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September 2007
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November 2007

H2O Playlist: About H2O

Link: H2O Playlist: About H2O.

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

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

H2O Playlists make it easy to:

transform traditional syllabi into interactive, global learning tools

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

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

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

communicate and aggregate knowledge -- online and offline.

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

Ill set up a netcentric play list

YouTube - Pachelbel Bedtime

My wife and her friends group sent this around a few weeks ago. As a father of 3, I laughed way too hard and got a little choked up. Another friend also just forwarded it on as well. It is viral. It has more viewers than most of the political video. It is genuine people to people communication.

How much does the setting and the quality of video add to the power?
It seems like a peek into a family and it is reassuring because so many of us have been that exhausted, over whelmed and fueled by joy and contentment at the same time.

If your group works with parents send it out. Link parenting to the cause. How can we not help with health care? When does war make sense when you do this for 18 years only to watch the politicians then use your hard work as a pawn in global conflict? Like the classic music it is set to, there are universal parenting beauty and this poor dad has nailed it in the song. Beautiful.

MobileActive. Why are we not all over Cell phones for organizing

We organized MobileActive because one of the next key tools for organizing social change must be the cell phone. What % of your activities are piloting and testing the use of cell phones as the core organizing and communication tool of your base?

We are going to get so left behind by culture on this. I am not seeing nearly enough investment in social organizing with cell phones. It is one of the trends that worries me most about the movement.

| Denver OpenMedia : 27 minute show

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

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

Link: | Denver OpenMedia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YouTube - Broadcast Your Cause.

Youtube Nonprofit Program... Get busy. first 300 nonprofits get a video camera. You own a news channel.

Link: YouTube - Broadcast Yourself..

Does your organization have a compelling story to tell? Do you want to connect with your supporters, volunteers, and donors but don't have the funds to launch expensive outreach campaigns?

YouTube can help. Video is a powerful way to show your organization's impact and needs, and with a designated "Nonprofit" channel on YouTube, you can deliver your message to the world's largest online video community.

Smart Mobs » Blog Archive » Assignment Zero: Valuable Lessons

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

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

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

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

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

At the Poles, Melting Occurring at Alarming Rate -

Some days, ,,, Jeez, I wonder why people just hide themselves from news. 2005-2007...

Link: At the Poles, Melting Occurring at Alarming Rate -

For scientists, global warming is a disaster movie, its opening scenes set at the poles of Earth. The epic already has started. And it's not fiction.

The scenes are playing, at the start, in slow motion: The relentless grip of the Arctic Ocean that defied man for centuries is melting away. The sea ice reaches only half as far as it did 50 years ago. In the summer of 2006, it shrank to a record low; this summer the ice pulled back even more, by an area nearly the size of Alaska. Where explorer Robert Peary just 102 years ago saw "a great white disk stretching away apparently infinitely" from Ellesmere Island, there is often nothing now but open water. Glaciers race into the sea from the island of Greenland, beginning an inevitable rise in the oceans.

Animals are on the move. Polar bears, kings of the Arctic, now search for ice on which to hunt and bear young. Seals, walrus and fish adapted to the cold are retreating north. New species -- salmon, crabs, even crows -- are coming from the south. The Inuit, who have lived on the frozen land for millennia, are seeing their houses sink into once-frozen mud, and their hunting trails on the ice are pocked with sinkholes.

The Machine is US... Movement Organizer Inspiration

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

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

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

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

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

A little outrage for Thomas L. Friedman

First...I often like what THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN writes... but today....where does this guy get off pushing on netnatives gen for not having enough outrage or courage? You looked at the advertising that qualifies for news lately? In his latest "Generation Q" (obviously a lame test balloon for a term in a new book.) He stabs us organizers in the face. He wants outrage. I got some outrage for you Friedman...Psssst just popped open a can of it...

If I see one more hippie trash talk modern activists because we are not out in the street getting high and smoking reefer at the daily lovein ...i am really going to go nuts. Huge numbers of the baby boom and bomb generation (there is a term for your book) of (which Friedman is a card carrying member) continues to set up these false divisions of on-land and online organizing... I will go nuts.

He writes it, candidates think it, old policy wonks let it permeate their strategy and funders ...(gotta save that for another day...don't get me started...)

What world is he in as he wrote "Generation Q" ? When was the last time a bunch of luddites accomplished ANYTHING in modern American politics? Without strong media/communications/technical leadership fueling the change, the campaign might as well be playing in a closet. We are not building a physical structure. We are creating social change. We are fighting a battle of public opinion and fighting for public interest. Many people work those opinions out online. They build and test courage standing in front of the internet and announcing who they are.

Did you walk/drive past any protest today? Oh wait did you take a brochure from a 20something in the street? Would you? Who were they? What were they protesting about today? (wish you had the answer in an email? How are you going to find out who it was? read the paper or google for it? If is is not online do you have a snowballs chance in hell of helping them right now do you? )

It is this kind of irresponsible know-nothing rant (in the NYT of all places) that makes it so much harder to get support for the best leaders, infrastructure and logistics systems needed for change he often wants. Organizing online and offline are now integrated not easily in a technical sense but in a real and personal sense. It might be as simple as skype call among the organizers, listserves, or blogs and google docs. It might even range up to online donations, text messaging, youtube, picking music and distributed volunteer management. Almost every good organizer uses some online tools and technology. You have to start to click in your carbon strategy. Not as a click to a congress that ignores you but clicks to other peers to get stuff done, to organize.

None of the change we want is going to happen without both elements.... Friedman just doesn't see it. He doesn't get it cause he is not really on any activist email lists or the organizer of a campaign. Reporters are usually at the tailpipe of the change machine. They are leaked and spinned. They are cultivated by change makers. They are tools for Scooter Libby or the locel PTA. They are most often seen as a part news machine to be used as part of an organizing strategy. (Not the great outraged reporters that dig the great stories that drive change (many even at NYT) like secret prisons, secret flights, wiretapping,etc.)

I am thinking a just a few examples where online organizing is and was changing the world and TF was out of the loop. The online world was organizing the largest street protest : Friedman pushing for fines.big fences and plugging his book... OR 23 year old organizing peace movement online : TF advocates getting Tony Blair as a Dem candidate ny Times gives 911-peace no coverage.

Does it surprise me? No. He is a busy guy. He is often a brilliant guy. BUT WHY THE HELL IS HE ATTACKING AND DISSING something he knows little about? It is as if he just wanted to slam the kids on the keyboards. Or say how great it was that the civil rights fight had to be fought with physical courage against dogs, water cannons and bricks?

I would bet dollars to donuts that the students even in this article he writes connected to work on AIDS and in El Salvador because of online coordination. Most of the vigils and marches (peace, immigration, jenna 6, IMF) are organized online and moved off-line. It is totally irresponsible to paint either/or scenarios. Leaders that are not online are not a part of culture. Leaders that are only online are not a part of culture. ...To create change doesn't take just outrage. It takes leadership, strategy, communications and people. (and those netnatives hangout -- yes "hangout" live, breathe, find entertainment, game, date, build friendships and

I often feel like Tom Friedman views of the world so it fits his up narrative (book revision?). When he riffs on this nonsense in the NYT, he makes getting support for real work harder. One more old hippy in charge of a social change movement can hide their failures blaming the younger generations for their failures. Yeah ...nice. If only we should be more like it was in the 60's, 70's and 80's ...maybe we should step slowly away from our keyboards and let mass media build our distribution channels?

We did that. It left us in a war, with huge deficits and almost no political infrastructure in place to solve the really big problems that the bomb,boom generation is leaving in their wake.

I don't doubt that groups can get people to the streets. Look at GOTV. but for what end? DOes a million people stop ...war (no tried that) handgun violence (no tired that) climate destruction (no tried that)... What gets attention? Netroots kicking in 27 million dollars to campaigns, flooding out 7 million phone calls and X other activites.

TF ,,,,not everyone works at the NYT and can broadcast a story about drowning polar bear to 9 million people. It takes hard work to develop a reliable distribution channel. We need communication lines for for day to day organizing and hell raising. It is a logistical nightmare to coordinate 10 people much less 100,000 or 3 million. The only way change is going to happen at the scale and tempo we need is if online and offline are married. We build the coordination capacity email by email, social network by social network, with each new friendook. We also do it with street event by street event and meetup .

Additionally, I don't agree with Friedman's view of the world. People are standing under the guns and showing courage....where did they get that resolve? Where did they organize? Where did they find a community to talk to that says you are right...keep fighting... I'll tell you ... it was online. Why don't you know about them? Well they don't get media coverage. They don't have enough online strategiest and infrastucture to move thier message and story in a world overloaded with news-er-tainment.

Where did the peace movement start? 9/13 Eli organized 500,000 start to end a war. Where did the progressives get reorganized and find a backbone in the face of total republican control... ? Where are the people who are not connected to anything online (no online petitions, no online donations, no online email and other coordination doing anything???? .....when was the last time the Amish drove a national movement.

Quite frankly, lots of stuff shows that to this younger hellraising generation putting an issue on their myspace or facebook is as public of a commitment as showing up at one of Friedman's hippie love ins. Hey I know the folks arrested at the convention, I know the protester. They are driven and coordinated with online and offline strategy married together.

Don't get me started man is this kind of lazy "look at my daughters friends" ....critique of modern organizing that I fight with every old hippy. ANd now they can just quote the NYT as part of thier armor.

world is flat,Thomas L. Friedman clueless on the revolution of flat organizing. Connect the dots Tom.

but hey you asked for outrage ( Here is a little outrage online and onland ... FUh2)

Lessons from Online Community Summit « Connectable Dots

This is worth going over on how to keep online community healthy and engage new members. Gail started "the Well" and is pushing out notes from Forum One's Community Conference.

Link: Lessons from Online Community Summit « Connectable Dots.

xamples of high barrier to entry include — Social networking for doctors: Trusted by physicians because they look up your license to admit you to hang around with other doctors. (That’s way tougher than The WELL!)

* Research on collaboration implies designers should assign challenging specific goals!

This was tested at the research project at the Movie Lens site. The site’s goal was to get lots of user-rated movies.

* Don’t just ask to “please rate as many as you can” but ask people for specific targets: please rate 10 this week was compared to please rate 30; 90; 120. PROVEN: a specific goal is preferable, and a higher goal works even better so long as it is doable. (A drop off in contributions was seen when they asked for 120 movie ratings in a week. Most likely this was seen as impossible. Researchers expected a softer goal to keep the group happier and performing better, but saw the higher but not impossible goal of 90 yielded the best outcome.)

An audience question was asked about aggregate goals for group (Moveon, etc) From research on NPR fundraising, etc. aggregate goals DO help. Tell what others are donating or accomplishing … but tell about the 90th percentile, not top 10% of donors.

* Speculation from the researchers anticipated that people will shirk work that is assigned collectively to a group but the opposite effect was seen. An arbitrary group membership was announced to users. The other group members were unseen, there was no feedback or ability to observe the group’s work independently. Still, in this arbitrary group members showed loyalty to making the group succeed, and did better compared to those not told they were in a group.

* If you’ve got some kind of karma rating, when you show people at the bottom how they compare to median they will move up. (unless it looks impossible)

* If you tell top producers that they are excellent they will do less. (But they may do something different and even more special if challenged to do that.)

(He shared the amusing tidbit that Psych research (where deception is required in almost any test) and Economics research (where there is no deception allowed) were the two study types merged for this study. The solution: Selective truth. No lies used, but no whole truth was told to various sample groups.)

On welcoming newcomers:

* What happens in response to a first post or any initial contribution matters

* Getting a human response makes a 12% difference in retention.

* The tone of the response does not matter! Fights, praise, whatever!

* Accuracy of information in the response does not matter either! Response creates stickiness.

The Hawthorn effect is a problem in studying this stuff, too. (That’s from an old AT&T study in the 20s. More lighting = better productivity; then less lighting also = more productivity! One might cite the Hawthorn effect as a reason for redesigns, actually.)

Time to Revisit: Iowa Electronic Markets ~ Current Markets: 2008 U.S. Presidential Election Markets

One of my favorite sites. A must visit if you like to see network effect in action.

As of 10/9/2007 the markets are predicting a much closer race than the polls in winner takes all the network predicts (51% dems vs 48% rep)...the latest national polling is NYT and CBS (sept 4-9) has a Dem landslide (48% Dem to 32% REP)

Link: Iowa Electronic Markets ~ Current Markets: 2008 U.S. Presidential Election Markets.

The IEM 2008 U.S. Presidential Election Markets are real-money futures markets where contract payoffs will be determined by the popular vote cast in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election. There are currently two markets in this set:

* Pres08_VS -- based on vote shares won by the two major party candidates in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election
* Pres08_WTA -- a winner take all market based on the popular vote plurality winner of the 2008 U.S. Presidential election

See the market prospectuses for specific details of these markets.

Data:Information: Knowledge: What can we do in 2 years later?

Dave Pollard has consistently kicked out some brilliant ideas and observations. I ran across this one again Link: The Psychology of Information: Why we don't share. I like it because it provides a framework to start to dig into the reasons our movement is broken and it has a nice simple definition break between data, information and knowledge.

I use the definitions of data, information and knowledge shown at right. Information means literally "to put form to" and knowledge comes from the same root as the word "cunning" which suggests application, not collection. So, for example, laboratory sample results are data, a theory of the cause of a disease stemming from that data is information, and a vaccine for the disease is knowledge. Another example: Test scores of grade three students are data, an analysis of the learning needs of those students is information, and the resultant learning curriculum is knowledge.

We don't share the polling data and the consultants assessment of what the data shows us. WE just put out talking points. Maybe we can get foundations to start to breakup the results into the 3 discrete products. Voter file data, various analysis of voter files, then let the groups build voter activation strategies and knowledge from there rather than all the groups and progressives all investing in the data and information. We want to build actionable knowledge. We need data and information. To do that we must slowly break our organizations and the movement into a cohesive supply chain feeding out incremental data and information in "the commons" and compete on knowledge.

I also like the 16 resources for failure and wanted to riff on new thinking, ideas or tools solve the problems.

1 Bad news rarely travels -- We need an (Progressive campaigns disaster team (PCDT) a NTSB for progressive campaigns. What didn't work? What are the failure points? How do you find the failure points early? What data foreshadows failure in a campaign? How can those results be shared and turned into operating guidelines for field, communications, fundraising and donors? The PCDT should have quick and unfettered access and be looking at the systems failure (sure sometimes it is the pilot but what saftey systems prevent the pilot from making personal mistakes)

2. People share information generously peer-to-peer, Create a more transparent and open process for sharing information across peer groups. Foster more peer groups (river leaders, NOI, land trust alliance, web of change, nten, etc)

3. People find it easier and more satisfying to reinvent the wheel: Give them clear done: not done lists across organizations and movements and in investment portfolios: Make more work creative commons so people can remix and remash content, images, video, etc.

4. People only accept and internalize information that fits with their mental models and frames:
... stumped...

5. People cannot readily differentiate useful information from useless information: Most people are not very good at separating what's important from what's not.
: Group publication: group filtering: tagging.... There are lots of solutions emerging in this space. Publish to share. Publish so others know what you are interested in. Participate in discussions offline and online that focus on establishing group access to inforamtion and most importantly group filtering of information, data and knowledge that is important.

6. The true cost of acquiring information and the cost of not knowing are both greatly underestimated in most organizations: Shout that from the roof tops! We must design cheaper ways to collect information wikis, survey monkey, etc. ( distributed research) and movement scale software ( (benefits and network synchronizing effects built in beyond a single organization or campaign software).

7. People know more than they can tell, and tell more than they can write down: Start thinking of the web as more than a text conversation. We have jumped from text to video. We need to take a step back and think of the 200 million cell phones as a campaign channel ( How are we thinking about story telling and voice to open new and often more powerful communication into the mix of our advocacy. Not phone as sms machine but tapping the voice of the movement to share stories and insights.

8. People can internalize information presented graphically more easily and fully than information presented as text, and understand information conveyed through stories better than information presented analytically: Ultimately our brain can only process information by analogy to one or more of our senses. :)

9. Most people want their friends, and even people they don't know, to succeed, and people they dislike to fail We need to build social ties across more of the movement. The social ties should be cultivated as a strategic asset.

10. People are averse to sharing information orally, and even more averse to sharing it in written form, if they perceive any risk of it being misused or misinterpreted:
Foster some secure anonymous blogs and channels for information assessment and debate. (IOWA futures market) I would love to see all grants and initiatives of over $1,000,000 placed into a market analysis and then let the community and program officers and staff bet the likely winners and losers.

11. People are generally reluctant to admit they don't know, or don't understand, something: The higher in the hierarchy you are, the more this applies. So higher-ups tend to consult with other higher-ups, leading to groupthink, and to delegate searches for information to underlings somewhat cryptically.
All large institutions should have "fellows" programs shifting junior staff and diverse opinions through senior management meetings for 6-10 meetings. The reps should be able to submit anonymous group think alerts after each meeting to be mixed in with comments on group think from other management team members. This could be at a board meeting or senior staff and strategy level.

12. People don't take care of shared information resources: The poor condition of many centralized repositories -- obsolete, incomplete, and undecipherable content, and low use -- attests to the fact that the Tragedy of the Commons also applies to information.
Informaiton should be built in to start to create more data and intelligence form use and passively rather than just an "active" information system. (

13. Many organizations have internal performance evaluation systems that pit employees against each other for limited promotions or bonuses 'marked on the curve'.
In the campaign context it even spreads to the incentives across the movement. . Donor and media evaluation often pits groups against each other that they want to explicitly want to work together. New evaluation metrics around network participation and network leadership should be published for sectors of interest. What resourses did you give away to help others in your sector? what percentage of your overall budget is that? How many outside events and meeting did you attend? how many one to many vs. many to many communication channels has your campaign established? Name three times you negotiated away from your original position because others had better ideas, plans, websites, or field operatives? Whose work is better than yours in this issue area?

14. Some modest people underestimate the value of what they know:
...stumped....please share ya ll.

15. We all learn differently: the format is likely to be suboptimal for most of the people involved.
develop a check list for learning types and look at how the content and campaign can connect across different types of learners. How do people get hands on with the concepts?

16. Rewards for sharing knowledge don't work: Knowledge sharing must be designed to be organic, driven by a desire for success and cultural. If knowledge sharing across organizations is the key stumbling block then the organic connections, tools, metrics and culture must be crafted both inside the organizations and beyond at a macro-organizational design level. (Women's Health and Environment Initiative,,

As a movement, we often try to share "knowledge" as finished product but we are really bad exposing data and information that all of us could use to improve our strategy and effectiveness. For example... We have lots of great how to write email guides or press guides but few places to turn to dig into the data of how many press meetings, press calls and press releases did the successful campaign send? Where is our collective data and information that feeds the knowledge of how to do better advocacy? There are small groups of nerds that share data and information on GOTV activities, direct mail, etc. but exchange is not where it should be for allied movements.

Revolution in Jesusland » Almost speechless

Zack Exley is doing an amazing blog digging into the story, success, challenges and religion behind progressive Christian movement. He is digging into the themes and organizing inspiring crowds of people to see the progressive side of theology.

It is not just Christians that have this theme of self sacrifice, love, concern for others as opposed to the warlike zealotry that tends to define the religious to most media. Agnostics, atheists on one end of the spectrum to CNN's warriors of God are all over the spectrum. I like that Zack is digging into the movement on the ground and looking at what they are doing to engage, inspire and organize.

It is worth the RSS subscription...put it on the read list. It is weird to look to it as a political movement and critique it on those terms. Really none of that religion belongs in our political process. It belongs in our people but not in our politics and progressive or conservative I don't get my hopes up that true spiritual religious movements ever gain and long term traction if they focus on anything but connecting people to awakened spiritual experience. The minute it becomes about anything other than that spiritual goal then it feeds its own irrelevance. I am not sure how the "difference" in end goal matters but it does.

Link: Revolution in Jesusland » Almost speechless.

With governments that kill… …we will not comply.

With the theology of empire…
…we will not comply.

With the business of militarism…
…we will not comply.

With the hoarding of riches
…we will not comply.

With the dissemination of fear
…we will not comply.

But today we pledge our allegiance to the kingdom of God…
…we pledge allegiance.

To the peace that is not like Rome’s…
…we pledge allegiance.

To the Gospel of enemy love
…we pledge allegiance.

The question is do the pledges work? Are they any more powerful than the golden rule or the basic 10 that give these crowds the reason to be there. It is not these pledges that are interesting to me but the emerging culture of progressive theology within the heartland that might destabilize the power of the radical right.

Zack also has this riff comparing two experiences of the peace movement and progressive church experience. I am glad he wrote it. There is some good food for thought in there. I am not sure why but the analysis bugs me. Again because the goals are different.... The church is there to "save your soul" and all that jazz. The peace movement is to engage you in influencing your government and culture. I riff more on this as Zack kicks out the stories.

Harnessing the Power of informal campaign and political networks.

Worknets, social networks and campaign or issue networks all need infrastructure elements that support cohesion, animation and management.

This article is good but it draws some false lines around the difference between organic networks (people like) and managed networks (business like). Additionally, there is not a recognition that the reasons networks form is often to end-run official channels and breakout of defined work groups for ideas, resources and innovation. People vote with their feet and move away from any network that has the wrong balance between investment needed to stay "in" and the value the network provides.

These networks succeeded because the company formed them around focused topics closely related to the way work was carried out at the wells. Management also appointed the networks’ leaders, gave the members training, carefully identified the members of each network across the geographically dispersed company, made technology investments, and sponsored a knowledge-sharing team that collected and disseminated best practices.2


Companies need to build infrastructures to create and support formal networks. Such well-designed and well-supported formal networks remove bottlenecks and take much of the effort out of networking. Rather than forcing employees to go up and down hierarchical chains of command, formal networks create pathways for the natural exchange of information and knowledge. Individual members of networks don’t have to find one another through serendipity.

The challenge for campaigns of 10-500-50,000,000 people is to actually feel out the network health and then choose from the many interventions that create self-sustaining, self-healing, self-directed capacity for cohesion, animation and management.

Those functions are served by a mix of :
cohesion -> social ties, communications grid, common language
animation -> shared story, strong social ties, clarity of purpose and shared resources
management -> network leaders, feedback

Advocacy campaigns and social change efforts need to focus on network capacity of a fractured movement if we are ever going to realize the benefits of our distributed size and strength.