Homebrewed Rumination: Your website and the social web

Homebrewed Rumination

Join us for our next Net Tuesday event on August 4. This will be the second of our Summer Ale Series, “Homebrewed Rumination”.

We’ll have an interactive discussion about what to consider when integrating social elements into a website. We’ll be looking at such themes as how a website can:

  • Help people connect to one another
  • Aggregate information
  • Foster collaboration
  • Encourage self-expression
  • Reach out to the rest of the world

We’ll explore each of these themes in general, and then focus on applying them specifically to: a) Philly NetSquared’s own new, Drupal-based site (PhillyNetSquared.org); and b) other sites represented or suggested by those who show up and participate.In this way, we hope to accomplish two things… Let’s think together about how the new Philly NetSquared website might foster our individual and collective ideas and ambitions about “using the social web for social change”. And, at the same time, let’s talk about these principles in general, and how they might enhance your own site or cause.

So, bring your own perspective, creativity and open mind. RSVP’s are desired, but not required.

Looking ahead to September: Portal Pilsner! Network For Good, Causes and change.org, oh my! These days there are so many portals to use for raising money and engaging members in action on behalf of your cause. How do you choose which one(s) to be on? Does maintaining them take away from your other online efforts (e-news, blog, etc.)? Which ones have you been successful on? These questions and others will be discussed at our Portal Pilsner session, the last of our Summer Ale Series, on September 1. Have a story about a non-profit portal you want to share? E-mail Judah at jferst@buzzing4change.org.

Net Tuesday July 7: Activist Communities in the Midst of Social Media

summerlagerAs warm weather settles in, nothing’s more refreshing than a flight of Net Tuesday Summer Ales.

First up, on Tuesday, July 7 starting at 6 PM at Buffalo Billiards, 118 Chestnut Street: Communi-Lager! Chris Bartlett will present Activist Communities in the Midst of Social Media. He’ll share how he has used the tools of the trade — social networks Twitter, Facebook, Stickam, and Ning — to create a series of communities that support his community organizing. He’ll engage Net Tuesday participants in an inquiry about how we can use these tools to build community, strengthen social networks, and bring about powerful change in our communities. Key ideas for the night:

  •  The importance of connecting others — and not only yourself to others — as a strategy for social network organizing.
  • The timeline for face-to-face — how to bring about in-person connections that strengthen online ones.
  • Pitfalls of online organizing– fitting your strategies into your overall plan for getting things done.
    Most importantly, Bartlett will facilitate a conversation among participants to hear what is working for all of us. If Twitter (and other social media tools) are in fact transformative, we’ll hope to hear some stories of those transformations.

Chris Bartlett is a gay men’s health community organizer from Philadelphia. He directed the SafeGuards Gay Men’s Health Project in Philadelphia for ten years, and has acted as lead consultant to the LGBT Community Assessment in Philadelphia, a project that gathers data about LGBT communities in order to make recommendations regarding community organizing, health, housing, and economic development. He co-facilitates the Gay Men’s Health Leadership Academy, a national meeting of leaders in the field of gay men’s health and wellness, and has helped to convene the Gay Men’s Health and LGBTI Summits. Most recently, he has received support from the Arcus Foundation to develop a strategic plan for LGBT leadership development in the United States. Community organizing through social media is his greatest current passion and commitment.

RSVP’s are optional via the Meetup page. Or, just c’mon down, and bring a friend.

 


Looking forward to what’s on tap for the rest of the Net Tuesday Summer Ale Series…

August 4: Homebrewed Rumination. We’ll be using a modified version of our Extreme Makeover: Web Strategy Edition format with Philly NetSquared’s own website: phillynetsquared.org. Together, we’ll identify specific steps we can take to enable the growing Philly NetSquared community to use our website as a place to connect with, learn from and inspire one another to realize each person’s dreams and each organization’s objectives.

September 1: Portal Pilsner. Change.org. Network for Good. Razoo. And many other sites are out there, committed to using social tools help nonprofits achieve their mission. How do you sort through the clutter and use these sites to advance your own cause?
Join us at our Net Tuesday Summer Ales, where we’ll sit back, relax and explore ways social technology can help organizations and individuals advance social change in Philadelphia.

UPDATED info on Net Tuesday, June 2: Mobile Technology for Social Change

You are probably already aware that our next Net Tuesday (June 2, starting at 6:00 PM at Buffalo Billiards, 118 Chestnut Street) is going to be about Mobile Technology and Social Change. This was the theme of the fourth annual NetSquared conference (N2Y4) that Ivan and Seth just attended in San Jose. The centerpiece of the conference was a “challenge”, in which 14 new, innovative projects competed for prize money up to $25,000.

We were blown away by some of the projects we saw, and want to share on Tuesday evening. Some highlights:

  • First prize winner FrontlineSMS:Medic is saving lives in Africa with cell phones that rural health workers can use to access medical records and expertise, and (this is amazing) re-purposing the cell phone’s camera to perform breakthrough in-field diagnoses for malaria and other diseases. We’re planning to have the Clinical Programs Director participate in our meeting via videoconference to discuss it.
  • Second prize winners, the Extraordinaries, are developing a way for people to use their cell phones during “spare minutes” (like, on the bus) for a growing array of “micro-volunteer” projects, like tagging photos for the Library of Congress or translating subtitles for short videos.
  • Third place winner VoxMob – Mobile Voices / Voces Moviles is testing its project with immigrant workers in L.A. It empowers these people to express themselves in words, sounds and pictures to tell their stories and document abuses.
  • SeeClickFix is working on a project to enable regular people to take and upload a picture of a non-emergency problem they see (e.g., a pothole or drug deal), and then automatically map it and generate notices to pressure local agencies, politicians and others to address the problem. The mapping aspect of SeeClickFix is being prototyped on Philly.com.
  • The Mobile Giving Foundation enables non-profits to set up campaigns in which people can contribute small donations (e.g., $5 or $10) via their cell phones and charged on their phone bills (in which 100% of the contribution is passed through to the non-profit).

We also want to hear about your experiences or ideas about mobile tech and social change. In addition to illustrating these various initiatives, we’ll have a chance for folks to delve into the technology and/or how we can apply these capabilities to our causes here in Philly.

We’re at the very early stages of what promises to be a profoundly powerful movement to use these small and ubiquitous devices to advance social causes. Come discover and discuss what’s happening now, and get a glimpse into the future.

We’ll start gathering at 6:00 PM and begin the program at 6:30 (and we have the room until as late as 9:00). RSVP’s via the Meetup page are appreciated, but not necessary. Feel free to come and bring a friend.

Net Tuesday June 2: Mobile Technology for Social Change

Mobile technology is one of the fastest growing areas of digital technology. And developing applications for social change is following apace.

Our next Net Tuesday on June 2 will be about mobile applications for social change. Again, we’ll be meeting at Buffalo Billiards, 118 Chestnut Street. We’ll start gathering at 6:00 PM, and the program itself will begin between 6:30 and 6:45. RSVP on Meetup.

What does mobile technology for social change mean?

Ivan and Seth will discover part of the answer attending the 4th annual NetSquared Conference (N2Y4) in San Jose May 25–26, which is featuring a number of mobile projects, competing for $50,000 in prize money to further their development. (This page provides ways to follow along with the conference.) Ivan and Seth will report back on what we thought were the most interesting projects.

And, we also want to hear your thoughts and experiences (and hopes) about using mobile technology for social change. If you know of any local projects in this arena, please let us know. If you think it’s interesting, please come and share your perspectives.

The featured projects at N2Y4 include:

So come, bring your mobile device, and discover and talk about how these little machines are starting to play their part in improving the world.

Net Tuesday May 5: Nonprofits and Twitter

The next Net Tuesday will be next Tuesday, May 5 from 6:00 – 9:00 PM at Buffalo Billiards at 118 Chestnut Street.

Come learn about how nonprofit and social change organizations are using the micro-blogging service Twitter.

The popularity and creative use of Twitter by organizations has been growing exponentially.

  • How are nonprofit and social change organizations using Twitter to engage with their audiences?
  • What strategies are useful, and what pitfalls should you avoid?
  • Can you really say anything in 140 characters?
  • And how can you tell if your efforts in the “Twittersphere” are effective?

Join an interactive discussion about lessons learned and future plans of local nonprofit and social change organizations for using Twitter. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance will be discussing its recent use of Twitter to engage its members in online advocacy efforts and “live reporting” from events like Philadelphia City Council meetings. Take a look at their Twitter stream.

We’re also inviting other local groups — if you work with or know of a local organization using Twitter, let us know!

Philadelphia Net Tuesday organizers will be Tweeting in advance of our gathering as well as at the event. We encourage you to Tweet about it as well — just use the hashtag #phlnet2 — and if you’re not on Twitter, you can follow along here.

ss_aa_logoWe have a special sponsor this week: bg Theory, an Internet marketing training company. In support of Net Tuesday, bg Theory is offering a discount off of their upcoming Google Adwords seminars in Philly May 20 and 21.  To get the discount, go to the registration page, and enter meetnet as the discount code.

RSVPs via the Meetup page are helpful, but not required. Feel free to show up, and bring a friend. See you next Tuesday!

—Seth (Twitter: @sethhorwitz) and Ivan (Twitter: @rootwork)

Net Tuesday March 3: “Extreme Makeover: Web Strategy Edition”

Our next Net Tuesday gathering will be for an “Extreme Makeover: Web Strategy Edition”.  We’ll meet at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, March 3 at Buffalo Billiards at 118 Chestnut Street.

Learn how Web 2.0 strategies can be used for nonprofit and social change causes by participating in an interactive “extreme makeover” session.  This format provides a chance for our diverse group of activists and techies to focus our attention on a particular cause.  We will NOT be creating or directly affecting any website; we WILL be thinking and strategizing together about how Web 2.0 tools and principles can be used most effectively to help an actual client achieve their goals.

Who should attend?

  • Nonprofits and activists who have used the social web: Come share your insights about what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past, and learn about considerations for more effectively using these tools in the future.
  • Nonprofits and activists who have NOT used the social web:  Come share your perspectives, and learn how to think about applying these tools to your own situations.
  • Techies who work with the social web: Come share your technical experience, and learn more about the perspectives and expectations of nonprofit and social change activists who want to use these tools.

Our makeover client will be Carl Ewald, who runs TerraMar Adventures.  Carl wants to use social web tools to engage people in TerraMar’s increasing community service and environmental protection efforts.

RSVP via our Meetup page is appreciated, but not required.  Feel free to just show up, and bring your friends (and your thinking caps)!

So, come participate in a shared endeavor to strategize about the most effective ways to apply Web 2.0 tools in a real situation, and perhaps, ultimately, to help out our natural environment as well.

Hope to see you there!

Seth

Net Tuesday February 3: Democracy 2.0 and social change

We gratefully acknowledge this meeting’s sponsorship by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, leading the effort to increase awareness of, participation in and support for arts and culture in the Greater Philadelphia region.


Our Net Tuesday Philly on February 3 will focus on “Democracy 2.0” — how the social web is being used for political and civic engagement.  This was considered a big factor in Barack Obama’s successful campaign, and is poised to permanently and profoundly alter the landscape of politics from now on.

  • What can non profits and social change agents learn from these early experiments?
  • How can our efforts reflect and reinforce this new political paradigm?
  • What implications  does Democracy 2.0 present for how we engage with clients, with our causes and with one another?

We’ll have an interactive discussion with a great panel, including:

  1. Ian Storrar, Chief Operating Officer of Mobilize.org, an all-partisan network dedicated to educating, empowering, and energizing young people to increase their civic engagement and political participation. He is heavily involved in the Democracy 2.0 process, which is the central theory of change at Mobilize.org.  Ian is based in Washington, DC.
  2. Rob Stuart, Founding President of Evolve Strategies (a full-service communications firm serving issue advocacy, nonprofit, and political organizations) and the Evolve Foundation (which supports efforts to increase citizen participation in government). He has been an activist and lobbyist for over 20 years, and will talk about the dynamics of advocacy and Democracy 2.0.
  3. Michael Tweed, organizer of the Ben Franklin Thinking Society will present what his group is about and their initiative (and Meetup) called Democracy 2.0, an attempt to generate ideas that will use technology to improve the democratic process by making representatives more accountable and people more knowledgeable.

Plus, there will be plenty of time for schmoozing, networking and meeting other folks who want to use the social web for social change.

NOTE THE NEW TIME AND PLACE:

When: 6:00 – 9:00 PM on Tuesday, February 3

Where: Buffalo Billiards, 118 Chestnut Street in Olde City.  (We have the 2nd floor private room to ourselves.  The first two hours (until 8 PM) are Happy Hour with half-priced appetizers and $3 draft beer.)

RSVP’s via our Meetup page are requested, but not required, for this fun and informative event.  Feel free to just show up, and bring your friends.  Hope to see you there.