Saturday, May 2, 2009

Reconnecting to Why To Connect

I have decided to reconnect to why I started this in the first place. It was to learn and share. The learning was whatever interested me with more specific focus on issues being dealt with through the Millennium Development Goals. The sharing was with whomever was interested. It is not going to change the Web 2.0 world, but I was quite happy when Youth for International Human Rights is clicked 61 times, or 36 clicks for the MIT video Technologies Changing Communities, Communities Innovating Technology or 34 clicks for my own post Designing Your Future and Your Success as a Team Effort.

Another aspect of blogging that was enjoyable was seeing people across the globe connect with what I was sharing. People find me through Google. One popular search is "millenium development goals obama", and I take satisfaction that Milestones for a New Millennium comes up on the first page. Another from the UK was "web 2.0 on social impact" at which I was at last look at the number one spot. Now this does not mean I am now taking the Web 2.0 world by storm. Much of this is the fact I focus on areas without much competition, which is unfortunate because they are very worthwhile causes, and luck in choosing the right words.

The other measure is how long people will spend interacting with one of my posts. Most visitors don't even register, though hopefully they read some of it. I figure two minutes on web time, equal to about 20 minutes off-web time indicates some engagement. Somebody spent a couple of minutes at my Making Hope Last Longer Than Hunger that I did for BloggersUnite and then clicked to their site. Which is part of the whole idea, getting others to find interesting, informative and inspiring sites. Somebody from NYU.EDU found my blog Milestones for a New Millennium through Google "Business and human rights: Towards operationalizing the 'protect, respect and remedy' framework", though admittedly not on the first page, and through it connected with the Business and Human Resource Centre. That took them 14 seconds. Somebody in Oklahoma City visited my Milestones for a New Millennium blog. and found TED talks Rethinking Poverty on the site. The trouble has been that I have been getting far fewer of these connections lately and could only come up with a couple of examples to share. That is going to change.

Now a Slacktivist Still Not All That Social of One

In the beginning the idea was to experiment with this blog to see what could be learned. A good deal was learned including the fact that I enjoyed doing it. Those lessons were then applied to a new blog. Again, it was a matter of learning and sharing those discoveries which was also found to be enjoyable.

Part of the sharing was connecting with other people. Currently I am on Facebook, Orkut, Bloggers Unite, BlogCatalog, and a number of other communities. Now I am still not all that social. I am a nice person, cordial and all, but getting a thousand Facebook or Orkut friends is not a main objective, even though I have met many very good and caring people. I will usually friend anybody who asks unless it is blatantly obvious that it is just a sales pitch. I will even friend those with subtle sales pitches, be they market oriented or political causes. I just don't spend any time looking for people. I connect with the idea first then the people.

Lately though, I find myself being drawn into the world to the Slacktivist. I do believe that there is a place for Slacktivists in the Web 2.0 Activist World. They are, we are, an essential part of the collective wisdom to bring about change. The professional activists are not going to do it without us. The problem is that it starts replacing the original focus of what I was doing which was learning and creating my own paradigms instead of clicking to respond to somebody else's. I know have 178 action invitations of the whole spectrum of causes. This are from very good people, but it does not leave any time for why I started all of this. So I am reasserting some balance and will begin making my blogs the main focus again.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Using Technology To Help People Change Their Own Community

Web 2.0 and the Internet are a new medium, but they are not an end in themselves. At some point all of this has to come off of the computer screen and go on to the streets. This is all of little use if it only applies virtually to Second Life worlds. MIT has had a number of conferences and seminars on the use of the Web for community building but this particular one is a bit more person on person in its approach. The authentic voice is from the community, helping to find and express that voice can be assisted using the tools of Web 2.0.

  • “With community-based media projects, you must believe with all of your heart that people in that community have the best knowledge of anyone in the world about their own community.”

    Alexa Mills
  • tags: innovating, MIT, colab, community-planning

    • The best way to help a community help itself, say Dayna Cunningham and Alexa Mills, is to enable its members to find their voices and talk to each other. In several projects in the U.S. and overseas, the two speakers are developing methodologies for enabling communities to express and define themselves, so they may become more engaged in a larger civic and political process.
  • tags: colab, MIT, innovation, community-planning, innovator

    • The Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) is a center for research and practice within the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP).

      CoLab supports the development and use of knowledge from excluded communities to deepen civic engagement, improve community practice, inform policy, mobilize community assets, and generate shared wealth.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spending a few minutes of Caring (again) about Social Enterprise -

One of the original pathways to be explored through this blog was Social Entrepreneurship. I have not explored this area to any great extent for some time, but below are some links I ran across over the last few months. Even though my other blog focuses on the United Nation Millennium Development Goals, it will still be Social Entrepreneurs who will come up with many if not most of the on-the-ground solutions.

Sam Davidson back on February 9, 2009 wrote about being On Board the Social Enterprise.

He links to Wikipedia for a definition of social entrepreneurship and provides one of his own.

This rapidly growing sector is comprised of businesses, individuals and organizations who are actively working to make the world a better place by making sure that they contribute to positive social actions and ideas such as the triple bottom line.
He recommended spending five minutes today reading about social entrepreneurship, and finding a social enterprise to support.

I haven't touched upon this area for a good long while and so will hopefully be spending more than 5 minutes exploring what is out there. Sam uses Wikipedia again to define the triple bottom line. Here is another one from the Dictionary of Sustainable Management.

An addition of social and environmental values to the traditional economic measures of a corporation or organization's success. Triple Bottom Line accounting attempts to describe the social and environmental impact of an organization's activities, in a measurable way, to its economic performance in order to show improvement or to make evaluation more in-depth. There are currently few standards for measuring these other impacts, however. The phrase was coined by John Elkington, co-founder of the business consultancy SustainAbility, in his 1998 book Cannibals with Forks: the Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business.

The are a number of other definitions, one featured on my other blog is What is a Social Entrepreneur? |

Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change.

Social Entrepreneurship from the Free Management Library

"Nonprofits have to recognize that they're businesses, not just causes. There's a way to combine the very best of the not-for-profit, philanthropic world with the very best of the for-profit, enterprising world. This hybrid is the wave of the future for both profit and nonprofit companies."-- From "Genius At Work" - an interview with Bill Strickland, CEO of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and the Bidwell Training Center Inc.

Social Entrepreneurship - provides a Primer on Social Entrepreneurship

That said, it's possible to paint a broad outline of the field based on current practices. Organizations driven by social entrepreneurs (often referred to as "social enterprises") tend to draw strategies from both the for-profit and non-profit sectors and often harness specific economic opportunities in their pursuit of social value. They employ earned income strategies to fund their activities, emphasize social impact measurement, and generally focus on achieving "scale," or adapting their model to a variety of contexts. Perhaps most importantly, social entrepreneurs tend to desire not only to meet a specific social need, but change the way those needs are met, in general.

There is a tremendous amount of information out there on the Web, it is just a matter of getting the time to get to it and digest it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Long Tail - Stretching to make Free Profitable

One of the economic concepts explored previously by this website is that of the Long Tail. It is one of a number of concepts being studied in an attempt to understand how sustainable development and businesses might function. If businesses do not maximize profits by selling with exclusivity to their richest clients or mass marketing to the fairly affluent middle and lower classes, how to they keep in business? Is there a "market" to be found at the bottom billion or does that require a non-ending program of government handouts whether at the local or global level? Bottom-line question can a business model be created out of giving things away for free?

CHRIS ANDERSON, the editor in chief of Wired magazine, and the author of "The Long Tail" and "Free," which will be published in July, explores the concept of The Economics of Giving It Away in this article.
In a battered economy, free goods and services online are more attractive than ever. So how can the suppliers make a business model out of nothing?

Related Posts:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Importance Getting a Single Message from a Social Media Network

I have been thinking about how organizations, and especially what I call change-agent organizations, can use Web 2.0 tools to get their message across with the greatest impact. This combines both marketing and organizational concerns. Social Media involves networks and groups but the agents are still individuals. How individuals collaborate within a group will define the message of that group.

Scott Briscoe on 11/3/08 wrote the article The headline was a no brainer in Acronym. His article links to how it read on The Washington Post website.

"Online social networking sites, or socnets, are changing how people get their political news.

Scott's point, "What the article made me think about was that it's one thing to believe that change is occurring, it's quite another to be doing something about it — what are associations doing about it?"

If political advocacy is a major part of your mission, do you know the quantity and quality of the involvement of people affiliated with your organization in social media? Are they pushing forward ideas that synch with your organization? ... How are you training members to get involved in these areas? The circle of people who are engaging in these online communities has grown too large, and the circle who read without engaging is also larger still. ... In 2008, it's too numerous to count in both large and small ways. ... The next page is already beginning to turn; you need to make sure your organization has something to say about what is written on it.

Relate Posts:

Economic CPR with Web 2.0 Help or Hurt?

We have an ever evolving relationship with the Internet and Web 2.0, as individuals, as societies and perhaps as change-agent organizations. What the relationship is depends to a great largely, though not always, on how old you are and what is more important where you live. Below are a series of articles from the New York Times and other sources that I have run across over the last month or so.

At Harvard Business Voices Tom Davenport asks the question that seems to be asked by many of my generation, Is Web 2.0 Living on Thin Air?

I have highlighted some points from the article to get to the meat of his argument.
Instead of finding more ways for us to all yap at each other, in this more sober economy we may want to emphasize other priorities. What new products and services will make for better, healthier lives and relationships? How can companies improve their performance? How can teenagers improve their math and science skills, instead of their texting skills?

But it wouldn't be a bad outcome if the current crisis led to a more diligent, industrious economic climate. Chatting and socializing are important things, but they're not the only things.
Tamar Lewin's New York Times article makes a counter argument that Millennials are OK and that Teenagers' Internet Socializing is Not a Bad Thing US | November 20, 2008

Good news for worried parents: All those hours their teenagers spend socializing on the Internet are not a bad thing, according to a new study by the MacArthur Foundation.

Hanging out online helps teenagers develop "technological skills and literacy," a researcher
Mizuko Itoon a new study “Living and Learning With New Media.” said“...their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world. They’re learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page.”

What is interesting me more these days is how this works socially to empower people. Because it does have the potential to empower people, governments are wary of it. NOAM COHEN discussed on December 08, 2008, in Link by Link: The Freedoms That Technologies Help Bring. The issue was the Egyptian government demand that Apple disable the phone's global-positioning system, because GPS is a military prerogative.

Arvind Ganesan, director of the business and human rights program of Human Rights Watch, placed the issue in a larger context.
(F)reedom of information as part of the broader, better known, freedom of expression. Transparency about the government’s budget, for example, can be crucial to eliminating corruption and instituting democratic reforms.

(S)econd, he argued that it was important for technology companies to set principles and follow them. “Here is the big question for Apple: Is this an ad-hoc approach or is there a fundamental policy, balancing the freedom of expression and information with the demands of the government?”
The global perspective in regards to economic impact came on November 18, 2008 from ASHLEE VANCE who looked at Computing From Weather to Warcraft
The falling cost of supercomputer systems has allowed a broader range of corporations and institutions to buy them for everything from processing movie graphics to searching for oil.

The presence of supercomputers in emerging nations like China and India says as much about those countries’ growing national ambitions as the changing state of science and business.
Change-agent organizations must and are becoming a part of this new frontier. The question of whether to change is now moot, it is already happening. Defining the change is now the task. There are many seemingly well-established institutions in existence today that are not making the transition which will, I predict, find themselves floundering when younger and smaller institutions use these resources to define the agenda. This in itself is not that illuminating as many others have said the same thing, it is that I work for one of those well-established institutions.