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December 2005
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Pew Backs Value of Network-centric Advocacy Approach to Organizing

Well.. now Pew ads a little more proof to the value of focusing on NetCentric Campaigns.

Link: Pew Internet & American Life Project Release: The internet improves Americans’ capacity to maintain their social networks and get help.

Washington (January 25, 2006) – The internet and email expand and strengthen the social ties that people maintain in the offline world, according to a new report released today by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. One major payoff comes when people use the internet to press their social networks into action as they face major challenges. People not only socialize online, but they also incorporate the internet into their quest for information and advice as they seek help and make decisions.

fastr - a flickr game: Guessing Folk

This is cool. It is an exercise in photo recognition and culture .. how would the flickr community tag the images. So what are the advocacy application of this kind of game?

Link: fastr - a flickr game.

Fastr is a game that uses flickr images. It loads ten images that all share a common tag, one by one, and you guess what the tag is. When you guess right, the tag will turn blue. Then you can watch the pictures until the next set begins. The faster you guess, the more points you get. The points are reset every five minutes. Don't forget to enter a player name. Please email questions and comments. The correct answer doubles as a link to the flickr page with all the photos.

Distributed Research on Stardust Project - Public to look for dust grains in Stardust detectors

How do we find the dust? Ask the network.

Link: 01.10.2006 - Public to look for dust grains in Stardust detectors.

Astronomy buffs who jumped at the chance to use their home computers in the [email protected] search for intelligent life in the universe will soon be able to join an Internet-based search for dust grains originating from stars hundreds of thousands of light years away. In a new project called [email protected], University of California, Berkeley, researchers will invite Internet users to help them search for a few dozen submicroscopic grains of interstellar dust captured by NASA's Stardust spacecraft and due to return to Earth in January 2006. This aerogel array, which was mounted atop the Stardust spacecraft, was used to collect interstellar dust particles as well as dust from the tail of comet Wild 2.

Link: [email protected] - participation.

The only way that we can think of to find these exciting interstellar dust grains is to recruit talented volunteers to help us search. First, you will go through a web-based training session. This is not for everyone: you must pass a test to qualify to register to participate. After passing the test and registering, you will be able to download a virtual microscope (VM). The VM will automatically connect to our server and download so-called "focus movies" -- stacks of images that we will collect from the Stardust Interstellar Dust Collector using an automated microscope at the Cosmic Dust Lab at Johnson Space Center. The VM will work on your computer, under your control. You will search each field for interstellar dust impacts by focusing up and down with a focus control. The more focus movies you examine, the better the chances are that you'll find an interstellar dust grain. But we have no minimum expectation -- you should search through focus movies as long as you're having fun doing it. Just remember that you are looking at the first collector that has gone into deep space and come back. This is a very special opportunity!

Presentation Tips: Tech and Communications Tips

I have often riffed on subjects raised by Andy Goodman and suggested participating in the survey and signing up for his newsletter. Andy has asked me to spread the word about the free copies of his new book for nonprofits. So I am always glad to help. It is really good stuff.

Link: Welcome to agoodmanonline.

Would you like to deliver more engaging, informative, and persuasive presentations? Do you supervise colleagues who must give presentations on a regular basis? If you have wasted enough time with bad presentations – on either side of the podium – there is a new book which you can order online today, and it’s free to full-time employees at nonprofits, foundations, government agencies, and educational institutions.

Based on unprecedented research across the public interest sector, and incorporating the advice of twenty highly regarded public speaking experts, Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes, can help you avoid the most commonly made mistakes (“The Fatal Five”), structure your information in ways that help audiences absorb it, use PowerPoint more effectively, and deliver your talks with greater confidence.

Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes was written by Andy Goodman and was designed and published by Cause Communications (the same team that created Why Bad Ads Happen to Good Causes.)

If you participated in the survey, or if you are a full-time employee at a nonprofit, foundation, government agency or educational institution, you can request one complimentary copy while supplies last. To place your order, please fill out the section below.

Note: Complimentary copies cannot be shipped to a home address, so please supply only business addresses.

My old posts on Andy:
* Sign up for his letter.
* participate in the survey
* a riff on his messenger story .

VolunteerMatch: Volunteer Recruiting Tips and Tricks

Good notes for organizers from VolunteerMatch: I would need to add have a limitless supply of the tasks that need to be done, checked and rechecked to move your mission forward. Start thinking about work in 10 minute increments with clear instructions. Have a variety of tasks for different skill levels and interest. Think about the ways volunteers can rank and organize each other.

I love VolunteerMatch

Link: VolunteerMatch: Volunteer Recruiting Tips and Tricks.

Tips to help your organization be a great place to volunteer. VolunteerMatch understands how hard it can be to run a successful program and we're here to help.Be a Great Place to Volunteer

Be prepared - Gather any necessary supplies and clear a workspace in advance of your volunteers' arrival. Once they arrive, don't keep them waiting. If you expect punctuality, lead by example.

Make volunteers feel welcome - When you first meet your volunteers, offer a tour of the office or event area, make coffee or water available, and don't be afraid to show your enthusiasm.

Introduce volunteers to other staff members - Part of feeling comfortable in a new place means knowing a few names. Casually introduce your volunteers to co-workers and other volunteers before engaging them in their volunteer opportunity.
Set expectations - Be clear with your volunteers about what is expected of them. Tell them what you need accomplished and act as a resource should they have questions or concerns.

Train sufficiently - Your volunteers are excited to help out. Remember, they found you and want to contribute their time to your organization. Make sure they have the tools necessary to succeed.

Give them a purpose - Be realistic when assigning tasks to volunteers. No one wants to stand around because there isn't enough work to be done. If it looks like volunteers are idle, either send a few home, or think of a new project they can work on instead.

Be honest - Don't be afraid to tell your volunteers exactly what your organization needs.

Create ground rules - Volunteers are eager to help, and while they aren't actual employees, they may still need to adhere to general organizational policies. Make sure you relate any important rules or guidelines before your volunteers get started.

Set time parameters for service - Most people have a busy schedule and volunteers are no exception. Let your volunteers know how long their help will be needed so they can plan their day accordingly.

Show appreciation - Congratulate your volunteers on a job well done. Sometimes a simple gesture of thanks is sufficient. For volunteers who contribute their time consistently or have made a strong impact on your organization, consider giving them a card or taking them out to lunch.

Downloads Will Intensify Shine on Apple

Food for Advocacy and Campaign planners ... Apple Video your own networks within 3 years. John Kerry (53 million supporters emails, Bush 65 million) The campaigns will have the ability to spin into their own networks. Big issue groups and the major political party should be developing strategies of what their own network looks like and think about how to fill it with content. The big networks will beg to play and put shows out to your base. Time shift peer filtered and programmed ivideo is going to change the value of and ways audiences get created.

Link: Downloads Will Intensify Shine on Apple.

Eight million video downloads. Three million song downloads a day. Those are the two numbers my mind keeps ricocheting back to. Let's "roll the video" first. Eight million video downloads in the first couple of months they were offered, as the video iPod was just being rolled out. Eight million video downloads, despite the fact that there's hardly any video content available yet on iTunes. Let's put that number in context. TBS, the cable channel with the biggest audience, averages about 2.5 million viewers a night. A top 10 network television show can grab 15 million viewers an episode. Nearly 60 million people tune in to watch "SpongeBob SquarePants" every week. There are about 110 million households with televisions in the U.S. DVD sales and rentals totaled more than $6 billion in 2005. What does all this mean? Apple's just barely begun offering video downloads. It's maybe sold 5 million video-enabled iPods thus far. So what happens when Apple's video iPod hits critical mass? Say, when 10 million people have a video iPod? And what happens when Apple offers enough video content on iTunes that it hits critical mass? Say, 5,000 different shows and movies? And what happens when Apple's hardware fully integrates into your living room home theater system? Do you see where all this is headed?%

Google Buys Company To Expand Into Radio: Getting into the Workflow of Traditional Advertising Block-heads

This is an interesting buy in that it positions Google in the work flow of those that don't think Internet will pay off. I assume this is less about radio and more about digging into the right spots for buyers. If you want ads Google wants your attention. I tend to think Google is going to kill radio by showing all those radio ad buyers how much more effective Internet advertising is compared to radio. I assume Google will eventually use radio and (podcast style ads created online ) to fill exposures in the radio network where internet is weak. I also assume they are thinking about connecting radio ads to cell phones and their mobile advertising. It is very smart.

Link: Google Buys Company To Expand Into Radio.

"It's a way for Google to more effectively get into the media-planning stage of advertisers, and it may make it easier for advertisers to think about the Internet," Fratrik said. The arrangement combines two niche advertising media -- the Internet and radio -- with Google's ability to laser-focus on the tastes of consumers. Fratrik said that advertisers looking to connect with men in the 18-34 age bracket, for instance, could buy time on the appropriate radio stations and complement the exposure by buying space on Web sites that cater to the same age group. "It is a merger of a new medium with a legacy medium," Fratrik said. "Radio's been around for 80 years, and it's been a strong advertising medium. This is a signal that it's still around and viable -- and with this tool, it will continue to be very viable." Radio advertising is expected to grow 2.4 percent in 2006, according to Merrill Lynch & Co., and could get a boost from the Google deal. Google already appeals to a large base of small and medium-size local advertisers -- the same group that fills the airwaves of local radio broadcasters. "We believe this type of platform could be quite appealing to the small and medium-sized advertisers . . . and could actually increase demand for radio," Lauren Rich Fine, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, s

Advocacy groups and tools builders need to look carefully at the positioning here as Google looked at the people it wanted to "pitch to" and found another way into the workflow of those ideal clients. The ideal lead for google are clients that are buying local radio ads and don't think much of the Internet. Google just got access to them and it will make money in the process.

What is the workflow like of the people you are trying to organize? How can you inject a hook into their daily lives?

Grapevine : The New Art of Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Political and Advocacy Lessons

A friend of mine gave me Grapevine for a quick read. I have to say I like these fluffy made up story books. I don't know why the cheesy poorly written sparklyperfect appeals to me.

Link: Grapevine : The New Art of Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Books.

The heart of the book is Balters riff (no science, numbers or stats...all just based on his experience) on the reasons people bzz.

1. people like to "help and educate others"
2. people like to prove they are knowledgeable and like to show off what they know.
3. people talk about products and bzz to create common how about that weather.
4. pride... people like to be associated with a brand or product.
5. sharing. we are social animals that like to share and connect.

In a political and advocacy context, we need strategies to create buzz and kill it. It looks like talk radio and the neocons have been thinking about this stuff for a long time. If you want to stop bzz.

First rule to kill bzz...make everything a controversy (kills common ground, pride, and dilutes social value of passing info along.

Second rule to kill bzz...challenge all science and facts with "truthiness" make everyone question everything... with bogus information and make no one seem knowledgeable and encourage idiots to show off what they know.

Third rule to kill bzz... create a climate of anger and fear so people dont' want to share or can't.

It is worth a read to stimulate thinking about how people pass along information and act to spread the success of a campaign.

Grapevine : The New Art of Word-of-Mouth Marketing (Hardcover) by David Balter, John Butman

Brands and Strategic Communications in Networks

I spent most of Friday in a really interesting training by the Institute for Strategic Communications. The panels focused on nonprofit branding and issue work.

I love the creative tension created by big brand nonprofits (CARE, Common Cause, AI, etc.) and the pure issue advocacy and movement building focus. The big groups carry a huge slice of the movements work forward but they will not win alone. The membership push is not connecting with most of the population.

There were some great nuggets to think about …

"Everybody has brand…. what you do is your brand. There is no group or campaign without brand (reputation)."

"What you DO is brand. Everything else in your communications should carry your brand and work forward."

"The most successful brands win because people know what they are about and make a strong connection."

"In a connected world, ALL communications from internal memos, to targeted email appeals, to donor requests, press releases, speaking in a meeting and staff can impact brand and strategic communications."

"Make sure your communications convey the humanity of your work (something I have been really bad at)."

"Communications is the critical component to the success of many efforts.. OFTEN strategic communications is the difference between leadership and ALSO RAN."

Great food for thought. does today's information and highly connected world allow us to create and dissolve brands faster than ever before?

Does really need to become (The initial action immediately mobilized 150,000 people to protest "STOLEN HONOR" and knocked Sinclair stock price down until the network altered the plan to feed radical right propaganda across the Sinclair stations. ) Arkadi Gerney was able to set up the brand in a heart beat. in the middle of an election. In this new world is it ok to let a brand dissolve? What are the PROS and CONS to the ad hoc brand of the moment. (The one-hit wonders and consumer product fads do it all the time).

The Five Dysfunctions of Team and Network-centric Advocacy

I was just watching Wall Street Week (not something I normally do) but the content of the interview caught my eye. They were discussing "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" There is a bit of difference between the way we might think about teams and networks (official leaders, top-down, etc.) but it is very interesting that there is still so much overlap with the elements needed for building network capacity.

Five Dysfunctions:
*absence of trust
*fear of conflict
*lack of commitment
*avoidance of accountability
*inattention of results

Five Network Elements:
* Strong Social Ties (trust and conflict resolution)
* Common Story (conflict and commitment)
* Communications Grid (trust building, conflict solving, accountability enforcement)
* Shared Resources --no connection with his interview
* Clarity of Purpose (results focus, commitment testing)

It is nice to see that they don't clash to much. Building capacity to move and coordinate groups of people should be similar.

In the Darkness Create a Light: Political Fog will only be by Natural Winds

Thanks Noah: Link: The Cook Political Report National Overview.

Under these scenarios, a Democratic gain of between two and four seats in the Senate, and between four and nine seats in the House, would result in a real fight for control of those chambers in 2008, coinciding with the presidential election that year. More importantly however, Republicans in recent months have had a very difficult time with their legislative agenda even without such losses. If their current Senate and House margins were cut in half, their majorities would only be formalities, with no one in control on Capitol Hill. Under that scenario, with neither party in control of Capitol Hill and a president who is either a lame or crippled duck, there is a very strong chance that in terms of national governance, this country is likely to be drifting for the next three years until one party or the other manages to secure some kind of working control over the process through congressional elections or a fresh president comes into office with the honeymoon period and fresh start that inevitably accompanies a new occupant of that office. Until that time though, the drift seems almost inevitable.

SO that means that the balance of power will not be tipped by traditional leadership and head to head struggles for leadership and power. The key to tipping national policy agenda will only come form finding the events that frame new ad hoc networks to form to break ties. High energy prices and middle east political crisis pushing neocons, security nuts into networks with environmental groups to invest in renewable for totally different reasons. The fights against media monopolies in markets uniting the left and right, ad hoc networks uniting to address human rights or health crisis.

We need to continue to build out capacity to quickly form and manage ad hoc networks and coalitions that will not survive short particular campaigns.

Connection Grid: Students Calling Iraq

Link: The New Yorker: The Talk of the Town.

call Baghdad. There are a couple of Iraqi phone books available on the Internet, and plenty of interesting people willing to share their stories directly, from six thousand miles away, many of them speaking decent English. When your phone bill starts to get out of hand, try downloading Skype, software that allows two people to talk free, from anywhere in the world, using computer microphones and a headset. Amelia Templeton, a senior history major, estimates that she has spoken with twenty-five Iraqis over the past year, and now, as she said the other day, “it’s a bad idea to ask me about Iraq unless you plan on listening for a while.”

Decentralized reporting. People to people connections. The communications grid can be used to directly connect people together even across lines of war.

It raises lots of interesting questions. Should English speaking people in Iraq start calling folks here and pressing a case that media and others won't. How would you feel getting a call from a citizen of the occupying power? Is there a way to centralize calls in country then viop them out to phone list pushing for peace. where else do people to people connections make sense? African Aid? Health Care work in the US? Poor Zip codes Calling Rich ones. etc.

BuzzMachine: Who owns the wisdom of the crowd? The crowd.

Jeff nails the heart of new internet strategy and why it conflicts with old world activism and traditional politics. Our culture increasingly wants to "own" its activism and voice. Brands and campaigns need to adapt to the privacy gnereration and the ownership generation not by building more ways to harvest ownership and power but by increasingly amplifying the power of the citizen.

saving the environment is not our groups mission and you support us. Advocacy is taking a turn that saving the environment is your opion and we are here to serve you. (centralized vs. decentralized).

Link: BuzzMachine ? Blog Archive ? Who owns the wisdom of the crowd? The crowd..

On the individual level, I want to own or control my stuff, don’t you? That is a given that too many companies and institutions forget. Thus my first law of media and life: Give us control and we will use it. The corollary: Don’t give us control and you will lose us. So I want to control the things I create: my content (this blog); my identity (my addresses); my collections of neat things (my bookmarks); my analysis (my tags); my reputation (my eBay rating), my behavior (my history, my clicks). What does control mean? I want to be assured that somebody else can’t muck with or kill it. I want to be able to use it wherever I want — and that means I need it to be portable. I also want to control the things I consume: my content (obviously, I pick the sites, shows, words I take in); my advertising (I’d like transparent targeting… and so should advertisers, because it would be a helluva lot more effective). Other players may try to get in the way — keeping me from my stuff, or pushing me to this page instead of that, or showing me this ad because they get paid to do so — but, again, if I ruled my world, this is what I’d want. Less interference means less friction m

Sweet. Kudos to Identity Women

The Periodic Table of Haiku:

Simple but Effective Use of Web to Present the Periodic Table: The Periodic Table of Haiku:

I don't like the colors or side and other nav but the table is pretty cool. Each mouse over presents key data and the Haiku.

It would be neat to see this married up with a tag cloud to help preview the info before linking thru to top sites. (i am looking into ways to present key data on more effectively and just doing some late surfing.)

Welcome to the Periodic Table of Haiku

F u t u r e M e . o r g: Send yourself a Wake Up! Call. (Like Vote! )

I have had an SMS and cell phone VIOP version of this in the pipeline. However, You gotta love a good email reminder. (210,000 messages!)

FutureMe : F u t u r e M e . o r g.

here's the story: two fellas started this so that you could write yourself a letter to be delivered at a later date. we've all had to do them in high school and college. it's sorta cool to receive a letter from yourself about where you thought you'd be a year (two years? more?) later. is based on the principle that memories are less accurate than emails. we strive for accuracy.

Community Photo Shoots: MoveOn Flickr

I remember sitting down with the Sierra Club staff and talking about a" day in the life" and all the work the club staff put into telling the story of its members and painting a real face on the movement. Flickr has done a similar job for the rest of us.

MoveOn Photos

Flickr makes it easy for folks to add photos. For folks to find them and to display images on a site. We tagged photos at work for our mobilactive conference a few months ago. (MobileActive Slide Show)

Your group should consider using the same service.

There is a great post on PDF digging into the process a bit more. Flickr: The Best $24.95 MoveOn Ever Spent | Personal Democracy Forum.

“So in March and April of this year, we started talking to the guys over at Flickr about the idea of building a distributed photo approval and storage application around their API.” An API—application program interface—is a bit of software that enables different programs to talk to each other. “The goal,” he says, “was to allow users to upload and view photos from any MoveOn event, while making sure that inappropriate pictures got filtered out.”

The system they built has two main parts: an email based photo uploader and a distributed photo approval application. It works like this, according to Kane:

We setup an email account for a campaign. Campaigners can associate any number of tags with that email account. Folks email photos in as attachments. A script looks at each email, finds the ones that have photos and uploads them to Flickr. On the MoveOn side, we keep some metadata about the photo: when it was uploaded, whether the person who sent them in was a MoveOn user or not etc.

At this point, the photos are all private -- the public can't view them. So, MoveOn volunteers use the "photo booth" application to review uploaded photos. Each photo gets at least two votes. If it's approved.

Beautiful! Who is going to sort all your photos and filter them? Your network of course.