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.


This past Tuesday’s Blogging for Nonprofits gathering was great!

We had a terrific meeting on Tuesday with a record 50(!) people who turned out in the rain.

The 5 panelists (described in the previous blog post) spanned a range of perspectives and Sam Cohen moderated an active and engaging discussion.  Here are some pictures taken by Meg Rider:

And Reed Gustow was kind enough to share his (very rough) notes from the panel discussion, which are appended at the bottom of this post.

After the panel discussion, we broke into two breakout groups for about 15 minutes:

  1. Nate Gasser, in his calm, competent way, demonstrated for about 15 folks how to set up a new blog in about 15 minutes.  Asking for a volunteer from the group, Whitney Blunden raised his hand, and Nate walked through setting up a blog for Operation Restoration Enterprises.  I think it’s safe to say that Whitney was thrilled with the results.  In the last day, he has added a bunch of content, and it looks great!
  2. The other breakout discussed ways in which we could support nonprofit blogging in Philly in an ongoing way.  I don’t have notes from that session, but after speaking to a number of those who participated, I’m sure we’ll be implementing something shortly to try to provide that sort of support.

All in all, I think most people enjoyed themselves and got a lot out of the evening (I know I did).  Thanks to everybody who worked on this event.


——–  Reed Gustow’s rough notes:  ———-

Blogging for Not for Profits. 01-06-09

Sam Cohen moderated. One of his projects is, Coming of Age – Inspiring Opportunities, channels baby boomers to opportunities to give back to their communities. Coming of age is made of The Temple University Center for Intergenerational Learning, WHYY, Wider Horizons, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, AARP Pennsylvania

Apparently, they only located about 30 not-for-profit organization blogs in philly. Thousands of nfp orgs though. They use them for many things: advocacy, fundraising, staff recruiting etc.

The Panel:

Mary Ann Devine. Smarts and Culture is her biz, consulting. Does mktng for arts and culture organizations. Her blog is smarts and culture. Why?  She was dir of mkt and pr at Acad of vocal arts but saw nothing out there in the way of arts mkting blogs. Writes for clients. Gives a voice to arts marketing and social media. Spends 14-16 hours a week on the blogging.

Andrew Schwalm. = does a lot of video on his blog. He has a 501c3 for this.  Also he is first person arts. Present an annual festival, yr round programming at Letage, also a salon series, people who can do memoir and documentary art. He is the comm/mkt person at First person Arts.  He is moving it to Drupal from WP. Spends 3-4 hrs on first person arts, and 8 hours on malcolmx park blog.

Judah Ferst, buzzing for change. Runs events at which people cut their hair off and donate it childrens cancer. 501C3, volunteer run. He is pres. Blog is to drive people to the home page. One of his problems is keeping content updated. He does 3 hours a week. Looking to get other board members to contribute.  And other parts of program

Dan Pantano.  Danny’s adventures at Acad of Vocal Arts. This is the premier opera conservatory in the us. Maybe 2-4 hours a week. Development is primary. Target audience (the goal) is getting the name out there internationally. Strategy is to be very up, positive. There are personality issues. Has a 3-4K person email list.

Larry Blumenthal. Resp. for web strategy Robert Wood Johnson foundation. 450Mil in grants, all in healthcare. NPR sponsor. Their Pioneer team does the blogging, they look for new ideas. Looking for alternatives to malpractices; getting health records online. They blog to break down walls. These surround the foundations, ivy tower, disconnected. This is an outdated model and they want to break those walls down. Their blog has been up for??time. Their freelance blog mgr works 8-10 hours a week.  The whole thing is building relationships. You have to give people a compelling reason to come to your blog. Like Las Vegas. Why come out to the desert unless there is a good reason to do it?  Blogs are a way to build your community. You want to reach out to and build the community you are interested in. Engaging them via your blog is one way; this is why the conversation is so important.

Sam: an issue is/can show an authentic voice. But orgs are not made of only one voice, so resolving it is hard. So how do the panelists deal with the authentic voice problem?
First Person Arts: encourage the interns to do some writing on the blog. Not as concerned with a unified voice.
RWJ – Board and management were aware of the possibility of criticism, and were nervous about it. But it didn’t happen – very few inappropriate comments. Now think they are not compelling enough, not controversial enough. Now found someone who will say controversial things and evoke a response. The person is an authority on x, so her voice is ok, even if provoking. There is a need for balance though. Be prepared for outside criticism but use it to grow. Read Naked Conversations, business oriented, how to grow from criticisms.

Another thing to do is offer comments on other people’s blogs.

Be clear with the audience about how often you will update. There is no minimum but do meet the expectations. If you start and cannot keep it up you will have a problem.

How build traffic? You have to think about other social media like twitter, other blogs etc. to let others know about your blog. Facebook allows an RSS feed to your blog. For older people, make a newsletter out of it, and email it to your list. RSS feeds can be limited to the first few lines of the blog post so they have to go to the blog to read the rest of it.
Important to ask who your audiences are.

How much does RWJ use the recipients blog? (Not the right person to ask. )

Look at your goals – what do we want? Donors? Members? Funds? Staff?
The numbers per se are not as important as  the results you get from those who do read. Quality is more important than quantity IF you get the needed results from those who do follow you.
How can the blog most help us?

More details about January 6 Net Tuesday on Blogging for Nonprofits

January’s Net Tuesday will be about Blogging for Nonprofits.

Whether you’re thinking about starting a blog or want to make your existing blog more effective, we’re planning a program that will :

  • feature nonprofits that are using blogs successfully to raise awareness, raise funds, find volunteers and achieve their mission — and how they are doing it
  • share techniques, strategies, tools and resources for effective nonprofit blogging
  • explore thorny issues , such as how to reconcile the need for a blog to have a personal voice, yet also represent the many voices of an organization

We’ll be using an “open panel” format, featuring some local non-profit bloggers, including:

In addition to an informative, interactive discussion about issues confronting new and veteran nonprofit bloggers, we’ll have lots of practical tools and opportunities.

Nate Gasser, of Rock River Star, will demonstrate creating a new blog during the evening with one of the attendees (maybe you?).

We will also introduce an idea to provide ongoing support and encouragement for new and current nonprofit bloggers.

You are encouraged (though by no means required) to RSVP via the Meetup page for this event.

This promises to be another intersting, fun and useful Net Tuesday.

Hope to see you there,


Net Tuesday, January 6, 2009: Blogging for Nonprofits

January’s Net Tuesday will be about Blogging for Nonprofits.  This is an important, growing topic (which generated a lot of interest at December’s Social Web Carnival).

Whether you’re thinking about starting a blog or want to make your existing blog more effective, we’re planning a program that will :

  • feature nonprofits that are using blogs successfully to raise awareness, raise funds, find volunteers and achieve their mission — and how they are doing it
  • share techniques, strategies, tools and resources for effective nonprofit blogging
  • explore thorny issues , such as how to reconcile the need for a blog to have a personal voice, yet also represent the many voices of an organization
  • work on concrete ways we can help one another to achieve our own nonprofit blogging goals

We’re still building the program.  If any of you know of any local nonprofits that are blogging – especially (but not necessarily) whose blog we might feature or who we might approach to present — can you please help out by emailing their blog URL (and contact person if you know it) to Seth Horwitz at  (If you’re not sure if what they are doing is technically a “blog” send it on anyway; we want to gather the information.)

RSVP’s are requested (but by no means required) via the Meetup page.

Videostream of Web2.0 Activist Model Case Studies event in NYC 12/17 @ 7:30 PM EST

Ivan Boothe identified the following event in New York tomorrow (Wednesday, December 17, 2008) night at 7:30 EST. They are going to attempt to live stream it at, and will post the video in any event at

Web2.0 Activist Model Case Studies

Over the past two years, Web 2.0 technologies have matured and so have the methods activists use to employ them. In 2008, activists from around the world used Web 2.0 to take command of the digital airwaves pioneering new forms of political mobilization. From Student’s for a Free Tibet’s live streamed protests in Beijing, to RNC protesters coordinating actions and monitoring police movements on Twitter to mass digital mobilizations for humanitarian relief and election protection, Web 2.0 is no longer just for social networking and fundraising.

This Wednesday, practitioners involved in the above campaigns will present case studies and highlight how they leveraged these tools to have broader reach and greater effectiveness. We’ll also delve into issues governing internal organization and communication among political actors, including: transparency vs. security; command and control vs. autonomous affinity groups, and the power of organizing without organizations vs. the tyranny of structurelessness.

This report back and skills share is intended to leave you with concrete ideas for how these models and tools could impact your work.

Wednesday, December 17, 7:30pm
The Change You Want To See Gallery
84 Havemeyer Street, at Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Nathan Freitas is an entrepreneur and activist, with longtime love for all things mobile, miniaturized, virtual and open-source. His experience runs the gamut from founding a successful venture-funded for-profit business and speaking at JavaOne and Amazon developer events, to locking himself down to foreign consulates and managing satellite links for live streaming of protest video from very remote places. If Nathan were a cloud tag, these would be his tags: cloud computing, android, java, videoblogging, mogulus, wordpress as CMS, tibet, china, human rights, free speech, free thought, encryption, privacy, creative commons, ratatat, sufjan stephens.

Deanna Zandt is a media technologist and consultant to key progressive media organizations including AlterNet and the Hightower Lowdown, and
hosts TechGrrl Tips on GRITtv with Laura Flanders. She works with groups to create and implement effective web strategies toward organizational goals of civic engagement and empowerment, and uses her background in linguistics, advertising, telecommunications and finance to complement her technical expertise. Deanna also works with New York-based independent artists such as John S. Hall/King Missile, Surf Reality and the Art Stars to promote radical performances in downtown Manhattan, and is a member of the Brooklyn-based Not An Alternative political art collective.

Nancy Scola is a Brooklyn-based writer, blogger, and editor whose work focuses on the intersection of technology and politics, both broadly
defined. She serves as the associate editor of techPresident and Personal Democracy Forum, and has worked in the past on Capitol Hill,
in presidential politics, and in progressive radio.