Net Tuesday, August 4: Adding social elements to our/your website

summerlagerJoin 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,; 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 SeptemberNetwork For Good, Causes and, 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


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
  • 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.

Updated info on the Social Web Carnival on December 2

When: This Tuesday, December 2, 2008 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Where: Independents Hall, 32 Strawberry Street in Olde City (Strawberry Street runs parallel to and between 2nd and 3rd Streets, and IndyHall is between Market and Chestnut.)

Plans for the Net Tuesday Social Web Carnival are coming along nicely. Here’s how it will work…

People will visit each of 5 stations throughout the room. At each station, we will brainstorm ways in which that station’s tools have been or can be used for social change causes, as well as ideas for future Net Tuesday programs and other ways we can support, learn from and inspire one another in the Philly area. Then, we’ll come back together to share some of the insights and ideas that were generated. The stations will be:

  • Writin’ Roller Coaster (blogging, microblogging …)
  • Multimedia Midway (photo, video, audio, slide sharing services; podcasts, vlogs …)
  • Ferris Wheel of Friends (social networking sites)
  • Folksonomy Funhouse (tagging, social bookmarking …)
  • Freaks and Geeks (everything else: wikis, mashups, e-democracy, RSS, mobile apps …)

What will you get out of this fast-paced event?

  • Non-profit and social change activists will discover more about the tremendous power of these tools, and will likely come away with new ideas about how they might be used for their own organizations or causes.
  • Techies will learn about the hopes and needs of people who can imagine using these technologies to make the world a better place.
  • Visionaries and career changers may discover opportunities and gaps that have not yet been revealed or filled.
  • And all of us will have a chance to make friends and contacts, to help shape Net Tuesday (and NetSquared) programs for 2009, and to generally continue advancing Philly as a place for progressive social innovation.

If you haven’t already RSVP’d, it would be helpful to do so via the Meetup page. But that’s not required; feel free to show up and bring a friend.

Questions? Contact

Notes from the Net Tuesday Planning Meeting, November 11, 2008

Note about these notes:  These are raw notes taken by myself (Seth), and comprised primarily of the contents of sheets of brainstormed topics.  Being brainstorms, we wrote down whatever was contributed, despite some internal inconsistencies.   I’m including everything from the brainstorms into these notes, since this is the only documentation of the meeting (and I want to throw away those big sheets of paper!).   I’ve also composed an “Executive Summary” of my own, subjective “takeaway” from the meeting.  I invite others who attended to share their own recollections or perspectives.  And, of course, anyone who reads this is more than welcome to add their own comments.    – Seth

Executive Summary:  Net Tuesday Philly (the monthly meetings) and Philly NetSquared (the more broadly defined group) exist among a rich variety of related groups and events in the Philadelphia area.  Our core differentiation and value lies in creating a space for techies, social change agents and others who are interested in “using the social web for social change” to come together.  Nonprofit and social change folks can learn about these emerging technologies; techies can better understand how their skills and knowledge can be applied for social change; and all of us can learn from, support and inspire one another.  We want our monthly Net Tuesday meetings to emphasize cases, examples, practical applications, strategic considerations and effective networking.  And, under the Philly NetSquared banner, we want to develop additional opportunities for members to build relationships and benefit one another outside of monthly meetings.  This is really exciting, timely and important stuff.


(Full notes after the jump.)

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NetSquared Winners: Tech, Tools and Social Change

The NetSquared Mashup Challenge has just concluded. The three winners, chosen by conference attendees, emphasize all three areas of the NetSquared community: social technology, nonprofit tools and social change.

Additionally, there were two winners announced for the Case Foundation DonateNow Mashup Challenge:

  • Social Actions — Find Social Actions. Create Social Change. (Also a NetSquared winner.)
  • Tweet4Good — Donate a fundraise using Twitter

You can check out videos from the conference from Beth Kanter, and the NetSquared blog will no doubt have writeups in the coming hours and days.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s Meetup, where Seth and Ivan will present highlights from the conference and useful tools that other nonprofits can use!
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NetSquared Project Interviews and Session Notes

Some really incredible presentations here at the NetSquared conference, both from featured projects and individual speakers. Seth and I are busily collecting information for next Tuesday’s event.

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Meeting other Net Tuesday organizers

It was great to meet face to face with other Net Tuesday organizers.

Photo of Net Tuesday Organizers at N2Y3 Lunch: Organizers in top row from left to right: (Jennifer Sly (Twin Cities), Fresh! White (San Francisco), Katie Laird (Houston), Ivan Boothe, (Philadelphia), Jean Russell (Chicago), Seth Horwitz (Philadelphia), Sarah Schacht (Seattle), Lewis Hoffman (Chicago), Michael Maranda (Chicago), Lela Prashad (Phoenix), Hatef Yamini (Washington, D.C.), Britt Bravo (San Francisco). Organizers in bottom row from left to right: Jane Zhang (Toronto), Justin Massa (Chicago), Blair Golson (Los Angeles), Eduardo Bejar (Guayaquil), Jason McElweenie (Houston).