clients, or peace movement, yada..yada) Green Media Toolshed has 194 member groups. I wish I knew what issues they are working on today, this week, over the last year. What is important to them? What are they discussion with their members in email? I want to know so I can swarm on issues and support folks. I want help our members network better and self-organize on issues. I need a technorotti or digg for the issues of the movement.

My inbox is full and I can't seem to read newsletters fast enough. Our best content is in our enewsletters. I need to be able to process email faster. I might know more about training needs, expertise and partnership opportunities. I need to know the words and trends in my network. (images of progressive exchange - inbox folder and tag cloud. It is all email subjects since Jan 1. What does it tell you?


The Advocacy Email Index
will identify key words used in emails to members. We need to know who is talking about what, and where. By illustrating the community “chatter”, this tool will empower messaging, appeals and issue framing. It will help our disconnected and fragmented movement swarm.

Vote for it. Pop it on net2 and we will get it finished.

We also ran on Center for American Progress emails....over on our blog.

A better title would also be great. (comments)

Commenting On Your Blog: Zero

Here is a great riff by Michele Martin on the failures to create conversation via a blog. It is a really good riff.

At the heart of her six reasons are the basic rules of conversation. The same reason you don't want to talk to the looser at the bar or picnic translates online.

Do you like to get sold something? Do you like being gamed in a conversation? Do you really ask folks what they are up to and riff with them on issues that are important to them?

Add the being a jerk factor to technical problems and you will kill any conversation.

All that being said, Why do you blog? Is it for the comments and conversation? When I started this blog I riffed on my reasons and I think I am still pretty much in the same space....

It takes me a long time to write anything really well. If i developed ideas into fully formed thoughts and officials papers ...well. It would take forever. This blog is

1. my online thinking space.
2. my clips and research library.
3. a loose tie to mentors and smart people that can "see" my thinking and give me feedback on stuff via email or when we meet face to face.
4. my scream to the world I am not perfect. Don't let me pretend to blog is full of mistakes, bad ideas and losts of rambles.
5. my family protection plan. It is a solid declaration I will remain behind the scenes ..putting out so many random ideas and rambling riffs is a one way ticket out of jobs with huge responsibility...(too much information on the blog sinks me from any high power appointment.)

The first item is really the biggest reason I blog. I feel a strong drive to keep some of my current thinking that is still in formation on my blog before it goes into papers or products for work. I also look back over my past post when I get stuck and need ideas to build on.

Link: The Bamboo Project Blog: Six Reasons People Aren't Commenting On Your Blog.

Six Reasons People Aren't Commenting on Your Blog

1. You sound like a press release.
This is a particular problem when a blog is either being run by an organization or by an individual who's trying to generate business and isn't getting the informal, authentic nature of the blogging culture. The problem is that a press release is not something that's designed to invite conversation. It sounds like what it is--a way to get coverage from newspapers or magazines. It has its place in a marketing mix, but it doesn't belong on your blog.

Let me show you what I mean. This is a press release. Read it and then then let me know how drawn into a conversation you might feel if you saw this or some version of this on a blog. Right. I didn't think so.

2. You sound like an infomercial.
This is closely related to problem 1. Blogs that come across as thinly-veiled sales pitches don't invite comments. I would argue that they don't invite a lot of readership either, but that might just be me.

Certainly having some individual posts that are related to "selling" something can be OK, but I wouldn't expect a lot of comments on them. And I definitely wouldn't expect to create a big sense of community on your blog if most of your posts are geared towards pitching your products or organization. There are ways to do this, but you have to be adding value separate from anything you're trying to sell. I think that the Rapid E-Learning Blog is an excellent example of the "soft-sell" approach that works best in the blogosphere.

3. You sound like a know-it-all.
I've been running an informal experiment here for the past few months, trying to see which blog posts generate the most comments. Hands-down they are the posts where I ask a lot of questions and where I give incomplete answers on topics that interest me. I think this works for two reasons. First, no one is attracted to a know-it-all. Oh, we may want to bookmark their stuff, but that doesn't mean we want to talk to them. I also think it's because by asking questions and not having all the answers, we leave space for comments to happen. As a reader, it feels like there's more that could be said on the topic, so I'm more inclined to comment. Questions are the lifeblood of conversation . They need to be a regular part of posts.

4. You haven't showed them how.
If you're blogging for bloggers or for people who are comfortable with the conventions of blogging, then explaining what comments are and how to comment isn't necessary. But if you're blogging for people who are new to the blogosphere or who aren't that proficient with the technology, you definitely need to make commenting easy to do. This is something I learned during the 31 Day Challenge and have seen a substantial increase in comments since then.

5. You haven't created the right atmosphere.Comment_thread_3
You know how you go to some gatherings where the hosts make you feel right at home? Even if you don't know everyone there, they do a great job of introducing people to each other and creating an environment that invites people to settle in for a chat. It's the same dynamic with blogs. Some blogs make you WANT to talk to the author and to other commenters. Some blogs--not so much.

My personal feeling is that a lot of it has to do with "tone." If someone's writing seems warm, inviting, authentic and transparent, then I want to join the conversation. If they sound "institutional" or distant, the conversation will have to be pretty darn interesting for me to be drawn into commenting.

I've also found that I'm reluctant to comment if it feels like I may be breaking into someone's "clique." Not that you won't have regular commenters, but sometimes there can be a problem with having an "in-crowd" that emerges over time, making newcomers less likely to share their thoughts.

6. You just don't seem that into it.
I LOVE talking to people who are really passionate about a topic and are incredibly excited to share their ideas with me. I'm less thrilled to talk to people who aren't that into the conversation. Same thing with bloggers. The ones who are passionate about their topic--and allow that passion to shine through--they're the bloggers we want to talk to. But if your posts feel like you're slogging through them, unless it's a post on how you're slogging through posting, you probably won't get the conversation started. Blogging is about passion and about sharing your excitement about a topic. It's those posts that tend to generate conversation, not the ones where you're going through the motions.

So those are my six reasons for why I think that people may not be commenting on your blog. What would you add to the list?

Photos via premasager and ario_j

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.

RSS for nonprofit staff. Why?

Tuesday Tips: Why Nonprofit Managers Must Use RSS ... And How to Start | DemocracyInAction

You're not getting information -- about your cause, about your people, about your profession -- efficiently enough, which means you're not getting enough information, period.

And someone else is getting that information, or will be soon.

* Someone eyeballing your job.
* Or your press release.
* Or your grant application.
* Someone competing with you for your constituents.
* Or someone competing with your constituency for influence.

They'll know when someone writes about your issue or blogs about your cause or has something to say about your organization, and know it without refreshing dozens of links and scouring dozens of mailing lists so their hands are free for the other hundred things they have to do.

Distributed Research: needs 43 phone calls to track Hill staff

your chance to do some old fashioned, person-to-person reporting: Call
up a lobbying firm and verify that we have indeed identified a former
congressional insider who's moved on to K Street. We give you a really
simple script, and an easy way to record your efforts. Just click here to get started.

Where Are They Now? Staffers Needing Verification

These staff members still need researchers like you to verify them. A call typically only takes a minute and helps ensure our research is as accurate as possible.

From the Mail Bag: David Letterman and Alex's Lemonade Stand

I have often talked about the story of Alex's Lemonade Stand  as one of the great examples of network-centric organizing. They continue to push the organizing and message crafting, the story telling and inspiration out to the audience.  I love the new section they added "From the Mail Bag".  Just unedited and raw scanned letters.   They have raised $18 million for Alex's Foundation and have a story that just keeps spreading in a connected culture.  It is clean and easy. Stop Cancer, Save kids, Hold a lemonade stand.

It is a beautiful campaign.

Celebrities have favorite issues. (Govcom issue map crawling

I love to see these information maps presenting unique windows on large sets of data...

In order of importance, celebrities endorse issues focusing on children,
health, AIDS, family/parent support, poverty, disaster relief and human rights, according to
There is also an issue-celebrity distribution according to celebrity type, e.g., models prefer animals and fur, and
rock stars, poverty and disaster relief. Finally, there are issues that are devoid of celebrity endorsement,
e.g., liver disease and eating disorders (not shown).

Kudos Richard Rodgers

Oil Spill: Networked Volunteers and Failing to plan for the connected age.

Here is a great riff on the failure of the state planners to be prepared for mass network of volunteers. It is the same situation we are going to see play out again and again in disasters, pandemics and campaigns.

Our strategists have failed to think of the ways distributed volunteers connected can help. They only get one shot at the thousands of people interested in acting.

We often ask in the presentation what would you do with 10,000 people of 10 minutes each? Well here was another one of those the moments. I can not see why any state, governor and federal agency does not have a flexible adaptable mass volunteering management program.

The process would use an adaptable template (to be finely tuned by volunteers in the first hours of a crisis) that would establish communication lines, ad hoc work teams, tasks to be completed, quality control on tasks and feedback and shared traffic analysis in an open system so that volunteers and outsiders can contribute and review overall progress. Team would be screened by volunteers, quality control and debriefing on finished tasks would be done by volunteers. Volunteers would be able to queue up work, help prioritize a queue and check out tasks. Volunteers would be assigned to verify tasks progress and completion. Volunteers would be associated with their own performance. In such a system, redundancy of volunteer effort assures quality ...not screening and checking of infomation by a central staff as a screen on the way in... design a volunteer system that scales and can't become "overloaded" with interest. It will only work in these types of instances but it is the best way to leverage the education, skills, and distributed work power of our culture.
There is only one way to design networked volunteerism and that is a way that grows stronger with each new volunteer.

You think a state fisheries officer ever organized 1500 people to do anything in a day? No. However, the RNC and DNC operatives do that every weekend. Door knocking in Iowa of organizing the field clean up actually have lots of the same logistics. It is rediculous that after 9/11, Katrina, wildfires we are not working more diligently to establish mass volunteer coordination systems.

If you open up the conversation the state agency gets over whelmed....we then ask the network of volunteers to filter incoming emails.

Link: Green Wombat: San Francisco oil spill is a tech disaster.

The masses may be wired but California authorities' disaster response was strictly 1.0, as Green Wombat discovered when he showed up at a meeting on Saturday called by the state Department of Fish and Game to brief would-be volunteers about the oil spill from the Cosco Busan. The container ship hit the Bay Bridge last Wednesday, dumping 58,000 gallons of heavy oil into the water. A couple hundred people crammed a room at the Richmond Marina in the East Bay, spilling outside into the drizzling rain. As the crowd peppered officials with questions about how they could get to work -- a few yards away a dull oily sheen streaked the harbor -- DFG representatives patiently explained that volunteers must first receive training before they can be allowed to handle wildlife or clean beaches covered in a hazardous substance.

"We have to get information from you to place you," said a representative from the DFG's Office of Spill Prevention and Response as paper forms were handed out for volunteers to fill in. They soon ran out of forms -- more than 500 people had shown up at another volunteer meeting held a few hours earlier in San Francisco. Many members of the audience, BlackBerries and Treos in hand, stared in disbelief. Paper?


Twitter in the Wildfires

Networked culture and Public Television in a disaster. This is really good and the kind of thinking more public stations should be thinking about in any context where mainstream media is there to hype the situation by the public need to communicate to each other.

Link: News from the Future of Public Media -- Center for Social Media at American University.

Blogger John Bracken writes about how the area’s public radio affiliate, San Diego State University-based KPBS, turned to Twitter (a free, text-based service using instant message and email updates to rapidly send breaking news to subscribers which, in this instance, numbered over 650 people) and other digital media tools to update the San Diego community after they were forced off the air because of the fires. The radio station revamped its own website, providing interactive maps and other multi-media tools, along with updated audio commentary from reporters and other community members in the field. This not only kept the community updated on developments related to the fires, but also served as an efficient way to direct volunteers to areas needing help and supplies.

The San Diego Union-Tribune’s SignOnSan Diego was another key online player during the fires, using blogs , online forums, and an online photo archive , as well as a people-finder feature to share news within the community while more traditional media outlets like radio, television and print news were impaired by the fires and the resulting road closures.

As tragic as the San Diego fires have been, it is encouraging to observe how quickly online tools pulled the San Diego community together in a time of chaos. Within a matter of hours, it became clear that the reach of Web 2.0 goes beyond Facebook or MySpace. Digital technologies will only increase in their effectiveness as online tools continue to evolve and communities learn more about how to harness these platforms to make truly public media.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words | Sunlight Foundation

Open Earmarks ...Google Where on Earth is my money getting earmarked ....

Link: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words | Sunlight Foundation.

Defense Appropriations Earmarks and made them available for viewing within Google Earth. (You can only view this using Google Earth which you can download from this page.)

And as they say: a picture really is worth a 1,000 words. One of our policy wonks loved the flight simulator that allows you to fly over earmark locations. It allows you to fly your choice of two aircraft anywhere around the globe, with custom layers visible from the aircraft. The simulator is hidden within the latest version of the program, and takes some getting used to controlling, but is certainly an entertaining way to experience the Earth's actual geography-and to educate yourself politically at the same time.

H2O Playlist: About H2O

Link: H2O Playlist: About H2O.

Learn about the philosophy behind H2O in our video: Go With the Flow.

H2O playlists are more than just a cool, sleek technology -- they represent a new way of thinking about education online. An H2O Playlist is a series of links to books, articles, and other materials that collectively explore an idea or set the stage for a course, discussion, or current event.

H2O Playlists make it easy to:

transform traditional syllabi into interactive, global learning tools

share the reading lists of world-renowned scholars, organizations, and cultural leaders

let interested people subscribe to playlist updates and stay current on their fields

promote an exchange of ideas and expertise among professors, students, and researchers

communicate and aggregate knowledge -- online and offline.

So, go on ... check out existing playlists or create your own. You can also read our philosophy behind building this technology

Ill set up a netcentric play list

| Denver OpenMedia : 27 minute show

There are some great overviews in this video. 10,000,000 blog post created everyday. Denver openmedia is thinking of the way public access is getting changed by web2.0. These guys are flipping public access TV to a training people how to use the web and get across the digital divide because then public media is digital. It is a smart plan for public media. They are looking at building the network and community to put the power of the media in the hands of the people.

Advocacy and social change groups need to think about the content form about min 14 to 19. The introduction is interesting but shifting landscape demands we also think about the way to do communication in this media environment. Will our groups eventually be sending out request to volunteers to produce or push 30min shows onto local public access media. You bet.

Link: | Denver OpenMedia.

Description: a half-hour special presentation of a bold new vision for community media. Combining archival footage with interviews and b-roll, Opening Access presents a compelling picture of an emerging model for alternative media that will engage new communities and new voices.

A list worth reading: Convio Recognizes Winners of First Innovator Awards for Nonprofits

It is a little bit of self promotion for Convio but it is also an amazing set of stories of the power good stories and good technology tools being leverages on the web. I like the underdog stories....Meatless Monday doing a great e-newsletter and the start up Trisomy 18 Foundation.

Trisomy 18 Foundation received a notable mention for its Child’s Legacy Support Program. It used Convio’s peer-to-peer Tributes, increasing online monthly donations from $2,000 to $10,000 and doubling its email file in just over 12 months. The organization had an average of 400 new registrants per month, increasing unique Web site visitors from 8,000 to 20,000 in one year

Link: Convio Recognizes Winners of First Innovator Awards for Nonprofits | Convio.

ifteen nonprofit organizations received awards and recognition in eight categories: email communications (newsletters and other email engagement techniques); email list growth; Web site (using Convio CMS or PageBuilder); online fundraising; integrated (online and offline) fundraising; advocacy campaign; use of Web 2.0/peer-to-peer marketing techniques outside of special events (e.g., Convio Tributes, Widgets); and special events fundraising (Convio TeamRaiser™). The awardees were selected from 70 nominations submitted by Convio clients, partners and staff.

"Celebrating our clients' success and results is one of the most important things Convio can do for the community we serve," said Vinay Bhagat, Founder, Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer, Convio, who headed the Innovator Awards committee. "We are delighted to recognize the innovative ways our clients are using Convio software and services to take constituent relationships to new levels."

Smart Mobs » Blog Archive » Assignment Zero: Valuable Lessons

Nice cliff notes form Smartmobs on Assignment Zero lessons. I love the key lesson takes an organizer to make an online organizing system first. I can not believe how many web2.0 companies that want to work with organizing people never include organizers and activists in the short list of folks to test things.

* Assignment Zero Lesson #1: Figure out a way to engage participants as soon as they show up.
"rebuilt each topic page to include social networking features. The relevant editor’s picture and contact e-mail were placed at the top of each page, and each topic area now included a forum. The idea was to make each topic a sort of home page, a community gathering-place. The effect of this reorganization was felt immediately, as contributors could now collaborate openly with each other and review one another’s reporting. This certainly reinforced one of the lessons that was learned from reporting on various crowdsourcing projects: Essentially, it’s all about the community.

This demonstrated another lesson: The community controls the scope and direction of the project. “We had to jettison most of the topics we’d started off with,” says Cohn. “Instead, we concentrated on the topics that people were most clearly interested in.”

* Assignment Zero Lesson #2: Test tools, technology and processes in real world conditions prior to launching project
Another note from the quote above, is that subject matter for AssignmentZero was pre-selected in a mostly top-down way. Consequently, contributors ended up selecting the topics they were interested in, and ignoring those they weren’t. There are some different possible ways this might have been approached in hindsight. Contributors might have been given the opportunity to vote on content choices during the first week or so of the project. Or, group selection by vote on potential content could have been a “phase” of the project, prior to launching the actual writing phase.

* AssingmentZero Lesson #3: Give contributors more direct input and control over the subject matter of content, allowing them to self-select as a group the subjects they are most interested in writing about.

The Machine is US... Movement Organizer Inspiration

The movement is a platform. New organizers need to think about the way to work the machine. How has strategy changed? How are we really thinking of ways off line and online to empower the machine of progress? What have you been rethinking? How does your audience work with you? How does a group of 7 people work differently? What does it mean to break a culture of scarcity and break the limits of organizational units that lobby for progressive social change? How do campaigners and organizers dream big in this new culture?

Great riff by the producer of the video here....

For me, cultural anthropology is a continuous exercise in expanding my mind and my empathy, building primarily from one simple principle: everything is connected. This is true on many levels. First, everything including the environment, technology, economy, social structure, politics, religion, art and more are all interconnected. As I tried to illustrate in the video, this means that a change in one area (such as the way we communicate) can have a profound effect on everything else, including family, love, and our sense of being itself. Second, everything is connected throughout all time, and so as anthropologists we take a very broad view of human history, looking thousands or even millions of years into the past and into the future as well. And finally, all people on the planet are connected. This has always been true environmentally because we share the same planet. Today it is even more true with increasing economic and media globalization.

My friends in Papua New Guinea are experts in relationships and grasp the ways that we are all connected in much more profound ways than we do. They go so far as to suggest that their own health is dependent on strong relations with others. When they get sick they carefully examine their relations with others and try to heal those relations in order to heal their bodies.
In contrast, we tend to emphasize our independence and individuality, failing to realize just how interconnected we are with each other and the rest of the world, and disregarding the health of our relationships with others. This became clear to me when I saw a small boy in a Papua New Guinea village wearing a torn and tattered University of Nebraska sweatshirt, the only item of clothing he owned. The grim reality for me at that moment was that the same village was producing coffee which eventually found its way onto shelves in my hometown in Nebraska, and this boy may never be able to afford to drink the coffee produced in his own village.

So if there is a global village, it is not a very equitable one, and if there is a tragedy of our times, it may be that we are all interconnected but we fail to see it and take care of our relationships with others. For me, the ultimate promise of digital technology is that it might enable us to truly see one another once again and all the ways we are interconnected. It might help us create a truly global view that can spark the kind of empathy we need to create a better world for all of humankind. I’m not being overly utopian and naively saying that the Web will make this happen. In fact, if we don’t understand our digital technology and its effects, it can actually make humans and human needs even more invisible than ever before. But the technology also creates a remarkable opportunity for us to make a profound difference in the world.

Google Presentations: Tell a Story Together: Network Presentations

I am really big into presentations. I like to use them to communicate and interact with an audience. I think many of the presentations nonprofit groups and campaign do stink. I am a huge fan of Andy Goodman and Edward Tufte.

It seemed like the space had not yet really hit any new developments since powerpoint came along. I think most the bullet talk with powerpoint is not really a good thing anyway. However, slides with photos and images to accompany a good story, along with extensive handouts can not be beat as a way to communicate a messages and ideas.

Now Google has launched Google Presentations. Work on them together. Share them with others present them online. VERY COOL. It will change my work.

To start one go to google documents and hit NEW -> PRESENTATION... and you are on your way. Lets see if I can start posting some more of my presentation materials on the blog.

GrandCentral Blog

I have been loving the development in the VOIP space and the workings of Grand Central. We picked the service for a guide we produced over the summer on how to upload user comments to your website.

It is nice to see they are also thinking of the way that the shifts in the access and costs to the communications grid can be a strength for those that have been cut off. Project Homeless provides a voicemail box for homeless and runaways.

Pretty cool project. ... good for Grandcentral.

Link: href="">GrandCentral Blog.

We posted a blog on the main Google blog before the latest Project Homeless Connect event in San Francisco but wanted to give a little more insight here as well now that the event is over. We’ve been attending these PHC events since April of last year and after each event we always come away with a great feeling of really helping somebody. We’ve blogged about it a bunch before, but it can’t be stated enough…to help people get off the streets and into jobs and housing, one of the most important things they need is a real, local telephone number. We’ve heard first hand stories about filling out job applications and having to leave the “phone number” field blank, with the sinking feeling that they would never get the job. Or about counselors who work with runaways and want to give them a number that they can leave messages for them or try to get their families to leave messages for them. At each of these PHC events the Project CARE (Communications and Respect for Everybody) booth is usually one of, if not the, most wanted services and we have always been really happy to be there and are very excited that Google not only wants to continue to support this effort but to expand it nationally. Again, a great program by Mayor Newsom and we’ll always be there to help.

Video Volunteers | Welcome

Creating video volunteers in India to end run both illiteracy and media neglect. Nice. It will be interesting to see what kind of content gets created and how they end up redistributing the content in areas with little download and play capacity.

Link: Video Volunteers | Welcome.

Video Volunteers believes that media can provide marginalized people with a platform for voice and accelerate social change. In collaboration with Drishti Media Collective in Ahmedabad, India, Video Volunteers is working to create a global network of 100s of rural or peri-urban Video Producers who produce and share media across the barriers of illiteracy, poverty and media neglect.

worth keeping an eye on..

Speed Geeking gets to Japan: Pecha Kucha

Link: Seth's Blog.

I love this idea to pieces. I also love the translation on the site (Japanese for "the sound of conversation.")

If you are really and truly having a meeting to discuss something, then the Pecha Kucha approach is brilliant. 20 slides, 20 seconds each. Then the PPT gets turned off.

Tell me a problem that can't be outlined in six minutes and I'll show you a problem it's probably not worth having a meeting about.

Ahh. Gunner and open source folks have been doing this for years... SpeedGeeking and Instructions

Link: Facilitation:SpeedGeeking -

SpeedGeeking first saw the light of day at the AdvocacyDev I SpeedGeeking Session.

A tongue-in-cheek rip off of the speed dating concept, SpeedGeeking offers a fully immersive, invigorating and hilarious approach to meeting people ... and learning about the cool projects, software tools and crazy ideas that they have been working on. At a SpeedGeek, one group of participants sets up at stations around a room to give 5 minute presentations while the rest of the group migrates in a circle around the room to hear these high-speed raps. The result is an obscene amount of fun, all tied up with a good dose of learning about how technology is being used for social change.

Google crowdsourcing Indian maps: good idea to copy at Stephenson blogs on homeland security 2.0 et al.

This is cool. I have been saying the same thing around on other data (wish I could get the million users..hint hint google.) Link: Google crowdsourcing Indian maps: good idea to copy at Stephenson blogs on homeland security 2.0 et al..

…. the local people are the local experts. They’re not surveyors so you can’t really trust their locations, but what’s interesting when you have a few million users, you can do statistical analysis of contributed data. You can get the same thing from different IP addresses over a long period of time, with a high correlation, you can start to believe in it. You can show that with a tentative colour, and have people click on whether they believe it or not and have confirmatory comments. You can actually converge to pretty good data and it has the advantage of, when the road is closed, you can click on that road and say it’s closed today.

Journalism by Phone gets one step easier. Video Share

I expect someone will have a webservice that will grab this video pretty quick and turn distributed journalism to a new level. It will be interesting to see how fast ATT sees folks pick this up. At first glance the video share looks really intereting.

I would assume that we will see an advocacy application of this within three months.

Link: AT&T Video Share.

charged for Video Share minutes. AT&T is not responsible for the content of any live video.

©2007 AT&T Knowledge Ventures. All rights reserved. AT&T, AT&T logo, Cingular and Cingular logos are tra

Birdcinema: New way to build birding community!

how are the groups you are working on lands conservation, birding, habitat conservation posting something visual and compelling out there? Why was a private company vs. big birding groups the first to launch user generated content site like this? This is beautiful. Figure out how to get conservation ads on this site.

I need to dig around on the web and figure out how to hack a channel like this out of youtube or rever functionality integrated with a simple site to create the same effect.

Lakoff at Google 51:minute introduction to his work.

I have always liked the ways George kicks up conversation and thinking about important language and the way audiences hear and process campaigns. In this video, he presents his current thinking on the Google campus.

George describes his job "to make the unconscious conscious and give language to it. We start with the understanding that people all want to make sense and our job is to tease out the undelying moral constructions that enable the arguments to make sense. "

It is then possible for the rest of us to find ways to adjust ourt work to transmit across that undelying structure, run new messages with different outcomes across that same mental pathways. It is our job to find competeing and compelling underlying structures that we can use to move progressive issue campaigns more effectively.

I find him very interesting but difficult to listen to (or read). It is really important to filter through the stuff the talks about that he know little about (political process, national power stuggles, the power of the conservative message machine, etc.etc.) However, It is really great to dig in and find the few and powerful lessons all of us can use. There is so much that he really throws at you (his personal opinions non research findings, current political debates, etc) that it hides what he does know. He really knows language and conitive science and explains it better than anyone else.

I find his points about the following most useful and supported by my experience and other folks I respect (like andy goodman's work on stories.)

* Cognitive pathways and linguistic development structure the way all of us process input.
* we process most information unconsciously.
* the universal ability of reason was the foundation of democracy but the view of the mind in the enlightenment was wrong. Thought is emotional, pure logic is not the way people think.
* the way the brain and body are structured influence the very thoughts we have. Structure dictates thoughts.
* We form the key metaphors we use to make sense of the world all start to get formed and circuits in our heads by the age of 7. Example "adding is up" "decline is down" learned from the way we add water to a glass. There really is no reason that adding up arrow but everywhere that metaphor is reinforced in so many ways.
* Hearing messages enough creates a physical change in the brain. Synapses created become a normal path in the brain.
* Looking back in time in literature, history and political discourse ...the really good metaphors have existed forever and across many cultures.

In the last 16 minutes he gets into the Q&A with the Googlers and it really gets interesting and different from his books and other riffs.

Are the right people listening? Ten years of work where are the ideas being picked up. Senate candidates are picking up better frames. Lakoff takes a small bit of the frames for Tester and Webb. The Wolfblitzer ...CNN ..Barac Obama ...attack the questions. The liberals are starting to get that the questions frames possible outcomes.

In the last five minutes he riffs on windows of opportunity to drive environmentalism, social safety nets and penatrate mega churches. It is worth looking more into his work on these subjects if you work on these areas.

It is great stuff. George contributes to the movement in very unique ways and hopefully, more of the distributed voices out there down message work (all of us) can leverage his gifts. (alpha)

Wow. The folks at FatDoor just built the ward organizer for network-centric decentralized GOTV operations. ...Check it out. Small local groups can emerge and connect. People know this stuff in smaller and more stable communities but in urban areas and highly transitional areas Fatdoor could have an upside for issue organizers.

The core technology is there but they need some field organizers to help them understand the arc of interest, awareness, to conneciton and offline action.

Food for thought....
Link: (alpha).

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Use fatdoor to connect you with neighbors, community groups and events around you!

Anecdote: Why people don't use collaboration tools

Here is a great pile on on thread about collaboration tools ... Are these the right reasons the tools fail? If they are is backward mapping the right way to make them work?

Link: Anecdote: Why people don't use collaboration tools.

When faced with the choice of learning new technology and chatting to colleagues on the phone and email to get a job done, if it can be done with what they already know they will go with that.

Collaboration tools work best when your collaborators are geographically distributed and in other time zones and I wonder how many teams have that as a situation? Sure, globalisation is spreading and small, nimble operators are connecting using these tools, but how many large corporations are active users? I know IBM is and I would imagine technology firms would be at the vanguard. I was surprised however when PriceWaterhouseCoopers consultants arrived in IBM because there were unfamiliar with collaboration tools and disinterested in using them.

It works best when all the collaborators are equally enthusiastic and capable in using the tool. It just takes a handful of influential members of a team to stop using the tool for the tool to be abandoned.

So we want to really backward map these comments and develop a training and roll-out plan that works to counter these forces...

* find people that must work with one another to get the job or task accomplished.
* Help people understand the size and potential of collaboration beyond the team sizes they have worked with in the past.
* Develop communication norms and collaboration skills. Work with initial set of people that are most prone to collaboration and have the skills to do it off line too.
* start collaboration on simple low stress and iteratively done work (don't start with big projects). Projects that build a culture of learning and doing together. (who knows who?, logistics for a meeting, note sharing form events, etc.)
* Use the tools to support existing networks of people that know each other and expand from there.
* Set up a template of the kinds of questions that can regularly keep collaboration moving.
* Help people get familiar with tools and how they are useful.
* Only use easy and proven tools that are easy to learn and use.
* Set up the use of the tools into a situations where the scale and distribution make traditional email and phone coordination not a workable option (like a campaigns to fight injustice, stop global warming, build a peace movement, etc.) Slowly migrate people to use the tools as demand dictates.
* Invest in the process and coaching things along to reap the benefit down the road.

WiserEarth: Wow Nice Site

Here is a site with an amazing amount of network-centric stratgy and tricks baked in. It is still in beta but seem like a really smart set of mashups to support building community.

WiserEarth is a community directory and networking forum for organizations addressing the central issues of our day: climate change, poverty, the environment, peace, water, hunger, social justice, conservation, human rights, and more. Content is created by people like you from around the world

I look forward to seeing how it grows over the next year.

Pew Press Release on Internet Coverage and Use

This is all Pew.

I expect to need to quote and point to these stats again when presenting culture changes to the advocacy community leaders. Unfortunately, our leaders and strategists too often seem to fall in the final 41% (but then again they also usually don't watchTv and know what OMB stands for Office of Management and Budget....)

Food for thought from Pew...

Fully 85% of American adults use the internet or cell phones – and most use both.

8% of adults exploit the connectivity, the capacity for self expression, and the interactivity of modern information technology.

Fully half of adults have a more distant or non-existent relationship to modern information technology.

Some of this diffidence is driven by people’s concerns about information overload; some is related to people’s sense that their gadgets have more capacity than users can master; some is connected to people’s sense that things like blogging and creating home-brew videos for YouTube is not for them; and some is rooted in people’s inability to afford or their unwillingness to buy the gear that would bring them into the digital age.

8% of the adult population – contains long-time and frequent online users who don’t like the extra availability that comes with ICTs.

10% of the population – expresses worries about information overload and doesn’t see ICTs helping their personal productivity.

8% of Americans are by any measure deeply involved with Web 2.0 activities, such as blogging, sharing creations online, or remixing digital content.

8% occasionally take advantage of interactivity, but if they had more experience and connectivity, they might do more. They are late adopters of the internet. Few have high-speed connections at home.

15% have some technology, but it does not play a central role in their daily lives. They like how information technology makes them more available to others and helps them learn new things.

11% indifferent despite having either cell phones or online access, these users find connectivity annoying.

15% with neither cell phones nor internet connectivity tend to be older adults. few of them have computers or digital cameras, but they are content with old media.

The interesting question does not stop there but goes deeper to look at who are the influencers in all age groups and segments of society. Where are the influentials in new markets on these? Do the old people that are "off the grid" often turn to more "wired" peers or younger crowd for information and services. (my mom would self report in the last categories but she turns to all her kids and students as the final sneakernet bridge to connect her to information culture. Conversely, how much do the most active 8% produce "self-expression" content for others that don't fall in that category?

The Long Sunday Mass: Organizers and Blogim Stori (Storytelling Blog)

Here is an interesting thread of insight for organizers who work in "oral cultures" including of us that work in environmental advocacy, worker rights, health, politics and other communities. We have seen the themes of this storytelling blog play out again and again in community meetings across the US.

The "professionals and organizers" want to keep the meeting short and punchy while the "old church ladies" (which includes people that are also young or male) want to gab and gab. They want to tell a story that seems like a crazy ramble. They want to make the audience listen. They can go on and on with an endless story of why they are there. People want to be heard at length and it drives the "professionals" nuts.

This blog post on Blogim Stori is a note of respect for the nonlinear ramblers....Here is a really interesting riff on the redundancy that is a finding from research on story telling in oral cultures.

"Once redundancy characterizes oral thought and speech, it is in a profound sense more natural to thought and speech than is sparse linearity. Sparse linear or analytic thought and speech are artificial creations, structured by the technology of writing.... With writing, the mind is forced into a slowed-down pattern that affords it the opportunity to interfere with and recognize its more normal, redundant processes."

Kudos to Mark and Shawn for the find.

When you are in community meetings the issue people feel and story creation needs time to breathe. The frustration and anger and outrage needs time to "catch fire". The redundancy of local community leaders baffles the "professionals" but in reality they are working in a way that is most wired into the way we learn as a species in oral histories.

I used to wonder why church in Jamaica took 3 hours. The old priest used to say when it takes an hour to walk there and an hour to walk home in the sun it better take more than 20 min for the priest to talk about god. In truth, there may be something deeper about the way summons go "on and on". They are organizing through story telling in oral cultures. The literacy rate is low and audience needs time to index and organize the stories. the audience needs time to redundant telling of the same stories to create mental pathways for the information to stick.

The truth is maybe these great grassroots leaders go on and on because it works and ultimately in oral cultures it is the most efficient way to communicate effectively. Anyway it is a cool thread of paths to explore.