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[Net2 Portland] Join us for open source and nonprofits at PDXTech4Good!

This month we're excited to have two workshops — our regular first-Wednesday event, and a special event we're co-hosting with Techno-Activism 3rd Mondays about online privacy and security on Monday, Oct. 20. Read on for the details!

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Topics: pdxt4g, portland, roundup
ivan

[Net2 Portland] Getting People to Click DONATE on Your Nonprofit Website

Portland’s PDXtech4good recently invited Mazarine Treyz, founder of Wild Woman Fundraising to share her fundraising secrets. READ MORE

ivan

[Portland] Using Internet and Smartphone Tools to Engage & Support Volunteers

Volunteering and the internet

PDXTech4Good invited the amazing Jayne Cravens to their April gathering to talk about volunteer engagement using connected tools like smartphones and the web. Jayne shares her slides below.

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ivan

Thanks, Amy Sample Ward!

Amy Sample WardWhen I heard Amy Sample Ward was moving on from NetSquared, where she has been a community builder — both virtually and, more importantly, in the real world (80 cities!) — I figured it was a good time to say thanks. READ MORE

ivan

Social change takes more than social media

>

Social media doesn't mean you do less organizing — it means you (can) do it better, or at least differently. You still have to use all the old skills of coalition-building, strategic planning, creative social action, managing relationships and preventing burnout. None of that goes away just because you're engaging with people on Facebook instead of in town halls.

Read the complete post READ MORE

ivan

Hi, my name is Ivan Boothe

Hi folks! I'm one of two local organizers for Philadelphia NetSquared and Net Tuesdays. I was part of featured projects at the 2007 and 2008 NetSquared conferences with a nonprofit I helped to found in 2004, the Genocide Intervention Network:

Apart from NetSquared, I work as a consultant and web developer for nonprofits and social change groups around:

  • building online movements
  • creating engaging, supporter-driven websites
  • real-world activism that takes advantage of online social networks

Or, as I like to say, Rootwork powers grassroots networks from the bottom up. READ MORE

ivan

The Fire and the Food

Crossposted from Rootwork — feedback welcome!

In the past two days, posts began popping up on Twitter with the tag "#pman" — short for Piata Marii Adunari Nationale, the largest city square in the capital of Moldova. Students were organizing:

Ever since yesterday's announcement that Moldova's communists have won enough votes to form a government in Sunday's elections, Moldova's progressive youth took to the streets in angry protests. As behooves any political protest by young people today, they also turned to Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness about the planned protests and flashmobs.

Writers like the one above initially characterized this as a "Twitter revolution," modeled in the real-time use of Twitter seen during the G20 protests, election monitoring and crowd-sourcing the location of a certain torch when it was passing through San Francisco. (Thus a little different than the traditional nonprofit use of Twitter.)

It's certainly exciting to see technology being used in ways that amplify and extend the impact of movement organizing. I think it's easy, however, to misread the technology as the cause of the movement rather than as simply a tool of it.

Fire, for instance, was a society-changing tool. Its revolutionary potential, however — cooking food and thus making it more digestible, nutritious, and lasting — was only realized through its strategic use.

Some people, awed by the fire, seem to confuse it with the food. This is represented most clearly by Jon Pincus, who writes:

Twitter is a strategy.

He cites a number of campaigns that have used Twitter in successful ways as evidence of this claim. To me, though, this simply shows that Twitter can be an effective tool for a given strategy — but that's not automatically the case.

Consider this: Why did organizers execute a given campaign on Twitter and not, say, Identi.ca, FriendFeed, Jaiku or Ping.fm (similar microblogging services) — or, for that matter, through Facebook statuses or MySpace bulletins?

There's a tendency to collapse the strategy and the tool — to attempt to feast on the fire itself. To say, "This is what we want to accomplish, and, hey! there's a tool that does that!" — and then equate the tool with the strategy. But they're still separate thought processes and separate stages in developing a campaign.

It appears that Twitter was a good tool to use in the cases Jon cited and I mentioned above. But if organizers limit themselves to seeing Twitter as a strategy in and of itself — without considering the strategy apart from the tool — they risk overlooking ways to run a more effective campaign on other platforms, or augmenting a campaign using multiple platforms.

Worse, organizers risk giving supporters feel-good activism that quenches their desire for social change without actually moving the movement closer to a concrete goal, or putting any pressure on powerholders.

The strategy always comes first, and then you figure out which tool fits. The alternative? A forest fire.

Political pamphlets, phone trees and jam-the-faxes must have seemed like strategies in and of themselves when each technology first came out. But a campaign that didn't begin with a strategy to deploy those tools in an effective way wouldn't have been successful.

The "real-time coverage" use of Twitter, in the style of TXTMob, can be effective, and can even form part of the organization of a protest, as it did in the case of the Olympic torch. But that's not a strategy or even a revolution — it's simply street-level news. And in the case of Moldova, the organizing was happening elsewhere:

In fact Twitter did not play that big role. The story is quite simple — young and active bloggers decided to have a flash-mob action, lighting candles and 'mourning Moldova' because of Communists victory, which nobody recognized due to the multiple violations before and during the campaign. They agreed on the time and place of the action through the network of Moldovan blogs (blogs aggregator blogosfera.md), and social networks like Facebook/Odnoklassniki, etc.

In other words, the most effective tools to execute the strategy in question — organizing opposition to the regime and making it visible to other Moldovans — didn't include Twitter.

When Jon writes about Moldova (on the Progressive Exchange email list), he says:

It’s really good that the Moldovan students didn’t organize this revolution via Friendster or LiveJournal (which is still a platform for choice for many users in Eastern Europe). If they did, they would never have gotten as much attention from the rest of the world.

This perspective is an example of collapsing the strategy and the tool. More specifically: Getting attention from the rest of the world is not automatically the objective of any given social change movement.

Most social change organizers know this. There are moments when you want to focus on building awareness and/or getting media attention, but that's often not the primary focus of the campaign. In the case of the Moldovan students, it could be that what was most needed was a way to get organizers to identify and strategize with one another — in which case Twitter would have been a very poor (or at least fantastically blunt) tool.

Such perspective is possible only if you think of Twitter as one possible tool, perfect for use in some strategies and rather ineffective in others. A near-religious belief in Twitter (or any technology) as a strategy leads to a narrowing of the actual strategy — getting the world to pay attention becomes the goal, because, hey, that's what Twitter can be effective at doing!

In this case, organizers might have gotten attention from beyond Moldova with a few dozen Twitterers, but failed at their primary goal of making opposition to the regime visible to other Moldovans.

As Alan Rosenblatt writes, different technologies have different ideologies, and tools that are more "inherently democratic" like Twitter can be used as tools within a strategy that empowers people to a much larger degree than one-way media like television. That doesn't negate the fact that the strategy — the reason for the campaign itself — must be laid out first.

Begin with your campaign's strategy — the food you want to eat. Then determine which technologies will best cultivate the fire within your supporters to achieve the social change you seek.

Crossposted from Rootwork — feedback welcome!

In the past two days, posts began popping up on Twitter with the tag "#pman" — short for Piata Marii Adunari Nationale, the largest city square in the capital of Moldova. Students were organizing:

Ever since yesterday's announcement that Moldova's communists have won enough votes to form a government in Sunday's elections, Moldova's progressive youth took to the streets in angry protests. As behooves any political protest by young people today, they also turned to Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness about the planned protests and flashmobs.

Writers like the one above initially characterized this as a "Twitter revolution," modeled in the real-time use of Twitter seen during the G20 protests, election monitoring and crowd-sourcing the location of a certain torch when it was passing through San Francisco. (Thus a little different than the traditional nonprofit use of Twitter.)

It's certainly exciting to see technology being used in ways that amplify and extend the impact of movement organizing. I think it's easy, however, to misread the technology as the cause of the movement rather than as simply a tool of it.

Fire, for instance, was a society-changing tool. Its revolutionary potential, however — cooking food and thus making it more digestible, nutritious, and lasting — was only realized through its strategic use.

Some people, awed by the fire, seem to confuse it with the food. This is represented most clearly by Jon Pincus, who writes:

Twitter is a strategy.

He cites a number of campaigns that have used Twitter in successful ways as evidence of this claim. To me, though, this simply shows that Twitter can be an effective tool for a given strategy — but that's not automatically the case.

Consider this: Why did organizers execute a given campaign on Twitter and not, say, Identi.ca, FriendFeed, Jaiku or Ping.fm (similar microblogging services) — or, for that matter, through Facebook statuses or MySpace bulletins?

There's a tendency to collapse the strategy and the tool — to attempt to feast on the fire itself. To say, "This is what we want to accomplish, and, hey! there's a tool that does that!" — and then equate the tool with the strategy. But they're still separate thought processes and separate stages in developing a campaign.

It appears that Twitter was a good tool to use in the cases Jon cited and I mentioned above. But if organizers limit themselves to seeing Twitter as a strategy in and of itself — without considering the strategy apart from the tool — they risk overlooking ways to run a more effective campaign on other platforms, or augmenting a campaign using multiple platforms.

Worse, organizers risk giving supporters feel-good activism that quenches their desire for social change without actually moving the movement closer to a concrete goal, or putting any pressure on powerholders.

The strategy always comes first, and then you figure out which tool fits. The alternative? A forest fire.

Political pamphlets, phone trees and jam-the-faxes must have seemed like strategies in and of themselves when each technology first came out. But a campaign that didn't begin with a strategy to deploy those tools in an effective way wouldn't have been successful.

The "real-time coverage" use of Twitter, in the style of TXTMob, can be effective, and can even form part of the organization of a protest, as it did in the case of the Olympic torch. But that's not a strategy or even a revolution — it's simply street-level news. And in the case of Moldova, the organizing was happening elsewhere:

In fact Twitter did not play that big role. The story is quite simple — young and active bloggers decided to have a flash-mob action, lighting candles and 'mourning Moldova' because of Communists victory, which nobody recognized due to the multiple violations before and during the campaign. They agreed on the time and place of the action through the network of Moldovan blogs (blogs aggregator blogosfera.md), and social networks like Facebook/Odnoklassniki, etc.

In other words, the most effective tools to execute the strategy in question — organizing opposition to the regime and making it visible to other Moldovans — didn't include Twitter.

When Jon writes about Moldova (on the Progressive Exchange email list), he says:

It's really good that the Moldovan students didn't organize this revolution via Friendster or LiveJournal (which is still a platform for choice for many users in Eastern Europe). If they did, they would never have gotten as much attention from the rest of the world.

This perspective is an example of collapsing the strategy and the tool. More specifically: Getting attention from the rest of the world is not automatically the objective of any given social change movement.

Most social change organizers know this. There are moments when you want to focus on building awareness and/or getting media attention, but that's often not the primary focus of the campaign. In the case of the Moldovan students, it could be that what was most needed was a way to get organizers to identify and strategize with one another — in which case Twitter would have been a very poor (or at least fantastically blunt) tool.

Such perspective is possible only if you think of Twitter as one possible tool, perfect for use in some strategies and rather ineffective in others. A near-religious belief in Twitter (or any technology) as a strategy leads to a narrowing of the actual strategy — getting the world to pay attention becomes the goal, because, hey, that's what Twitter can be effective at doing!

In this case, organizers might have gotten attention from beyond Moldova with a few dozen Twitterers, but failed at their primary goal of making opposition to the regime visible to other Moldovans.

As Alan Rosenblatt writes, different technologies have different ideologies, and tools that are more "inherently democratic" like Twitter can be used as tools within a strategy that empowers people to a much larger degree than one-way media like television. That doesn't negate the fact that the strategy — the reason for the campaign itself — must be laid out first.

Begin with your campaign's strategy — the food you want to eat. Then determine which technologies will best cultivate the fire within your supporters to achieve the social change you seek. READ MORE

ivan

Using Facebook for social change: The webinar

Crossposted from Rootwork.org.

Just a quick note to say I'll be speaking as part of Social Actions' free "Using Facebook for Social Change" webinar on Thursday, along with Susan Gordon, the nonprofit coordinator of Causes, and moderated by Beth Pickard and David Karp of Firstgiving.

You're invited to join in a live and open text chat to discuss how you can use Facebook for social change. This is your opportunity to share experiences and ask questions about how people and orgs can do outreach, inspire action, and fund raise on the Facebook network.

The webinar is part of Social Actions' Change the Web Conversation Series.

I'll be talking about some of the successes the Genocide Intervention Network has had in using Facebook and Causes to engage its member base, increase the impact of advocacy campaigns, and raise (a little) money.

RSVP for the event, happening Thursday, Feb. 26, at 11 AM PST/2 PM EST. (Note that if you're not already a member of Social Actions, you'll need to sign up before you can RSVP, but it's free.)

I invite you to ask questions in the comments below ahead of time and I'll do my best to answer them during the event!

--Ivan Boothe, Rootwork.org READ MORE

ivan

N2Y3Con: Building Communities with Free Chocolate: Alexandra Samuel, Social Signal

LIVE BLOG: Alexandra Samuel of Social Signal is presenting on "Bringing Your Community to Life" at the NetSquared Conference. I'm Ivan Boothe, liveblogging for Rootwork and Philly NetSquared.

::: READ MORE

ivan

Thanks for supporting the Genocide Intervention Network!

Thank you to all those who supported the Genocide Intervention Network's proposal for the NetSquared Mashup Challenge! We were honored to be nominated by the community as a 2008 Featured Project for our proposal to upgrade and extend the DarfurScores.org website:

The Genocide Intervention Network seeks to create a new website, modeled on our successful Darfur congressional scorecard, DarfurScores.org, tentatively named GenocideScores.org.

Our current plan for the site — which could change as we explore different options and hear feedback from our members — has four main components:

  •  Calling on Congress to Stop GenocideCollecting together anti-genocide data, not only on Darfur but on each of our areas of concern. Instead of being limited to only legislative records, each state would list its status on other anti-genocide initiatives like Sudan divestment and genocide education.
  • Provide clear illustrations of legislative status. Instead of just hearing about a bill when a member of Congress does (or doesn't) vote for it, we'll be tracking bills as they move through each chamber.
  • Cross-index a bill's status with a member's location. When the latest bill on genocide prevention is up for a vote, anti-genocide activists whose members of Congress represent key votes on the legislation will be able to receive automatic alerts.
  • Provide embeddable badges or widgets for activists to place on their profiles, blogs or websites. At a glance, both you and visitors to your website, blog or social networking profile will be able to see how your state and legislators are doing on the question of genocide. And when urgent action is needed, these badges will be automatically updated with a special link to take action.

Now, we want your feedback. If you have a chance, read through our proposal for DarfurScores.org and leave a comment — tell us what you like, what you think could be changed, what we're overlooking. Remember that this is all about our core mission: empowering individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide. We hope this project will result in a valuable new tool, and we'd love to have your input!

—Ivan Boothe, Internet Strategy Coordinator for the Genocide Intervention Network

P.S. If you're interested in the work we're doing, follow us on Twitter! READ MORE

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