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NPTechTag Roundup: From Sandwiches to Chainsaws to Pregnant Podcasters!

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Flickr Photo by Ben Sheldon

As we head into the holiday next week, food is on my mind.  And what do I find in the nptech tag stream from flickr?  More photos from conference gathering of nonprofit techies? No!  A riff on the metaphor of sandwiches and nonprofit technology sustainability. 

Better yet, it is being shared by a creative commons share alike 2.0 license which means we are free to use it as long as we credit the photographer.

There was an interesting post about the pros and cons about the technology that drives the NpTechTag (social bookmarking services/RSS versus collaborative search engine.)   What do you think?

Blogosphere Chatter

NTEN releases the results of its information technology staff survey.  The good news is that a lot of nonprofits "get it" and are investing in technology, but a large investment gap exists between large and small nonprofits.  While not surprising, this information could be very useful to many organizations in making the case to decision-makers about the importance of IT investments.

NpTech: Google CSE Versus Socialbookmarking/RSS Feeds - What do you think?

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NonprofitTechBlog writes that the NpTechTag stream could be improved by  having the ability to add subcategories or "taxonomical terms so that we could understand more of the tagger's intent AND that other people can go back and retag it."  (Almost a year ago, the idea of subcategories for tags was discussed on Netsquared.) 

In addition, the NonProfitTechBlog find the tag stream's lack of archival and retrieval to be a big problem with its usefulness.

Help! Metrics for ROI on social-web initiative?

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I've been asked to come up with ROI metrics for a grant proposal that includes a major long-haul, long-view social-web initiative, involving:

  • Enterprise-wide blogging program for staff policy experts
  • Enterprise-wide initiative to train staff in use of social-networking tools of various kinds -- to bring staff online in a robust way, so that we are able to carry on many more simultaneous, varied conversations, build tighter relationships with constituents, and participate broadly in the live web.
  • effort to establish beachheads in external social-web communities -- in Flickr, MySpace, Upcoming.org, Digg.com, YouTube, LinkedIn, and so on. Focus would be not so much on putting institutional or campaign-related profiles in these contexts, as getting staff -- actual human beings, instead of a billboard -- participating in these communities.
  • Major effort to enlist constituents as primary messengers -- give them widgets, blogs, content-distribution tools, and so on, let them know their efforts to spread the word and lend us whatever they have to give -- time, creativity, whatever -- is critical to advancing my organization's mission.

What we really want to do is create passionate users -- nurture and develop "constituent evangelists."

Love + the Internet = Kiva: An Interview with co-founder Jessica Jackley Flannery

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Jessica Jackley Flannery is the kind of person who makes you feel at home right away, like she is truly happy to meet you, which is why I wasn't surprised when she said,

"Kiva started out of relationships and love, ideally I would love for that to be present in every single transaction that happens. People connecting."

Jessica is the co-founder, with her husband, Matthew Flannery, of Kiva, a nonprofit that is using the Internet to allow everyday philanthropists, like you and me, to loan money to budding entrepreneurs all over the world. She has worked in rural Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda with the Village Enterprise Fund, and Project Baobab on impact evaluation and program development. She is currently pursuing an MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Indians Use Google Earth and GPS to Protect Amazon

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Here's a very cool use of all these advanced online tools:

EXCERPT: "Deep in the most remote jungles of South America, Amazon Indians (Amerindians) are using Google Earth, Global Positioning System (GPS) mapping, and other technologies to protect their fast-dwindling home. Tribes in Suriname, Brazil, and Colombia are combining their traditional knowledge of the rainforest with Western technology to conserve forests and maintain ties to their history and cultural traditions, which include profound knowledge of the forest ecosystem and medicinal plants.  "

Houston Net Tuesday Recap - The importance of being a politically incorrect geek

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The Houston NetSquared November meetup was a free form discussion group with strong political themes (stronger than usual, I should say).

We met at our usual Stag's Head Pub location and were about 10 members strong this time.  The major points of discussion surrounded the recent election and how people deal with their political affiliations when it's often more correct 'not to say'.

Ed Schipul and several other attendees argued that it is this silence (in keeping with the whole politically correct sentiment) that bars any real progress.  If a group of like-minded individuals don't stand together to work for social/political change, than how will things get accomplished?

SF Net Tuesday Recap: Ma.gnolia & RootsCamp

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Last night 20-30 people gathered at Citizen Agency's Citizen Space (Thanks Tara Hunt and Chris Messina!) to hear Larry Halff talk about Ma.gnolia, and Nica Lorber report back from RootsCampSF.

The evening started out with Larry showing us a demo of how to create a group in Ma.gnolia by his creating a NetSquared group. He described the difference between del.icio.us and Ma.gnolia as that Ma.gnolia's primary goal is to bring information to a group and to create community. (You can read more about, Why is Ma.gnolia Different on their site).

In addition to the NetSquared group, other social changey Ma.gnolia groups you might want to check out are: Nonprofit Technology (nptech), Coworking Group, Green Development Environmental Nonprofits and Charities, and Philanthropy You can subscribe to any of the groups' bookmarks or discussions via RSS.

Larry also showed us a number of ways the bookmarks can be shared, such as publishing links into a sidebar of a blog. Tara Hunt pointed everyone to an organization they worked with, The Inspiration Festival, whose Ma.gnolia links were published on their site and reformatted to match the site's branding.

While Nica set up her laptop to talk about RootsCampSF, Chris gave us a quick history of BarCamp, which RootsCamp is based on. You can read some of the story here. The first BarCamp, "an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment," was created in six days by a handful of people in response to the invite-only FooCamp. 300 people showed up to the first BarCamp, and since then there have been over 80 BarCamps all over the world, and the model has taken many forms, including RootsCamp.

RootsCamp was created by Zack Exley after a conversation he had with Nica at a New Organizing Institute (NOI) training this summer. The target audience for RootsCamp is everyone involved in campaign organizing from the volunteer to the campaign manager--everyone's experience is valued equally.

Nica helped to organize the SFRootsCamp during the November 11-12 weekend. Notes from the event are available here. She described SFRootsCamp as an experiment in using techie tools to organize a non-techie group. Although she feels that the event was a success, there were challenges with the non-techie folks using the wiki, and the political organizers, unfamiliar with the BarCamp model, kept asking, "What's the agenda?"

"It's really hard to make organizers not organize," she said.

In addition to RootsCampSF, Andrew Hoppin organized a RootsCamp in Second Life November 8-14, which will most likely continue once a week through 2008, and other upcoming RootsCamps are: New York City. Nov 18, Bloomington, IN. Nov 17 and 18, Washington, DC. Dec 2-3, and Columbus, OH. Dec 1

The next San Francisco Net Tuesday will be on December 12 from 6-8 PM at Citizen Space (425 Second St. #300). Richard Cave, IT Director, and Barbara Cohen, Executive Editor, of PLoS (Public Library of Science) will speak. PLoS is a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. PLoS is helping to shape the global open access movement--which includes scientists, funders, publishers, librarians, patient advocacy groups, lawmakers, and many others.  UPDATE: Our speakers have changed for this month's Net Tuesday.  Matt Flannery, CEO and Co-Founder of Kiva.org, the first Web site to let anyone with a PayPal account be a "banker to the poor", and Pim Techamuanvivit (Chez Pim) a food blogger who raised $17,000 for UNICEF with her 2005 Menu for Hope campaign wil be speaking.  More info here.

Using the Social Web for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

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Since this week is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, I decided to see how different homeless shelters and food banks were using the social web. I also brainstormed a few ideas on how different communities can use the social web to share what they accomplished this week.
Here are a few examples of how shelters and food banks are using the social web:

The East Texas Food Bank has a video posted on YouTube at East Texas Food Bank - Better Choices/Healthier Lives

Nonprofit wikimag experiment

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For our training in San Jose tomorrow, I interviewed and wrote about Bradley Angel, an institution in the environmental justice movement. If you want to participate in this experiment, you can edit the article, or contribute your notes & comments. I've also updated our "Solicited Advice" column with notes from my meeting with Bill Kaufmann of Wikia. Click here for information on what this project is all about.

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