open source global social networks?

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Could the same principles that have made open source such a powerful force in the world of software and information systems also work in the sphere of governance? Famed billionaire financier George Soros seems to think so. Check out this site for a fascinating view of what the Open Society Institute is doing in the areas of Children & Youth, Economic Development, Education, Health, Human Rights, Law & Justice, Media, Arts & Culture, and Women. Here's a clip from the About page...

The Open Society Institute (OSI), a private operating and grantmaking foundation, aims to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform. On a local level, OSI implements a range of initiatives to support the rule of law, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, OSI works to build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as combating corruption and rights abuses.

Let Me Count the Ways

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We've got so much great stuff going on at NetSquared right now, let me count the ways you can be a part of it:

1. Post a photo of yourself in NetSquared’s “I Want Change” Flickr group,  with a sign (6 words or less) that describes what you believe is the most important change that needs to happen to make our world a better place.

2. Give us suggestions for conference topics using the NetSquared Conference Suggestion Box or by emailing net2(AT)techsoup(DOT)org, and using "Conference Topics" for the subject.

Mapping A Community Of Practice

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Interviewee: Steve Hargadon

Site discussed:

Service Used:

Steve Hargadon is a commercial computer refurbisher based in Sacramento, California.  He sells computers to public schools in need of affordable resources and has worked in the past with Net Squared's parent organization, CompuMentor.

Some time ago Steve visited Canada and learned that the Canadian government's computer refurbishment program has supplied public schools across the country with about 25 % of their computers in use.  He found this quite inspirational, but was frustrated that there was insufficient infrastructure in the United States to donate such a large quantity of computers.  He believes that not enough networking has been done.

Help us plan the NetSquared Conference

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We need your help planning the conference.

  • Who would you like to hear at the conference?
  • Who would you like to meet at the conference?
  • What would you like to talk about?
  • What would you like to learn?
  • How can the conference help us accomplish NetSquare's goals?

To give us your thoughts/suggestions/needs/desires, use our Conference Suggestion Box. Or, you can contribute to the Conference Discussion Blog.

To read about the Conference, including your suggestions and postings, see our Conference section

little brother is watching

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The New York Times runs a story this morning titled Google Offers a Bird's-Eye View, and Some Governments Tremble

...since its debut last summer, Google Earth has received attention of an unexpected sort. Officials of several nations have expressed alarm over its detailed display of government buildings, military installations and other important sites within their borders.

Poetic justice, if you ask me. They've been scanning us long enough!

Notes from abroad on TechSoup

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Our own Jody Mahoney sent in reports from WSIS (the World Summit on the Information Society conference held in Tunis in November).  Now she's written up her thoughts as Notes from Abroad: Human Rights and Web 2.0. Jody writes:

Freedom takes on a new meaning in a place where you encounter checkpoints and controlled entries at every turn; where sharpshooters cradling automatic weapons line the road for miles and armed police and national guardsmen are present everywhere.


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Britt Bravo (see Accidental Techie), talks about the Net² community on Odeo. The sound is a bit echoey, but you can hear her OK. There are other raps by Marnie Webb and Chris Messina, all collected here. More of these, please.

This isn't exactly breaking news (in fact, I think it was mentioned somewhere here before), but I'd managed to miss these pages, so it was news to me. As was Odeo, which looks pretty neat. Please don't hurt me for admitting that I haven't beta tested every new tool that's hit the web in the last year -- I'm already clicking as fast as I can! <g>

Two Years of Blogging by Earth Share Washington

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Earth Share Washington is a federation of 66 environmental organizations around the state. (See the group's profile in Net2 in Action.) ESW focuses on delivering work-place financial donations to its member organizations from supporters around Washington.  Their web site has been built using the Movable Type blogging system for the last two and a half years. The Movable Type system has proven very valuable for the organization, increasing their number of page views by a factor of 7 times that of their old site.  Because of the limitations of Movable Type, they are now looking into using a full service Content Management System and are inclined to implement the open source system Plone.

International Web2.0 News

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For all the border-busting placelessness the internet enables, there are still very interesting and diverse implementations of web tools new and old that are tied to specific geographic locations.  How are blogs being used in Japan?  How do people in Iran using tagging?  What sorts of ways has RSS enabled new work to be done in Brazil or Argentina?  Unfortunately, those questions are far easier to ask than they are to answer - as far as I can tell.

For political news delivered by blog, the group Global Voices (see profile in case studies) is a great source of aggregated content from all around the world.  But what about news about the tools themselves and how they are used?


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