We are in a unique moment of people organizing. At this time, our culture becomes both increasingly tied together and fragmented (danah boyd). Organizers dreamed for years to be able to reach millions of people (YouTube) and they pined for the day thousands of allies could collaborate in synchronizing efforts (Iranelection ish) to agitate for change of culture, industry or policy.
Now we sit in among vast networks of supporters, allies, friendsters and professionals (1000+ at PDF) as committed to our issues as we are, but working together alludes us. change remains just out of reach.
We know much about campaign planning (spitfire strategies) and communications strategy but the underlying alignment mechanisms for marshalling and managing the power in campaigns have shifted beneath our feet (who is momsrising…go Roz!). We are transitioning from an organizational-centric world dominated by good management, ownership, hierarchies and “the firm” to a network-centric world driven by leadership, transparency, reach and sharing (Ny311, government spending dashboard).
Leaders in broadcasting (newspaper) are being replaced by those focused on creating connections (craigslist). Both will always exist, but there is no doubt networks and network organizing represents a transformative trend.
Today, as movements organize they need a mix of both traditional campaign and communications strategy coupled with network strategy. (Obama)
Experience demonstrates that these strategies are less effective without complementing each other. (Gates on education ) The interplay of campaign, communications and network capacities influence the planning implementation and success of each.
Coalitions, collections of groups, and crowds of people often lack the clear vision, campaign objectives and communications plans (PDF…although Sunlight stuff is a nice direction) that help identify the critical networks for further engagement, direction and collaboration. However, even when like minded and allied leaders can agree to connect and collaborate without a unified vision the emergent networks rarely develop the functionally collaborating infrastructure (Green Group) so that the participants can self-organize a clear vision, campaign objectives and subsequently develop campaign and communications plans.
In both scenarios, the coalition without clear objectives and the campaign without the functional network, basic levels of network infrastructure are needed to move forward. However, time after time organizers get stuck with little budget and no plan to solve the fundamental dysfunction in the networks the campaign depends on to achieve success.
The lack of budget and plan stems from a mix of both planning and management issues. There is often an unspoken lack of trust of the base and an unwillingness to trust allies. Yet, there is little investment in the systems that would build performance of far flung collaborative team ( fostering trust in the base).
Organizers that don't trust people to be as committed as themselves therefore design processes to get mild users to support the most committed rather than to actually engage and work effectively with the many-many-many less committed activists. There is a lack of diversity in the "committed base" and most effort is focused on recruiting a more diverse set of people into the same mindset rather than diversifying the agenda and the definition of what the movement is committed to achieve. Many leaders are oddly proud to be disconnected from trends in culture, communication and technology.(not at PDF)
The combined effects of these management biases and systemic gaps create a mess and complete lack of alignment between objectives, organizing, revenue plans, budgets, vision, communications, network organizing and technology plans. The resulting tossed salad of tech tools duct taped onto an organizing effort with no intention of listening, learning, serving and adapting makes a mockery of bottoms-up ownership. (thinking PickensPlan Ning)
On the planning side, many groups have even acknowledged that they are now entering a phase of network building, “taking a network approach” or that they are dependent on networks to create change but when pushed they have no framework for even discussing why, how or what are the elements that make an advocacy network functional.
Unfortunately, groups have no process or limited capacity to identify these conflicts and gaps. As organizers, they have limited experience bridging bottoms up discussions with mangers, funders, planners. Their is not enough circulation of the stories and theories of change that could realign the policy, network and communications activities.
Organizers and tech builders don’t have the materials, work process to help staff better understand organizing in the age connectivity and what is developed by foundations is disregarded and by consultants is trademarked.
We can look at all the pretty tools and see all the activity (online and off) but until the network builders and technologists explain the shift in logic that occurs to more of the organizers embedded across our movement most of us agitating for change will remain as we were only with better websites.
I had a blast in NYC at PDF. It was great to take time to step back and look at the broader trends and the ways those trends influence work at Green Media Toolshed and the training I do with Netcentric Campaigns. These events like PDF make me realize how fast the technology is moving in shifting the logic and thinking of the technology leaders and the gap that is emerging between that edge and traditional organizers and current leaders of organizations.
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...
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.
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.
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.
I”ll be there. It is always a great event.
A PR Conference for Progressives
Some of America’s best progressive PR practitioners are gathering for two days of panels, practical workshops, networking, and fun.
Officials from giant corporations meet all the time to share their latest and greatest media relations strategies. This is our turn. It’s the only national conference of its kind in the country.
After the conference ends on Friday afternoon, stick around for a weekend in the Colorado high country. President's Day on Monday, Jan. 25, gives you an extra day to have fun in Colorado.
This is a really good presentation. Nancy provides a quick overview of strategy, tips and guides that I have picked up giving hundreds of presentation. It is really solid. If you need to do presentations on a regular basis I would strongly recommend this.
Nancy Duarte, principal of Duarte Design and one of the guru’s behind Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth presentation , took over 135 people through her advice & thoughts on how to create powerful presentations.
You’re in luck! We’ve packaged it up and posted it below for viewing at your leisure.
This is interesting. Google Flu tracks symptom searches for flu and normalizes it over all searches. Google Flu shows past years too.
The entire US curve is still pretty consistent with past years.
Mexico is showing an uptick that is different from other years.
Texas is showing the same trend as Mexico.
Here is the campaign and lobby tool for group of collaborators working on a project. I am trying to hack out some case studies of people that are using it for advocacy please let me know if you have a story to share.
Group message broadcasting for Twitter
Problem: Malcolm, Zoe, Kaylee, Simon, and River all work together on the same web development team. They are avid Twitter users and want a similar way to broadcast quick messages and updates to everyone on their team. Since these messages may contain confidential information, the team doesn't want them published to their public Twitter timelines or to any followers who are not part of the team.
Solution: GroupTweet allows Malcolm and the gang to send messages via Twitter that are instantly broadcasted privately to only the team members.
I continue to enjoy global guerrillas is brilliant, jumping off point for organizing my thoughts about what needs to happen in advocacy movements and campaigns.
This riff that he picked up from Jamais Cascio is exactly the kind of logic that we need to apply to our issue movements.
Resilience means the capacity of an entity--such as a person, an institution, or a system--to withstand sudden, unexpected shocks, and (ideally) to be capable of recovering quickly afterwards. Resilience implies both strength and flexibility; a resilient structure would bend, but would be hard to break.
How does an issue movement or network of advocates build resiliency? What are the investments that truly create strength, flexibility and a resilient structure that would be bend but be hard to break?
In our work, we tried to be very deliberate and intentional in prioritizing investments in capacity that in some ways are independent of the person, institution, or system. But by thinking this way we are hedging against shock and surprise (which when you step back should never be shocking or surprising ). The framework that we have developed focuses on investments in
Additionally, every time we look at a network. We can use this framework to pass the right kinds of questions and tease out an understanding of what's missing and what components are preventing the network from becoming more highly resilient and functional.
Here is a great riff by Brooks spelling out the case for a network-centric approach to building response systems to mange change in the 21st century. It is the same uncertainty and need for experimentation that makes the case for netcentric change organizing.
the decentralized approach has coped reasonably well with uncertainty. It is clear from the response, so far, that there is an informal network of scientists who have met over the years and come to certain shared understandings about things like quarantining and rates of infection. It is also clear that there is a ton they don’t understand.
A single global response would produce a uniform approach. A decentralized response fosters experimentation.
The bottom line is that the swine flu crisis is two emergent problems piled on top of one another. At bottom, there is the dynamic network of the outbreak. It is fueled by complex feedback loops consisting of the virus itself, human mobility to spread it and environmental factors to make it potent. On top, there is the psychology of fear caused by the disease. It emerges from rumors, news reports, Tweets and expert warnings.
The correct response to these dynamic, decentralized, emergent problems is to create dynamic, decentralized, emergent authorities: chains of local officials, state agencies, national governments and international bodies that are as flexible as the problem itself.
Swine flu isn’t only a health emergency. It’s a test for how we’re going to organize the 21st century. Subsidiarity works best.
Here is a "cloud view" of my twitter followers. The bigger words mean that more people have used that word in their profiles. I don't have lots of followers (which is probably a good thing as it keeps me from getting nutty over crafting things) but I like to see that people that "follow" my tweets are probably really in line with most of the stuff I point at or kick out.
So things to do…
Screen clipping taken: 4/28/2009, 12:02 AM
This looked pretty interesting.
This company called COTWEET ( twitter tool for companies) offered beta users access to its services. (I currently use www.Hootsuite.com) . While beta services are not impressive, Cotweet also offered users the opportunity to join a “cohort”. (See below).
It looks like participants in the cohort are going to be facilitated through a discussion of the product, and product use on a regular basis so that they can provide each other with tips and tricks. The company learns as the customers learn. Cotweet gets credit for connecting their users into a peer-to-peer network and taking advantage of the energy around twitter.
I can’t imagine a similar model working in all products (TurboTax cohort anyone?) . But when there is a pent-up demand and new “open ground” no experts or right or wrong answers (such as in the social marketing space) this cohort idea seems like it's going to be an effective additional customer service.
I have signed up to be a part of a cohort so that I can better understand Jerry's methodology. I also want to see how different our experiences in the nonprofit sector, compared to some of these big corporate clients.
The CoTweet Cohort allows participants to share knowledge, experiences and ideas about the effective use of social media among themselves through bi-monthly conference calls and an online forum for ongoing communications. The cohort will also provide ideas for future development of the CoTweet platform.
The CoTweet Cohort will be facilitated by Jerry Michalski, a highly respected technology consultant. Based in San Francisco, Michalski is a member of CoTweet’s Advisory board.
According to Jerry, “Twitter offers companies a brand new way to connect that’s not as expensive as a call center, as indirect as a blog or as opaque to the world as CRM systems are. Tweets happen in public. But as traffic increases, employees can step on one another’s toes, confusing customers. CoTweet is designed to prevent that, creating a smooth experience on both sides. This Cohort is where we’ll fine-tune that process.”
In theory, I would love to organize a customer-service cohort around Green Media Toolshed or the work that we do with any of our other campaigns or clients.
Would GMT’s communications people join a cohort on pitching bloggers? Or reaching out to journalists?
Here is an interesting documentation from politics online that demonstrates the bridge role twitter plays in moving communication across channels, social networks and national boundaries.
We now have a global communication grid that connects the spaces of web and street as never before we have crossed the phone and internet gaps. Access to these lines and communities are not just in the hands of programmers and the most techy folks.
The activists guide to twitter is not about connecting people to people, getting followers ro following indeed many people that tuned into the #pman didn't know each other.
Activists will find twitter # as the open integrated communication channel. .
messages and to promote the Youtube clips. Facebook pictures started to emerge and
press agencies noticed the protests and their online reflections. Messages to press
agencies got through and one by one, Reuters, BBC, AlJazeera, Deustche Welle and
Romanian Mediafax, NewsIn and MediaPro covered the events. Calls to CNN remained
unanswered. Outside, Internet users and press agencies managed to show to the public what was
happening. In, and especially in the blockaded town of Chisinau, information is being
gradually censored by shutting down the access to Internet, the cell phone networks and
restricting the move on the roads, entering the city or the republic.
Some analysts compared the events from to the Romanian 1989 Revolution, which was
transmitted live on TV. The Moldova movements where called Revolution 2.0, and whether
they will have a good outcome or not, it is clear the what was sparked by SMS,
continued on Twitter, Youtube and Facebook , and is now changing politics in the small
This is another absolutely beautiful example of networks connecting. I love the ideas of Microfinance, now morphing into a microjustice movement.
They share big but not insurmountable upfront costs. They share connections with others (via the micro program to others that solving the problem is trivial. They share a capacity to have the beneficiary monitored cheaply ( via the internet) and repay the investment over time based on success.
What else can we expect to see….Microteaching, microhealthcare, micromovement building, microvolunteering, microcopyediting, microinternet development, microjobplacement…
When she started Microjustice Bolivia, Van Nispen tot Sevenaer worked with Anne Marie van Swinderen, a microfinance consultant with Triodos Facet, a large microfinance organization associated with Triodos Bank, an ethical financial institution based in the Netherlands. “The similarity between microjustice and microfinance is largely a way of thinking,” Van Swinderen says, “to not look at poor people as victims. Just to be very businesslike serves them much better than to always treat them like poor people who need support. Almost all development programs create a dependency that is not so desirable.”
The Microjustice Initiative may still be small but its approach reflects a big change in the way non-governmental organizations think about poverty, law and development. In the past, policymakers tried to improve legal systems in developing nations by working with national governments on court reform. Now, many say it’s also necessary to empower people directly at the grassroots level. Even the UN is taking note. In 2005, it hosted the Commission for the Legal Empowerment of the Poor, which found that more than 4 billion people live outside the legal framework of the modern state. Without effective legal protection, these people are vulnerable to losing their property, small businesses or income from labor, and remaining trapped in poverty. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is sponsoring microjustice-like projects in 10 countries to address the legal needs of the poor.
Here is another interesting introduction to shift that communicaitons technology is creating.
This is worth reading the entire post and thinking about the impact of social media on events and conferences. A way to think about twitter is like a CB channel at an event. Everyone has a radio and the universal channel enables all the participants to comment, talk, ask questions and coordinate activity before, during and after an event. Will this change conferences? … YES.
I joined coworkers in our “War Room” (conference room) to view the PPT on our large plasma screen (ASAE chose not to use the webinar portion), interact with the live chat, listen to the audio on the conference phone and talk with one another during the presentation. Many of us brought our mobile devices too so we could answer email, chat and send tweets as needed. This was a familiar setting and situation, as I plan similar events for our own members.
Once the conference began, the dynamics in the room were amazing: we were listening to the presentation, debriefing comments as they were being said, typing in the live chat and sending tweets. Those walking by our War Room saw a frenzied team in hyper-overdrive, on high alert, working and talking at once.
On day one, we sat through two painful presentations: one very disorganized and one with some inaccurate and outdated information. Both of these presentations dealt with low-cost or free technology strategies and web tools.
On day two, we decided to turn to the Twittersphere to see if other social media mavens and gurus agreed with what ASAE was presenting. As we tweeted ASAE positions or statements, the Twitter and social media pros began to respond to us with facts, data, reports and articles contradicting what ASAE had said. Some of their responses were:
- @ replies (replies directly to us) or
- DM (private direct text messages).
- And some were RT (retweets) where I reposted their tweet to the entire Twittersphere.
I have been working a bit lately on the ideas around the "new recovery" for the "new depression." How are we going to make this recovery quicker? How will it be different? Please come over and join the conversation.
After tweaking and refining over the last several weeks, I finally believe I have a system of software and web services figured out that support me in my work to connect with peers, scan the web and react and publish my thoughts/reaction to the conversation. etc.
About me. I do not write code. I don’t know how to operate a tar ball. I want things easy and out of the way. This entire package is a few dollars a month for typepad (hosts this blog ). I tend to work long hours and spend a bit of my nights scanning the online space. I don’t mind putting the time in to set up each of these because they pay off pretty well. I have a Vista laptop with all Office 2007 tools and an Iphone.
I am an Executive Director at a nonprofit organization a part of my job and work consists of;
As a network and organizer, my instinct is to leverage a vast and far flung collection of people accelerate my learning, broaden my view and deepen my thinking. I need to keep my ear to the web.
I am not interested in web traffic. I don’t do this for ad revenue. I am mostly interested in more fully developing my thoughts. I am interested in getting things done in campaigns. I am interested in providing our partners and clients with a really solid understanding of what is going on across the online organizing space.
Additionally, my online activity is a bit “social”. I am interested in sharing information with a small group of friends, peers and coworkers in the progressive movement. I am interested in conversation. I do some of my reading and reacting to stay in touch benefit from, and help my friends.
I don’t want it to take more than an hour or two to scan, grab, kick around, react and publish.
I love to meet people for coffee. I spend 40%-60% of my day in meetings or on the phone with people. I love the value and richness of face to face and phone conversations. Phone calls are the best for me but if I have time to tune in and kick updates around with peers I don’t like the demand that email correspondence puts on us for social interaction. I feel really bad when I can’t reply to someone's email. I also no longer feel comfortable sending random update email to friends trying to get us all caught up. In addition to my email, I stay in touch by communicating via
This is the next evolution to organizing. We see this "honest signals" in our advocacy work everyday. We now are getting to the point that the feedback on networks is going to enable us to get smarter and adopt quicker on the ways we engage and lead. I am a new fan of Sandy Pentland
Ok, I am not sure why that song is in my head but i just finished a survey set up by Andy Goodman.
I realized as I wrote my responses how few of the webinars I attend suck because of technology. (I use dim-dim, webex and Adobe connect). I also use skype for small groups and have been turning video on more often.
The good webinars are driven by the same "good things" as meetings. Just because the travel is cheaper DOES NOT mean the meetings will be better or worse.
The great thing about this survey is that if you fill it out ...you get the results. Here is the survey link
Andy also sent an email to promote the survey....
Give us 10 minutes (and save yourself from hours of boredom)
If you’ll take a new survey on teleconferences, videoconferences and webinars, you’ll receive a full report on what works, what doesn’t and why. (A link to the survey is below.) Here’s the scoop:
Given the current economic climate, everyone’s looking for ways to cut costs and work smarter. And that means more organizations may turn to teleconferences, videoconferences and webinars instead of in-person meetings. Makes sense in theory, but will this really be a good thing?
You’ve probably endured enough badly-run “long distance meetings” to agree that these can be serious time-wasters. On the other hand, there are some organizations that are learning how to master these technologies. Our colleague Andy Goodman (author of Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes) wants to find and share those best practices (as well as the common mistakes we should all avoid), but first he needs your help.
His online survey takes only about 10 minutes to complete, and in return for your time, he’ll send you a complete report with all the results in April. So give him just a few minutes now, and hopefully he can save you from countless boring hours in the months to come!
We all really need these webinars to be an important backbone for collaboration and meeting. I strongly recommend you take the survey. ( let me know what song gets stuck in your head. )
I like this overview. We do some of this in Demystifying the Web presentations.
I use different tools (blog,rss,google reader,listsenves) but the logic behind it is good. You let the network filter and clean the web for what is important to you. Small groups filter and discuss. (I let the indicaiton of discussion tell me something is interesting.) I focus my "filter value" on the networks issues.
I also like the technique at the end for Q&A. He turns to the video and then answers questions.
As powershift is in town. They are going to be one of the more connected movements to organize on the Capital that I have seen. Here is just a little summary of the ways these 11,000 activists are going to swarm together. Here is an interesting step-by-step for how people can plug in.
The 140 character updates you will be able to watch on the projection on site or on the Power Shift ’09 website will be coming from observers both at the youth climate summit and remote commentators via the internet. The fast growing service Twitter.com, which should reach 1 million users by March 1, allows for the sharing of observations as well as conversation between users using event tags such as “#powershift09” or by referencing another user such as “@powershift09” in your posts or “tweets”. Consequently, by simply “tagging” your thoughts or observations with a hashtag (#powershift09) a post becomes searchable for somebody trying to find out what people are saying about Power Shift on Twitter.
However, Twitter is only one component of how the conference will be integrated virtually for people who were not able to make the trip physically. For example, the keynote addresses will be streamed live for people to watch over the internet. Then people will be able to comment either via Twitter or discuss more deeply through the Discussion section of the Power Shift Facebook Fan Page. In addition, through the photo-sharing service Flickr.com, attendees will be able upload pictures to their Flickr accounts, tag them with “powershift09”, and then they will cycled through public projections at the conference and through a Flickr application on our Facebook Fan Page.
So just remember to tag your photos and tweets and you too can be part of the conversation: #powershift09.
Here is a really nice “get local” set of tools for climate organizing via 1sky. They are pushing the power to the edge.
Donor’s Choose is opening a money pipeline into the classrooms in SC. teachers in these classes want beanbag chairs, rugs for cozy corners for reading, prewriting sets for kids with motor skill problems, etc. Teacher requests directly from SC classrooms.
By Katie Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 5:44pm
If you were watching President Obama’s address to Congress last night, Ty’Sheoma Bethea probably stole your heart, like she stole ours. The eight-grader from Dillon, South Carolina was in attendance because of the letter she wrote to Congress, about her school’s terrible condition.
Ty’Sheoma wrote, “As you know, we have a lot of problems with our school. President Obama has visit our school and were able to see why we should need a new school. Some of the promblems are, we can not afford anything so we can not go on school trips or do school activities unlike other schools…”
She concluded her letter with, “We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congress men like yourself and one day president….” To make a difference in high-poverty South Carolina classrooms like Ty’Sheoma’s, you can start here.
All the best,
Katie & Alex
Watching the speech tonight, I was so moved by the story of Ty'Sheoma Bethea. I wanted the President to tell her story and end it with the resolve to make build the school first. (Shovel Ready this week).
I also feel like well maybe the point is not to wait for the President to do it but to see the people he inspires knock this one off. (I am still looking for a donate page somewhere that moves money into the school and the students).
After, all that. She had better have the school fixed.
This is interesting. Instead of offing $25 for a newsletter could groups offer Iphone apps of custom feeds on an issue? the model would be to pull a bunch of really great feeds (video, issue briefings, chat) and actions together onto one app that users download (and pay for as a donation). Speaking of which, has any group ever offered a briefing, coverage of a rally, etc. as a downloadable Itune to raise money?
Kyte, the catch-all site for video production, creation, and distribution via Web or mobile phone, has been avidly working behind the scenes to further their monetization opportunities and boost their celebrity content. The site, which has been building up its base of celebrity users and experimenting with in-show overlay advertising, is now moving into bluer oceans. Today, Kyte is announcing the launch of an iPhone application framework that lets partners create and deploy their own fully branded, media-rich iPhone apps in about a week.
I hope my kids never see it. Otherwise, I will be building one of these someday.
This is like something out of a movie. It would totally freak me out if I ran into one of these on a hike (can you say alien?)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Now you see it - now you don't Architects use reflective materials to defend high-rises because the surfaces reflect the sky and blend in. Okay. Swedish design firm Tham & Videgard Hansson Arkitekter used the same principle to create a treehouse that truly blends into it's environment. They say it minimizes impact on the immediate surroundings. I say ultra cool woodland wetdream of the midwest xenophobe survivalist who crave the minimalist flare of contemporary Swedish architecture and interior design.
Networking the flower people to report buds and flower changes to document global warming. This is Distributed Flower research (do i hear an Iphone app?) Network research not targeting Mars (clickworkers) or birds 11,000,000 (birdcount)
2) Describe the site where your plant is located. This includes finding the latitude and longitude of your site.
4) Begin observations (before expected time of budding or flowering)!
5) Report your observations online.
Register online with Project BudBurst to save your observation sites and plants that you are monitoring throughout this year and for coming years. This allows you to report the phenological events as they occur each week!
Network Rules for Radicals.... I have been cooking ideas of how to mashup the Rules for Radicals and network-centric advocacy for a few years. The puzzle lies in front of us "the rules" are scattered on one side of the desk and papers the "network attributes and components" are on the laptop sitting on the other side of the desk.
I find myself struggling to combine and remix Alinsky rules to contexts that bridge transnational organizing, extreme poverty, new social networks and digital culture. The scale of connectivity and tempo of life, campaigning, attention cycles and change are different today but the core levers of power are based on the same principals Alinsky teased out over a life time of hell raising.
I look at "the rules", the network culture, the most modern warfare strategy and the traditional gurus that struggle to create our modern movement of NGO's and I can not yet make them meet.
How do we best help the powerless and pissed be creative find power and voice to demand change. Where do our legacy organizing power meet todays disenfranchised? where is the powerful connective tissue between networks of people? It is not just the churches Alinsky organized but in hidden dark matter of our social space.
Where does the modern body politic connect? How do folks polarize in a world that refuses walls?
When does the new technology and professionalism serve to keep us in "our expertise and not our enemy" and when does it alinate and scare the very base we need to organize? What does constant pressure look like in the world of ADD? This clip may be the first link... Link: Alinsky.
In the closing chapter of Rules for Radicals, he calls upon radicals to "return to the suburban scene...with its PTA's, League of Women Voters, consumer groups, churches, and clubs. Search out the leaders...identify their major issues, find areas of common agreement, and excite their imagination with tactics that can introduce drama and adventure into the tedium of middle-class life."
Many of the 600 posts here are snippits that find the drama and adventure of change and genuinely connect the participants into the struggle. Netcentric campaigns are not point and clicktivism.
This is not make a donation activism ...new strategy is about leaning into the network of people tied together by billions of investments in communications, internet and transportation and asking them to meet, asking them to talk, asking them to participate and lead.
This new organizing in the age of connectivity is about the fear of power that is not pre-assembled but about projecting the fear that power can be built on the fly. This is about youtube ridicule that is fun and viral. This is about making transparent the rules that they must abide by as well as their mistakes being public at a level that Alinsky could not imagine in the 60's and 70s.
There are still strategy struggles before we write the network for radicals guide but we can see the future and I am curious to see how we can build the new movement for peace, new economy, new justice and new healthy planet. peeks at the stories that say there is something new out there... building health networks (here) (here) connecting the homeless The fear of power on the fly (how can you reach half a million people) Staying power of fun campaigns ....The connections between old and new strategy are there. New strategy in a new culture with similar core threats.
I love this site in just 10 seconds I get a snap shot of all the words on the congressional record for the day. This is all the speeches, bills and who is talking about them.
What does this image tell you in a glance?
1. It looks like California and Texas are discussing jobs and economy. It looks like the states in the middle are pretty quite (are the GOP members not active in the committees?)
IBM is on to some really brilliant network thinking. They are zeroing in on the feedback mechanisms that make all network able to grow smarter. They are pushing the new energy grid, new health care and new supply chains. It is exactly this kind of approach that will make a big difference in our movements. We need to be offering the feedback that makes our movement grow smarter (search terms, sign ups, click thru rates, donation success, distribution rates, GOTV, etc. ) we need ways to visualize summaries of massive amounts of activity (www.capitalwords.org) (foreclosure heat) We need to understand our collective sensors and work to refine, standardize sharing (congressional heat index) .
We see an emerging set of this information in twitter apps and facebook apps that analyze your personal networks, Rapleaf, Raidian6 and Morningside-Analytics our job as advocacy and campaign planners is to first daylight the information, visualize it and then discover the new kinds of knowledge we need to run better, larger and more effective campaigns without centralized management.
Strategically, the study notes that:
“Building this kind of [smarter] supply chain is a strategic undertaking; it implies a different role and set of responsibilities for supply chain executives. These executives must become strategic thinkers, collaborators and orchestrators.”
What will make these webs of production and distribution smarter? Different kinds of sensors and information technologies will make supply networks more instrumented and interconnected. But what’s ultimately required are the analytical resources to extract new, actionable intelligence from such complex systems. What kind of new intelligence do we mean, and what actually is new about it?
“New intelligence” will flow from advanced computing techniques and expertise that can reveal insight from rivers of real-time information. Innovations in data visualization, predictive modeling and simulation software will make new kinds of knowledge possible, and lead to more evidence-based decision making.
Picking up on a riff from yesterday. I have been thinking about the issue of serving the unemployed and reconnecting the economy after the financial system reboots.How is this recovery going to be different from 1930's?
Unemployment benefits should be bundled with 12 months of Internet access. It is part of the investment in the transitioning worker. It is a critical part of the modern "safety net". It will create jobs.
Why should we do this?
I am not an economics guy. Most of what i am picking up on the economic recovery planning comes from the Washington Post, online outlets, blogs, frontline and the random cable news chatter.
So there are definitely, circles of serious people running a different conversation about the recovery which I am not a part of. However, in everything I read and hear there is no talk about the role of networks in the recovery.
The vision I am struggling with is how our global network can quickly reconfigure and workaround problems.
It seems as the economic modeling for recovery and growth are running off models developed in the great depression (3 to 5 years of slow 2% growth) and the many economic down turns since. Those models are wrong.
I think everyone (including Greenspan, Paulson, Bernanke and all the most minds of Wall Street ) did not see this global economy unraveling so fast. They all knew there was some BS going on and that we were in for a “pop” but the scope and speed of this crash has caught everyone by surprise.
This depression and the crash have been accelerated by the connectivity and interdependence of humanity (it all lost balance in early 2008 (oil, food, then money). We can see that now but few predicted it (AIG) (Lehman Brothers).
Some articles I have seen, talk about the crash not as a run on the bank (30s) or a crash of production (70s) but a run on the network.
In September and October, the banks and everyone else just freaked out at the complexity of the system and “pulled out the trust”. I write more on the cascading failure of the economy here but my thought patterns are not just focused on the crash. I am trying to figure out how this network gets rewired.
If the crash did not follow models, why do we think the economic recovery models follow traditional recovery trajectories?
In the networked age shouldn't trust, hope, confidence travel just as fast as the crash?
I am not talking about some new business, or new innovation. I am thinking that once the basics of the economy are fixed can’t we expect the global network to roar back to life. The complexity and interconnectedness of our economy still has an upside.
The connections of world economy have already been built. They are now "empty" of commerce and capital. These networks are in some places "breaking down" as companies fold BUT the logistics chains, relationships and networks of people are "weak ties" they should be cheap to maintain (for example if you and I worked in different parts of the world for the same company and got canned tomorrow, we could rebuild our ties and reconnect much cheaper than in the past (70's, 30s). (DHL Alumni as an example) How do we agitate the network channels to strengthen and stay connected even though the commerce function is temporarily dead?
The finance system is broken but I also think there is another scenario ( a positive black swan) that accelerates our adaptability to this crisis on orders of magnitude of difference from previous depressions and recessions.
If it is possible to fire up and jumpstart the network again then a stimulus plan needs to focus on that network effect.
The stimulus package can't just focus on the jobs...(network actors) or the finance (pumping currency into the old pipelines) the right model needs to target creating and fostering the connectivity of the network so as the engines start again the entire network flashes to life. In these times, we should invest in the capacity to help workers stay connected ((internet connections, $39 webbook and free online training as part of unemployment benefits?)
I am mostly interested in making sure that recovery/stimulus/philanthropy/management efforts acknowledge the huge roll network infrastucture can play in pulling out of this tailspin and that somebody think on the macro scale how to charge up the network to deliver the acceleration that was not available in 30's and 70' etc.
No previous collapse had the internet as a cultural infrastructure for working around challenges. In the past, we needed business firms and government agencies to work around the challenges and reorganize production.
We no longer need that. We need ways to help the disconnected get better connected. We need pools of money for adhoc teams to create products. We need to invest in consistent reweaving of workers and laid off workers so they can reboot their own production of services of value (another example laidoffcamp.org )
We may likely crash and be stuck in a long and deep economic depression (then go to the wiki on nonprofit Plans for the economic crisis) OR lets assume there is hope out there and start to figure out the recovery with a little network assist or network boost. Creating a “surprise at the speed” the entire economy rebooted.
To do that, we are going to need leaders to really think about the network framework and the roll it can play in enabling the network of global humanity to work around the nonsense in the financial system. We are going to need aggressive sharing of government services and a willingness of government and businesses to focus on sustaining collaborative capacity of others as part of their own survival strategy.
This is one of the blog posts that seems like it needs weeks more work to end properly but i just got to get back to sleep.
Beautiful project. Beautiful process. The answer is in the question. Definitely, worth watching.
I love the stripping down process. One background. One purpose.
Screen clipping taken: 2/18/2009, 3:14 PM
Laid Off Camp - Bottom up response to the Economic Crisis
San Francisco March 3rd. This looks like an interesting model for keeping the opportunities , networking and support flowing across a community of people that have been laid off. Finally, a scalable solution that is not dependent on sponsors and government offices planning sessions, dictating what gets discussed or controlling the outcomes. The Laidoffcamp is a good idea. I hope it takes off and becomes a valuable tool in helping communities organize in response to the economic crisis.
Screen clipping taken: 2/18/2009, 7:26 AM
This is a rich conversation.
Leadbeater and Shirky kick around the demand for network production tools. As it starts, I can’t tell if they feel like the main part of the equation is “figured out” and they are struggling with the technology questions or if they are still seeing this as an organizers and campaigners challenge. They ultimately focus on the people and the network.
I enjoy Clay’s “check these boxes” riff and you will succeed doesn’t work with this type of network building issues.
Not surprisingly, it is often the types of questions that drive my thinking and work at www.netcentriccampaigns.org We know how to set up the elements of an advocacy network. We know what approaches and leadership will kill network formation.
Somewhere, at the heart of network power is the redundancy in leadership and service. You build a network approach to create and encourage the creative experimentation. By design of the network as an instrument you are embracing a diversifying model of leadership which means that we can not predict exactly what the outcomes will be. At the same moment you want to control that leadership, there is no way to technically wrestle with those competing interests.
Building networks is THE opportunity of our moment because of this uncontrollable potential upside to organizers.
The challenge is an organizing challenge because it is about attracting the right people who in all likelihood will do the right kinds of things that you will support within the range of likely outcomes. We have movements that have attracted these people but they have little or no network capacity to share, collaborate or act collectively (again CShirky). They are a base with no operational capacity. They are a group with a common language and aligned visions but with little way to exercise their will. From an organizers perspective they are ripe for action as organizers we need to develop process (building a network action plan) that wires the base together and supports these aligned people in creating change.
It would be interesting to see one of these cranked up among the progressive advocacy movement for running mapping, GIS, voter file, blogosphere analysis, voice to text recognition, campaign modeling. etc. Who knows maybe we can even use distributed networks to support VOIP, SMS, campaign emailing and emergency activation phone trees.
We may not need tens of thousands of those computers like the Proteome Folding project but I am sure there are many projects at the network scale that our movement is paying through the nose for.
What kinds of projects do you avoid because the computing costs are too expensive?
How Grid Computing Works
Grid computing joins together many individual computers, creating a large system with massive computational power that far surpasses the power of a handful of supercomputers. Because the work is split into small pieces that can be processed simultaneously, research time is reduced from years to months. The technology is also more cost-effective, enabling better use of critical funds.
Changing Our World Now
Grid computing is not a futuristic technology. World Community Grid is at work right now applying this technology to exciting research projects that can benefit us all.
Our first project, Human Proteome Folding, is identifying the proteins produced by human genes. With this information, scientists can understand how defects in proteins can cause disease, making it easier to find cures.
In 2003, with grid computing, in less than three months scientists identified 44 potential treatments to fight the deadly smallpox disease. Without the grid, the work would have taken more than one year to complete.
This post got me thinking….
How do I find out which of my missionary prospects has the "right stuff"? Until we have a scoring model that can pre-identfy these folks in a donor file (something our partner DonorTrends is working on) I guess there’s no substitute … I have to ask or "test" them!
So, I’d come up with a simple missionary request for my prospects (actually, a few requests over time to really probe my prospect pool) … something that involved outreach — such as passing along a message or sending in a prospect name. The donors who responded would be my missionaries. …I’d then attempt to "graduate" them to some explicit donor-to-friend fundraising promotion. I’d conduct as much of this program online as possible, using the latest viral marketing and social networking tools. And I’d create a recognition program to keep my missionaries motivated.
This is good but I think most groups are missing the deep outreach to new members. The people likely to be “missionaries” are the “sneezers” which has more to do with the rank in a social group, the topic area and personality type. In “grapevine” there was talk that it is the new members that are your most likely evangelist. They just “found you” and eager to tell friends of the “new experience”. Social marketing is not about donors and loyalty. It is about buzz. i don’t think the process outlined really gets at the evagelism you seek.
I would start mining the data of new people that arrive. Focus on the tools and behavior that the new people engage in and and make sure they have the tools they need to “invite” friedns and keep confident that connecting with your cause or group was a great idea.
Focus on launching services to as existing base and see how they pick up and open issues and then see if i could get them to perform. I would focus more resources on the “new customers” that are just coming to you for whatever reason and understand why your group is attractive in the current context. Getting old members that joined 5 years ago to give you a few nnames is fine but I don’t think it is going to be the approach that will give you the best ROI.
This pattern suggests that Americans should brace for a coming swarm. Right now, most of our cities would be as hard-pressed as Mumbai was to deal with several simultaneous attacks. Our elite federal and military counterterrorist units would most likely find their responses slowed, to varying degrees, by distance and the need to clarify jurisdiction.
While the specifics of the federal counterterrorism strategy are classified, what is in the public record indicates that the plan contemplates having to deal with as many as three sites being simultaneously hit and using "overwhelming force" against the terrorists, which probably means mustering as many as 3,000 ground troops to the site. If that's an accurate picture, it doesn't bode well. We would most likely have far too few such elite units for dealing with a large number of small terrorist teams carrying out simultaneous attacks across a region or even a single city.
I have yet to see evidence that on a large scale the network capacity of "good guys" is definitely going to get out maneuvered by the terrorist cells (as many military centralized power control types would suggest). Just because the reaction to controlling the economy, intelligence, crime, disaster response and violence has been centralized does not mean that it will remain so.
From my perspective, I see much of the activity and action (stopping shoe bomber, trans-atlantic bombing plot, London night clubs, many other plots ...are spoiled BECAUSE everyone has cell phones.) As the barriers to acting "bad" have dropped SO TOO has the barrier to reporting and acting good. Good tips flow from people that don't want this nonsense to succeed.
The last of the 4 planes on 9/11 didn't reach Washington because people in the seats also had cell phones. They figured out within 20 min that the world had changed and figured out they needed to rush the cabin. The effectiveness of distributed attacks will also go down as culture becomes more "wired". Our relief efforts after every major crisis in the US has been significantly enhanced by increasing power of ad hoc networks of good guys (9/11 (clean up), the earthquakes in Ca, Katrina (Cajun Navy) the Tsunami. I am even betting we pull out of the economic crisis a hell of a lot faster than anyone is thinking BECAUSE we are hyper-connected and faster learning. Watch how fast confidence spreads)
The challenge is not as the military would suggest further powering the military and police but further engaging the public. Giving the public better tools to communicate and react in times of crisis (which many "military minds" want to cut off).
The obsession with the power of the terror networks (and arming up in response to the fear) does little to leverage the same network dynamics fueling the strength of the many. The rest of humanity that wish to live in a just, happy and peaceful world and until we start seeing ways to level communications imbalance between the bad guys and the bulk of humanity.
Google Trends and US Department of Agriculture Results are compared in these images. They are different.
I was reading up on trend analysis and the predictive power of Google to "see" trends before the official government agencies. (Google Flu) I started to think about what other things people might search for in advance of "showing up" to file or request government service. These are cultural trends that we might not catch for months in actual surge in request are different that current "search trends". Is it fair to assume that the actual surge next year will include Oregon, Alabama, Arkansas, New Mexico, etc.
I don't know much about the economic shifts but I know the housing bubble burst first in NV, AZ and much of our car manufacturing is in AL, AK. Maybe someone can explain the shift more intelligently and we can test how these trends playout over the next year.
These are good. It actually has many of the 7 elements of network capcacity with a bit differenet language. Build Strong social Ties = "Put Down Roots", Shared Resources = "create something interesting" ...etc
I would add a few more.
Rules of the Rave:
- Nobody cares about your products (except you).
- Create something interesting that will be talked about online.
- No coercion required.
- Lose control.
- Put down roots.
- Create triggers that encourage people to share.
- Point the world to your (virtual) doorstep.
MIX Online - Descry: The Obesity Epidemic Visualization
Screen clipping taken: 2/13/2009, 12:45 PM
20 years of Data. 50 States. One difficult Story.
Here is a amazing swarming of crime. This is like distributed GOTV operations scaled up to target ATM (requesting money instead of votes). Hackers recruited and provided the exaserbated window to cashout money but they knew that the ATMs shut down if X amount is pulled from the location. They distributed the foot soliders with walking lists, targets and the ATM cards to pull from.
This will be a case to watch as it lays out a new style of attack toward resources that are protected by their fragementation (no one could pull 9 million from an ATM but making a window in the infrastucture and distributing the attack pulled in as much as a haul as knocking off an armored car.)
I wonder if the 130 local crooks knew what they were doing (part of the bigger plot).
Here is the amazing part: With these cashers ready to do their dirty work around the world, the hacker somehow had the ability to lift those limits we all have on our ATM cards. For example, I'm only allowed to take out $500 a day, but the cashers were able to cash once, twice, three times over and over again. When it was all over, they only used 100 cards but they ripped off $9 million.
The RBS Web site says that card holders will not be responsible for any unauthorized transactions. But there is fear that the hackers might have had access to sensitive information used in identity theft for a potential 1.5 million customers -- including their including Social Security numbers.
"The number of machines that were accessed, the number of cities that were targeted, and the number of people that had to be involved in this is quite significant," Agent Rice said.
Investigators are hoping a break in the case may come from one of the cashers. The theory is they probably were recruited, paid a small fee to be solders in the scam, and might be likely to rat out the people who hired them.
There are millions of people out there these days with these payroll cards. RBS officials say they have sent out letters to anyone who might have been affected. They are also offering one-year credit protection for people whose Social Security number may have been jeopardized by this scam. However, the good news is that it doesn't look like any identity theft has occurred yet.