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Web 2.0 and nonprofit communities

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Marnie tells me that one of her takeaways from last week's Web 2.0 conference was the definition of Web 2.0 software or sites or applications as tools that become more valuable the more people use them. If so there may be a natural congruence between the community/nonprofit sector and the Web 2.0 software world: nonprofits have a lot of experience with how to nurture communities, and in many cases have established the scale and breadth of relationships that could provide an instant user base for a Web 2.0 tool or community.

Bringing Wikimania to Boston

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Toronto and Boston are currently competing to play host to Wikimania 2006, which will be an international gathering of those involved in the Wikimedia Foundation's various projects.

Although I'm very much a novice in this world, having just begun to learn how to edit Wikipedia articles, I'm delighted by the possibility that a large numbers of wiki-oriented geeks from many countries will land in Massachusetts next summer to discuss online projects for making knowledge in the public interest more accessible. (Here's a sample of these projects:  Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, and Wikinews.)

Yesterday evening, I attended the local Wikipedia Meetup, convened by Sj, for a discussion of plans for Wikimania 2006.  The Berkman Center for Internet & Society has very generously offered facilities at Harvard Law School, and Sj is busy lining up all the other necessities

The Boston area's nonprofit technology community is becoming more cohesive than ever, and I'm hoping that we can welcome and  make common cause with the Wikimaniacs if they come here. There's so much talk about Web 2.0, in which we will take online tools to the next level.  Both the Wikimedia community and the nonprofit technology community are dedicated to collaboration in the service of noble causes, and therefore we would do well engage each other in dialogue about how Web 2.0 can help us achieve our goals.

web 2.0: getting real

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Back from my visit to CompuMentor and the Web 2.0 conference, I have now almost recovered from the overload of meeting or re-meeting so many excellent people doing so many excellent things. For instance, I bumped into Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr, and he joined Marnie Webb and I at the big noisy Web 2.0 dinner on Wednesday night. When he pointed his camera phone at me, I made the usual stupid face. The caption refers to my review of the food.

 

Be the Media

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Part of what technology does for us in the non-profit world is give us individual voice. Even more exciting, in my opinion, is when it gives the communities we serve voice.

I have been playing with the tools at Common Media setting up a news clip Community (Inclusive Travel & Tourism) at Common Times and collecting bits of interesting video at the site.

 
Now, feeling like I have a personal stake in the project, I am finding reflections on the spread of Social Newsmarking and Citizen Journalism at the site's blog to be illuminating:  http://blog.commonbits.org/2005/10/be_the_editor_s.html

A little nervously dives in at the deep end...

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(splash) - well at least the waters not too cold :-)

While packing for this journey I posted a few reservations about bloging in the TechSoup Town Hall (kind of an insurance policy in case I find the water a bit too deep). I tried to put a link here to the TechSoup post but this blog doesn't want to accept standard html tags (? - first lesson when travelling I guess... learn the road rules!) 

Marnie kindly moved the post to a new discussion thread - no replies yet but looking forward to reading other people's views and hopefully generating a worthwhile discussion.

NetSquared: Reinventing Nonprofit Technology Online

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"Net² is an invitation into the marvelous, messy world of the Internet as a participatory, interactive community: a community created by its users....We don't know exactly what the Net² community will look like, or how it will change the face of the non-profit web. What we do know is that both the online and offline work of every non-profit can be enhanced by a dynamic online community in which organizations and users support one another. And we know that the creativity and commitment of the non-profit world is crucial to achieving the creative and community potential of the Internet itself."

This is the NetSquared call to action from the good folks at CompuMentor. They have brought us wonderful resources such as TechSoup, TechSoup Stock, TechCommons, and ConsultantCommons - and are now counting the days until the NetSquared conference in April 2006.

I was particularly pleased when Marnie Webb of CompuMentor commissioned me to come up with a collection of case studies for the NetSquared project. Since I already spend a fair amount of time blogging about internet-based communities, tools, and projects that are of interest to nonprofit organizations, this seems like a consulting assignment that is almost too good to be true.

Creating One Economy's Katrina Help Center

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As I sit here participating in Web 2.0 via the blogs of everyone lucky enough to be there physically, a colleague from One Economy sent along a real-time example of the web's potential -- One Economy & Cisco's Katrina Help Center:

www.katrinahelpcenter.org

Here's the e-mail:

Dear Friend,

One Economy is a national nonprofit organization, with a San Jose office, that uses technology as a tool to augment and enhance existing systems and community development activities to better support the needs and potential of low-income people.  Our belief is that through innovative uses of the Internet and by partnering with local nonprofit organizations who are already serving low-income people, we can break through the barriers caused by the social and economic isolation of poverty.   

glocalization

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I came across this term a couple nights ago. At first, I was certain it was a typo. But oh dear, was my face ever red when I checked Google and found that it reports "about 111,000 English pages for glocalization." Clearly, I need to brush up on my buzzwords!

Jargon aside, I guess this is a useful term of art -- if the art part means using global means to achieve local ends. I'm guessing at the definition, but I'm also guessing that a neologism like this has multiple definitions at this point, so I'm throwing mine into the ring. If my take is even close to what others mean (I'll do the fact checking later), then the following is an interesting example of "glocalization." If not, oh well... I'll have to take my chances of you suing me for making a mistake -- but you'd have to wait in a very long line.

a bit more context

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No post since last week when we kicked this thing off. You can blame me for that, but I plead the rigors of travel as my excuse. It won't happen often, gods willing. I'm out here in San Francisco this week, visiting CompuMentor / TechSoup (the folks behind this project), and also for the Web 2.0 conference, which starts tomorrow.

Since I'm here, and I have at least as many questions as you must have, I cornered Marnie Webb and Billy Bicket and browbeat them into a mini-interview I could share with you here.

CompuMentor has been around for 18 years now, assisting a community of non-profits that has grown to over 60,000 organizations. Marnie is VP of knowledge services, and has been with CompuMentor for five years. I asked her to say a few words about the project.

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