I have only recently become aware of NetSquared Houston through their Meetup page. Last Tuesday I attended my second meeting with the NetSquared group. Ed Schipul asked me to share my thoughts here, based on a post I made on my blog. You can read the longer, original post there.
The NetSquared Houston events are organized/hosted by Ed Schipul of Schipul Web Marketing. I'm still learning about what NetSquared really is all about. So far, it's made a much better impression upon me than Wikipedia. I've come to feel that NetSquared is about putting the influencing powers of Web mongers like me to work for the greater good -- online, offline, wherever.
We had a small but lively group last night at the San Francisco Net Tuesday. Raphe Patmore, CEO, and Jinnan Cai, Technical Director, from Buzka were there all the way from Perth, Australia. Buzka is "a simple way to share all your favorite web stuff" in what they call "spots." For example, Jinnan showed me the Refugee Detention spot he created (screenshot above) to share links about refugee issues in Australia. The interface is easy to navigate, and you can view the links by title, description or thumbnails (they have a server creating screenshots of the pages).
Dan Bernstein of Business and Marketing from Meebo, "the web messenger that lets you access IM from absolutely anywhere," showed us how a fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Uppman, put the Meebome widget on her classroom web site so that students and their parents can IM her about homework and other stuff. Cute!!
The featured articles in the August 28th issue of Monday Developments, a publication of InterAction, are about using art, media and technology to promote international development. Their online resource page is full of links to related books, web sites, reports and articles about blogging, podcasting, RSS feeds, tagging, mobile advocacy and wikis (including some links to NetSquared and Tech Soup!). You can download the whole issue by clicking here.
In a nutshell there seems to be a gap between 2.0 "real-time" and the sources of information that are meant to provide relevant players with the needed information and insights, if these are delayed then ultimately so is the development of skills and experience. I have been tracking data for a while, and noticed a widening gap as the information deepens. I believe the trend is integral to the very nature of the source and "information providers":
Yesterday I came across an interesting piece on GigaOM about the "Fat Belly" (original piece linked here), that added on to Chris Anderson's Long Tail theory (read about it here). In a nutshell: Anderson's theory divides the power law distribution curve into two segments, a big head, a tall peak that represents things like top search queries, main current news issues, a blockbuster film, mass products etc... and rapidly drops and extends into a long tail, all the niche searches, stories, products, indie-music, B-movies etc... to put it simply, people search/buy/consume/are intereseted in "less of more". The GigaOM piece adds to the equation a middle bit, the fat belly, that gathers social networks, online communities, aggregators (like digg) etc...
Podcast volunteer Stace Carter has posted the audio recording from the NetSquared Conference of "Grassroots, Netroots and the End and Beginning of Politics" with Amy Goodman, Joan Blades and Micah Sifry on the NetSquared podcast. You can listen to it online by clicking on this icon, , or listen to it on iTunes by subscribing to our feed. Unfortunately, the iTunes Music Store isn't recognizing our new podcast feed, so here is another way to subscribe to the podcast with iTunes:
In 2005, more than 1,200 young people around the world created intimate works of collage art called "Peace Tiles." These individual pieces were assembled in large "adocacy murals" that were installed at various sites around the world on December 1, World AIDS Day.
The purpose of the activity was to engage young people in candid, supportive conversations about HIV/AIDS in their lives, and encourage them to share their "visual voice" through art. You can learn more about the extraordinary accomplishment of these young people at peacetiles.net
When will nonprofits learn what is common knowledge to politicians? Modern political strategy stands on three pillars: message, money, machine. The entry-level campaign strategist understands that the second two won’t come until the first pillar is set up..establish the clear message (and ideally condense it into a catchy sound bite).
Let’s face it, we have an uphill battle on money and machine. If we raise too much money--unrelated business tax, if we raise tpo little--program cuts, if we spend it promoting our cause--misuse of funds, if we hire savvy leaders—excessive compensation! If we hit the streets-unallowable costs; if we use our volunteer activists? Lobbying, If we hook up with local politicians? Loose your tax-exempt status!
But Message? There are no barriers in our way here. Who are we? What do we want to be? And once we know why we are here…what do we bring to the table? The later should be in the forefront of every givers mind.
If you are seeing a nonprofit version of a monopoly game (go directly to jail do not collect $200)…you are reading my mind.
WHEN YOU’RE UNDER A CLOUD…LOOK OVER THERE!
What to do when the message is already out there and it isn’t what you were wanting? Take a hint from the message masters: Politicians. Politicians are no strangers to scandal (did I say that with a straight face?). When they want to rebound after a scandal do they set up workshops on Accountability? NO. Do they write codes of conduct? NO. Do they hire compliance officers? Not a chance. They turn to the staple of magicians everywhere—misdirection. Give the public some compelling new vision, take their minds off the past and look toward a new future.