Complexity is Not Stable. New Power, Old Power and Balance

A great set of articles by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms , “Understanding New Power”  and a follow up riff on that article from from Michael Silberman on MobilizaitonLab have inspired some noodling around with their work.

In the table below, I remix a similar table provided by Heimans and Timms with a slightly different focus in order to point to the stability of the models used. I am reshuffling the layout by looking at gaps between production of power and value and the degree to which the producers of that value and power share in the governance and benefits of their contributions.

Potentially if a business/model is in different columns in the top row than in the bottom row, it is less stable and open to competition from competing models that are aligned and more stable. In some cases, the shift toward stability will come from revolt and/or organizing from within.

NewpowerchartMK

 

A more detailed response to the articles by Silberman and Heimans and Timms is published on Netcentric Campaigns’ official blog, Netcentric Advocacy. I hope you’ll check it out.


JOB: Online Campaign Manager

Career Opportunity: Online Campaign Manager at Netcentric Campaigns
Location: Washington, DC

Job Summary

 Netcentric Campaigns seeks a senior level Online Campaign Manager. Netcentric Campaigns is a division of Green Media Toolshed, a nonprofit organization that specializes in building advocacy networks to successfully champion social and policy change. Netcentric Campaigns provides training in online networking strategy, network assessments and scanning of online activity, consultation on online campaigns, and customized online networking tools and services.


The Online Campaign Manager is responsible for building and supporting advocacy networks. S/he will work with smart, seasoned Directors of Internet Strategy and will interact with our Founder & President on project work.  The ideal candidate is self-motivated, has well-rounded communications skills, and moves projects ahead with little guidance. S/he will have the ability to prioritize competing responsibilities and resolve conflicts with team member and vendors. S/he will have experience in managing 2-3 team members and will successfully work on multiple projects with multiple supervisors. We’re looking for someone who has an unyielding commitment to high standards as well as a tenacious approach to testing and troubleshooting. We want someone who sweats the details, will work well under tight deadlines, and can shift gears easily when a project changes direction.

full details http://www.greenmediatoolshed.org/content/job-opportunity-online-campaign-manager#

 



Story of Change.. Go to the Heart of the Problem

Right On! Another great video from Annie and Freerange.   It will be interesting to see how the quiz results connect audeinces to each other to mobilze work.   Hope you get involved and support the work. 


Maid Serives, Nail Salons, Taxi Cabs, Issue Groups and Complex Problems for Organizing Change.

We operate in a sector that has no profits, no barriers to entry, little overhead and low labor costs.  In every other sector like our own, the dominate model of operations becomes small independent operations or very lightly controlled franchises. The world of issue organizing is joining the ranks of barber shops, landscaping, maid services, truckers, taxis, newspapers and nail salons.   This shift threatens the core business model of important groups but it also gives rise to new models and services.  

The life-cycle of a movement usually starts as an issue emerges inspiring individuals to act and organize. Founding groups in a movement are organized (NAACP, wilderness society, Teamsters, Amnesty International) get formed and grow.  The new groups recruit talent and pulll together power to create change. As staff increase in skills, build personal and professional networks and talents, a percentage of the talented staff, Board members or funders get increasingly frustrated by the decisions of managers (boards, brands, etc) or politics (wrong message, wrong focus, to conservative or to radicle) so these talented staff split off to create splinter operations that compete directly for media, members, attention of policy makers and funders.

 The basic barriers to entry and the overhead with being a political issue group have gone down toward zero.  In the last ten years the tools to organize, collect information and broadcast messages has dropped drammatically.  The overhead of running an organizaiton has dropped so much that new groups start up quickly and can compete with the same tools as the best funded groups.  These new start ups can survive with less money and provide the niche organizing that the public wants.  Additionally, the overhead of running an operation has dropped and is so low that both groups remain in operation and are likely to continue.  

 The trend willnot go away unless there is an increase barriers to entry or drastically increase overhead costs to stay in business (both unlikely). Political and issue organizing is a complex and chaotic environment in which we want many or all organizers to survive. In fact, we care about overall market share of people engaged and growing the base of people that wish to be a part of organizing for change. We know that the new groups often reach new segments and work on new issues so we are always interested in pushing new organizing to a new edge.  We care about growing the overall engagement and overall success not the allocation of interests and members within individual groups.  

 The problem that has emerged is that as the cultural forces splinter organizing units into smaller and smaller factions the issues that must be addressed grow in scale and quicken in tempo.  Issues such as balancing influence of multi-national corporations, climate crisis, human justice and dignity on an international scale, war, natural resource management and child safety have spiraled into global issues requiring extensive power to track, evaluate and promote solutions.  Even in the US, our own government has take to moving prisoners overseas to complicate the extension of ability to address oversight by US activists groups.

Simply, the problems we want to address are getting bigger while the mechanisms working on the problems are getting smaller. Smaller groups are becoming more powerful but the sum of the smaller groups’ power is significantly less than the potential power of the whole.   

Given the transformation this trend represents to organizing, it is essential to actually solve the challenge of enabling a highly fractured network to work together in an advocacy and issue context.  It is essential to invest in the strategy, training, analysis, research, tools and platforms that enable relationship building to occur and it is essential to train a new generation not just of managers but of network leaders.  


Map of a Movement : Where are leaders working on childhood obesity? Are you on the map?

One of the projects I am working on is focused on addressing the issue of childhood obesity.(learn more about the issue at RWJF) 

During the interviews and assessment phase before the project, we interviewed lots of leaders in the movement working to reverse the epidemic that wanted to know who are the other leaders in their cities.  We heard "If we only had a map".... when we decided to build the map, we wanted to make it so everyone could "own it" this is their map.

We went the extra mile (ok 10 miles) to make it like a youtube video. This map can be embedded on lots of sites (including your own). You can just grab the code (copy) and paste it on any site.

As people join the movement, they are added to totals of supporters on the maps all over the internet. As leaders join the movement, they are added to the map with a way to contact them all over the internet.

There are a few advanced features like the ability to customize the map size, add your logo or change the zoom (if you work on any of the issues related to childhood obesity or want to support those that do please start spreading the map far and wide.)

This map is pretty netcentric. As it creates new pathways for people to connect to each other, it creates a shared resource, and it becomes a feedback tool for showing how and where the movement is getting organized to reverse the epidemic.  

Let me know what you think? How many places will we see this map distributed in 6 months?

 


Oil in the Gulf Widget

I like these tools to help tell the story. This widget misses a few important tweaks that would make it more valuable for both the user and PBS.

1. Sign up for updates on this story. (Name recruitment for PBS). Thank you emails should have links to charities and actions in them.

2. Donate to news coverage of the gulf coast spill. (short video talking about the cost of covering the story)

3.  The logo link to news hour should be all the Gulf spill coverage NOT the homepage.

4. Tell your story of the Gulf like this..link 

5. Watch the Mos Def the Gulf Aid track, 'Ain't My Fault.' http://bit.ly/acApvO#mb

 Oil in the Gulf.


Social Media Campaigns are Data Driven

9 Tips on How To Run (And Not Run) Social Media Campaigns

This is an interesting look into the role data plays in scaling social listening and being attentive to those that you are interested in sustaining the conversations.

View more presentations from Rapleaf.


Twitter Cofounder Jack Dorsey On Using Twitter For Social Change

This is in line with the training work we have been doing on twitter for activists.  The power of Twitter comes from 3 sources for activists.

  1. The ability to instantly connect people who don’t know each other but care about an issue, event or action. (#hashtags)
  2. The ability to set up a group of trusted people and connect them even if they are not in front of computer but not tight enough to share cell phone numbers with each other. (lobby days, coordinating action etc.)
  3. The ability to scale up your listening, broaden your radar and listen to people you don’t normally get to listen to so regularly. (Micah Sifry is one of the smartest and well connected activist … who does he follow? Follow them directly.http://twitter.com/Mlsif/following) and now his lists…http://twitter.com/Mlsif/techpolitics

 

Jack Dorsey nails it… Good Huffington Post Interview…

Impact: How can people use Twitter more effectively for social change?

JD: I think the biggest thing is supporting each individual update more, getting away from [Twitter] being a social network and focusing on individual tweets, so that you can create a whole movement from that. Right now we have the hashtag, which was invented by our users, but it's still a little bit cumbersome. But we've seen that tool have a dramatic effect on how people organize and it serves a particular event or a particular moment and then disperses when it's no longer necessary. Or, the hashtag becomes a full-fledged Twitter account which people can follow permanently. I think making that transition [to concentrate on the value of individual tweets] in an easy way would be very, very helpful.

Twitter Cofounder Jack Dorsey On Using Twitter For Social Change


John Kao: Innovation Nation meets Nonprofit Networks

I really thought this was a good presentation on innovation process and practice.  I like how it resonates on personal experience level and how it bumps up against the network design issues and the paradoxes of building network power and performance to create intentional change.

First, the discussion fits well with the type of work I do with partners.  It is interesting to see John focus on the conceptual clarity and need to ask and queue up the right questions.   Partners often balk at the really important part of the work that is focused on syncing up the network vision and our efforts with the current contexts and realities that are buffering and shaping the context.

Second, this presentation bumps into the system and process questions at the network level. What systems do we have in place that actually DESTROY innovation at scale across groups and in an issue and advocacy network ? How can networks innovate? How can networks be supported in innovation process? I find it interesting that John limits this conversation and thinking (national or organizational level) to centralized planners and individual examples.  John provides the right process (everyone knows the process, set of practices that work well, leads to value) but how does it scale to a distributed innovation by a network of allied activists?  

How does a movement of 50 years get to a "beginners mind"? How do set process of leaders, foundations, donors and the most accomplished advocates ask new questions and direct the jazz band of change by adopting the Miles Davis "don't say to much" leadership?

Thanks to Momentum for posting the videos.

Facebook as a Financial Platform?

There are big changes going on at facebook that will reshape the ways nonprofits will be able to use and leverage the platform.  The biggest of these changes is the launch of some “gift” tools for your social network. These changes seem little at first “who cares if you can buy a song for a friend” but anyone that watched ITunes, Skype, Amazon and online donations scale up realizes that getting people to cough up credit card for credits is the biggest hurdle in ultimately freeing people from money.

The more that facebook users get used to buying little bits of things online, using their credits, and making transactions online the easier it will be to help them convert facebook relationships into channels for sending money to your charity and campaign.

I expect online donations to charities and groups with “pages” will grow proportionally with the amount of total exchanges on facebook. So seeing them add features like the new “buy a song” for a friend will be a big boost to those of us that look to facebook as a space for organizing relationships with people that use if like the way traditional users focused on their inbox.

While you can currently purchase gifts from non-profits, like Kiva, Project Red, TOMS Shoes, Charity Water and the World Wildlife Fund, Facebook is now also including gifts via the Causes application. So you can make donations to a cause as a gift for your friends for pretty much any cause supported through the app.

Facebook’s Gift Shop Sings A New Tune


No Excitement About Recovery on Facebook

I have been hunting around for data like “google flu” those shadows cast by real people doing things that provide insight on big trends. I was looking at Facebook Lexicon to see what trend data could show.

I would imagine many people post something about “new job” or their friends congratulate them on “new jobs” via facebook. So I punched it into Lexicon.

You can see the Facebook crowd mirrored the economic collapse with some variation there is just not that many folks posting about “new job” on facebook.   I assume when we see this line start to climb, we will know the job part of the recovery has started.

 

image

 

Make sure to use these tools to access the trends in data that impact your campaign efforts. I find these as interesting insights into the language to use (new jobs is how people talk about it “unemployment” doesn’t even register), the traction major themes are getting (see old post on health care).


Customer Feedback Meets Ideas for Netroots Nation

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Customer Feedback & Ideas for Netroots Nation

Netroots conference using UserVoice to sort questions from the large audience. It will be interesting to see how the questions that emerge are very much like or dislike the questions professional reporters would ask.


Vontoo: Calling My Campaign

I will be using this asap. The power of voice and phone connected with the web.  I can see a few options from phone bank reminders to a small event, reminders for house parties for everyone in a zip from the database, etc.  It is just another way to leap content and organizing across divides.

Vontoo is a market-leading provider of automated voice messaging solutions. Our robust and flexible product offerings allow organizations of all sizes to leverage the power of voice in order to build brands, drive revenues, increase operational efficiencies and solve complex communication challenges.

When it comes to communication, nothing can compare to the power, excitement and authenticity of the human voice. Vontoo was founded with a clear mandate - to bring the power of voice marketing and communication to organizations eager to leverage its seemingly endless capabilities.

Vontoo


Web2.0 meets listserve? This is an embeddable discussion thread?

This is interesting.  It is a discussion thread that can be ported and embedded around the web.  It could have a nice potential for advocacy groups and creating collaboration and collective action between communities.  It would need a few changes to be one of the “killer” apps for those of us in the nonprofit community.

1. Data tracking and ownership. If I embed it in my site (open site)  I get a copy of the names and data of the people who post from my site (build out data and interest in my salesforce tracking of those people).

2. Data sharing. I can agree that the original person who set up the thread also gets a copy of the data like a PTa or Cancer survivor forum with data going to local group and livestrong (then it becomes a viral organizing tool spreading content and collecting data).

3. Full email integration. If someone posts to a topic I have commented on I get sent an email AND I can respond via email without going online. A copy of my reply goes into the online forum (stay in your inbox or on blackberry).

4. Secure hand off. My website  (from a closed community like Ning or a Drupal site) can allow my logged in people to post without signing in again or needing to go online with everyone who is not logged in getting the post via email.

5. Ad free version.

 

I sent some emails to the developers. This looks interesting make sure you play.

 


TargetSpot Internet Radio Advertising

Has anyone used this in campaign and issue work yet?   I would like to see the sympathetic music linked to issue ads to see if they produce any results. I am a big user of  Pandora and I like the idea of seeing country songs about healthcare and cancer and dying linked to Health care reform campaign etc.  Music is so powerful, I have to imaging that linking some songs to issue work has to be effective.

What is TargetSpot?

TargetSpot is the first end to end advertising platform and marketplace designed specifically for internet radio.

Advertisers use TargetSpot's award-winning platform to reach and target internet radio listeners with high-impact audio and video advertising. Traditional and web-only broadcasters alike turn to TargetSpot for its unique ability to support the growth of their streaming products and audience through its innovative advertising technology.

Since launch in 2007, TargetSpot has received numerous awards and recognition, including Always On's "Always On Media 100," Inside Radio's "Seven Changing Radio Now" and Radio-Info.com's "Radio's Innovators".

TargetSpot Internet Radio Advertising : About Us


African Americans, Hispanics Lead Mobile Web Growth

This kind of data consistently comes up in online organizing. who has access and what do the trends look like. I thought this was really interesting. I worry a little about the English survey skewing the results but broadband in the home ranging between 37% and 68% means that opinion leaders in almost all the groups will have access.

The Hispanics surveyed reported the highest penetration of cellphone ownership, at 89 percent. On a typical day, 14 percent of English-speaking Hispanics reported playing music and 5 percent reported watching video on a cellphone or PDA. In terms of overall digital activities, English-speaking Hispanics who are online or are cell phone users outscored the other two groups.
The study was conducted in English, so the Hispanic population surveyed was skewed to a higher socioeconomic group, the study notes. When Spanish speakers were factored in to Pew's December 2008 study, the rate of broadband penetration in Hispanic homes was counted at 37 percent, while in the most recent study of English-speaking Hispanics, the rate was 68 percent.

African Americans, Hispanics Lead Mobile Web Growth


CoTweet Cohort - User Discussion Forum on Steroids

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?

CoTweet — How business does Twitter

 

 

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Tools I Use to Connect, Scan and React to the Web

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;

  1. Scanning the field for several projects (hundreds of feeds), grabbing notes that I may need or I want to share with other that are interested in the same project.
  2. Working over the notes and developing some into riffs on networks and advocacy, or storing those notes for later cooking.
  3. Publishing my thought process online, the raw materials and any final products. Sometimes, I need to create long and short riffs on the subject but also I am content to point people to other peoples brilliant content online. 

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.

Conversation

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

  1. Facebook (in browser and on iphone app, pulls in feeds)
  2. Linked-in (just for professional connections and keeping contact pipeline with lots of people)
  3. Twitter (Tweetdeck for the PC …Tweetie for $2.99 on iphone)
  4. My blog (typepad – only problem..I wish I could change my domain name without messing it up.)
  5. Google reader ( with 117 feeds and a shared feed)
  6. I comment on others postings.

Scanning

  1. Twitter – My favorite part of twitter is see “who follows and who”.  The open connections are the most valuable part of the system to me. It enables me to reach very “far” across the web to connect with people that are outside my circle of information but still trusted by traceable by degrees of separation.  I try to track lots of people right now as I am using it to see what is interesting. Many of the people that I am really close with are not yet on twitter so I use it to scan the larger field.  I assume i will really use it more for work in the months ahead.  I think the #tag stuff is brilliant.
  2. Facebook – Scanning  my close network. (my family, friends and coworkers and friends are on here)
  3. Google Reader (Great Tool. It grabs almost everything I need. I can look at it from my phone and it has share and share with notes that are a part of my site. Star for later)
  4. Email ( I don’t want things coming into my inbox. )
  5. Project related feeds on sites (Instead of the google reader) like the bottom of this site (

Working Over the Results

  1. Onenote 2007– Screen Capture.  It really works like a notebook. You see something that is interesting and you highlight it and send it to Onenote (it is a tool in IE) or you can grab the screen and create a page from what you are looking at.  You have the option to send any onenote page “send to blog”
  2. Windows Live Writer  (I love this)– As you are surfing a page or reading in firefox…you highlight the interesting section of the page and hit a little icon that windows live writer puts on your toolbar in firefox. A post opens up with a title and the content already linkined and in the post. It has one button publishing to send the text and images directly into your blog. 
  3. Firefox – quick publish – blogger. I set up a blogger account for “clips” I don’t use the blogger account to write anything (it is linked to a www.wetpaint.com wiki) I just highlight and hit the right mouse button to see “send to blogger” and off the clip goes. 

Publish

  1. Typepad – 14 bucks a month. It works.  i have been using it for years. They keep adding features, attacking spam and make sure the feeds work with almost every service (facebook, widgets etc.)  It is easy to keep free of spam and has an Iphone app.
  2. Blogger – just for clips.
  3. Drupal – full content management system and preferred platform for most of my sites.
  4. Wetpaint.com – REally easy wiki. I have watched old hippy organizers use it so i know the technology is not a barrier. (unfortunately, the branding is difficult)

Nice Instructional Video on Filtering and Processing a Network of People

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. 


Power Shift 2009 Connected and Twittering

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.

Power Shift 2009


DonorsChoose.org Moving money into SC schools like Ty’Sheoma Bethea’s!

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.

Education in the spotlight: Support classrooms like Ty’Sheoma Bethea’s!

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
DonorsChoose.org Carolinas

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DonorsChoose.org Blog: Education in the spotlight: Support classrooms like Ty’Sheoma Bethea’s!


Network Flower Power: Project BudBurst - Participate!

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)

  Project BudBurst Activity Guide.

1) Select and identify your plant using the plant list or by geographic area.

2) Describe the site where your plant is located. This includes finding the latitude and longitude of your site.

3) Determine which phenophase (phenological stage) you are looking for (i.e. Budburst/First Leaf, First Flower). For help, refer to the plant descriptions found in the plant list.

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!

Project BudBurst - Participate!

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Don’t Look at the News. Don’t Watch C-span

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?

 image

Capitol Words

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?)

Wish list:

  • It would be cool if there was a red state / blue state version to see how they differ.
  • It would also be cool to look at the differences between D and R.
  • I look forward to a moveable timeline
  • I would like to be able to compare word clouds of politicians.
  • I also think it would be good to be able to click on the word for a report of the references. The trend is very cool.
  • links to advocacy letters or public comment periods associated with those words.
  • an improved and larger widget.
  • an ability to normalize the color maps based on the percentage of all things said by their state (CA and TX) dominate because of delegation size. (for example is it by % that TX talks most about the environment?
  • some way that I can grab a page like MD( http://www.capitalwords.org/state/MD/) and keep with a timeline on the top of a local political page (then have a blog and commenting under it)  or a word (http://www.capitalwords.org/word/environment/) see the workds around the work environment and the legislators talking about it in a block of time.
  • ability to search phrases.

del.icio.us Tags: ,,

Internet access for the Unemployed: Netcentric Recovery Plan

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?

  • People need to job hunt.
  • the unemployed need to interact with government agencies and services and online access would reduce government servicing costs.
  • It would help nonprofits and food banks squeeze more efficiency in the way the coordinate delivery of services and assessing needs. 
  • It would create an intensive online training program (from basic computer skills (how to email, network and search) to all the free and more advanced training online.
  • employees could stay in touch with previous coworkers (DHL alumni group on Linked-in) and family at reduced costs.
  • it would up our workforces competitiveness and prepare the unemployed to collaborate on projects for new jobs.
  • the new free web services (gmail,google docs, skype, etc.) enable productivity in the cloud. so event thee $39 computer or the web books would meet basic needs.
  • it would open up lots of new self-organizing (laidoffcamp.org) and new business start up. 
  • It is important for the families that are trying to figure out housing availability, stay connected with schools and teachers.
  • the unemployed on the program (using the govt access pages) could be asked to review elements of the recovery activity, congressional budgets, state budgets, etc.(would probably find enough mistakes to pay for the whole program)
  • when companies want to rehire or pull from their former workforce they could easily reactivate the latent parts of our workforce.
  • Emotional support, entertainment, etc.
  • They could cut off other services (like cable and phone) to save money.
  • It would generate a new revenue and industry from states for web businesses that could target reengaging the unemployed. 
  • If it shortens unemployment of each persons by just a few weeks it would pay for itself. (480 per person per year).
  • It would accelerate the use of the stimulus dollars, tax programs, etc.
  • It would shorten the amount of time it takes to find the unemployed and fill new positions (saving business money)
  • It would keep the unemployed a more powerful political force.
  • It is a manageable cost program. (worst case = 40 a month * 4 million unemployed * 12 = 2 billion ).   The faster the unemployed find work and get into positions where they create value others are willing to purchase the faster the economy recovers. 
  • Other ideas?

Grid Computing for Our Network?

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?

The World Community GridHow 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.

World Community Grid - About Us - How Grid Computing Works

 

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The New Assumptions : Plans for the Economic Crisis

At this stage, it is clear that nonprofit and advocacy groups are also headed for extraordinarily difficult financial times. The cash crunch for the advocacy movement will be as bad as we can imagine and far worse than we can easily manage. We need a plan for how to remain effective.

We should all begin to operate with new assumptions:

1. We are going to be poorer nation. We are going to have less money to work with and we are going to be paying off debts and expenses for years to come. We must squeeze value out of every asset we have built or purchased.The decline in the national economy is going to reduce the cash flow into the advocacy movement by between 20 and 50 percent. Almost every organization will lose staff. The progressive advocacy movement at the end of 2010 will look very different from the movement at the end of 2008. all the best "recovery plans do not really mean "go back to 2007" they mean avoid 1929.

2. Unlike large, centrally managed corporations, the movement is going to dissolve in unpredictable and erratic ways. The sector’s many externalities, as well as its unregulated and dysfunctional reward and punishment systems, will bring about a rapid, non-linear unraveling of capacity. This means that the most effective groups might not survive, and the least effective groups will not automatically disappear. Nor is there a model to predict which group, partner, campaign staff, or policy wonk is going to be around next month. No one knows what regional offices national groups will close. The groups are not coordinating reductions. The talent and assets that remain are going to be scattered across the landscape. The movement will be left with a bunch of loose threads. The economic crash is going to require a sustained effort to repair and reconnect these threads--the elements of our movement--in order to continue to mount successful campaigns.

3. The deepening recession, environmental changes, political shifts, technological evolution and the ongoing wars will combine to create movement toward rapid change and cultural instability. There will be a quickening of political, cultural and individual behavioral change. For at least two years, the federal government is going to be dominated by Democrats. They are going to be able to move legislation and government action quickly on issues like health care, energy and public works. Opportunities to influence significant events and policies are going to come in tighter and more intense waves.

These assumptions will drive the way leaders in the nonprofit sector plan their organizational budgets. In the advocacy and social change movement, however, we rely on networks in addition to organizations to lead and drive change. Just as managers are creating plans for their organizations, the networks need plans to rationally deal with the reductions in overall capacity while also capitalizing on the opportunities that these disruptions will produce. We need something that is not “more of the same,” only smaller.

If we can ask the energy industry to remake itself, if we can ask health care industry to transform, if we can assume the auto industry will be totally different ...where is the vision for our own sector?

The network plan should take advantage of the technology and organizing tools developed in the last several years to manage a constructive reorganization and establish a new model for organizing that is smarter and more effective than the current model primarily dominated by large silos of competing institutions.

Join the planning discussion over on a wiki I set up to kick start the conversations


Forget a Rerun. Watch Clay Shirky tonight.


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

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