In beginning my reading of the Four Questions page and the Netsquared Case Studies section, I've had a few thoughts I thought I'd share here. Things I know I'm going to give more thought to and probably be including in my questions to some of the groups I interview here.
Here's the first one. How do we balance the use of new terms to describe new technologies with the strategic utilization of terms more familiar to our constituents? Do we use similes in explaining what we are doing ("RSS is like subscribing to an email newsletter, only it's a different and better inbox") or do we try to explain what's actually happening and risk some cognitive dissonance on the part of all but early adopters and geeks? ("RSS utilizes a second language (XML) that your content is published in and that's easier to manipulate and add metadata to than the HTML your browser reads.
I created my first case study here on Net2 last night. It's just a short description of my podcast and a little about why/how I produce the show. I really enjoyed the process of having to think of a concise way to sum up what is often a very organic and changing project for me. I'm looking forward to finding other topics that would make good case studies.
I'm excited to see that people are beginning to contribute content to the Net2 site. It really is starting to shape into the vision that the people with TechSoup/CompuMentor had in mind! Britt Bravo, the Community Builder of NetSquared, is doing an awesome job! She is encouraging and excited to find new content to share with others. She's a great example of the axiom that the success of a team project is built upon the accomplishments of individuals.
I love looking through NetSquared's news aggregator you never know what fun things you will find! As of this writing all of the awesome folks in the Net2 community have tagged with "net2" 441 items in del.icio.us, 107 in Flickr, 176 in Furl and 164 in Technorati.
Looking through the aggregator today, a few links that caught my eye were:
Hello, everyone! My name is Marshall Kirkpatrick and this is a little introduction to me and the work I'll be doing for Net Squared in the next few months. I've been brought on board to act as a connector between different members of the community that could be of assistance to each others' work and to blog about the kinds of work people are doing around the world.
I'll be writing and posting some multi-media about the good news and the bad in the movement to make emerging technology a powerful part of the non-profit world.
A little about me: I live in Eugene, Oregon and I'm 29 years old. I do what I call Web 2.0 consulting for non-profits and small businesses. Web 2.0 is a big, ambiguous concept but I explain it as the next generation of the internet made up of dynamic, user-generated content that can be utilized and manipulated in a wide variety of ways. I think it's made possible by the spread of broadband connectivity, cheap data storage and new technologies like blogging, RSS and podcasting. I like to help social justice oriented organizations use these new tools for research and communication. If you want to read more about me personally, my bio is on the team page. My web site is at Marshallk.com. I'm super excited to participate in this project!
On December 13th, join Bay Area nonprofit and web innovators interested in connecting communities for social change at Net Tuesday! NetSquared will be holding its 2nd Net Tuesday event at the Balazo Gallery (2183 Mission St. @ 18th) in San Francisco starting at 6 PM. Let us know you're coming at http://upcoming.org/event/43394/ .
Ed Batista, Executive Director of Attention Trust, will show everyone how to stand up for their attention rights, while Seth Sternberg will demo the web-based IM app Meebo.
We are looking for a NetSquared podcaster to record the event. If you want to hear what we put together for last month's event you can check out Chris Messina & Marnie Webb at the NetSquared channel on Odeo.
If you are interested in being a NetSquared podcaster, or would like to host a Net Tuesday outside the Bay Area email me: bbravo(AT)techsoup.org
As I wrote in my post, "Must Hear Speech from Barack Obama and the Power of Podcasting", on my personal blog, Have Fun * Do Good this weekend, one of the reasons I am so excited about the work I am doing with NetSquared is because I think that all of these new web-based tools, like podcasts are an incredible way for nonprofits to get the word out about their causes. There is something powerful about hearing Barack Obama's voice or the children's voices from the UNICEF podcasts or Nelson Mandela's voice from the recent ONE campaign podcast, inside your head.
"The revolution, in general, is no longer imagined according to socialist patterns of realism, that is, as men and women stoically marching behind a red, waving flag towards a luminous future. Rather it has become a sort of carnival."
from Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and his World, Indiana University Press, 1984:
"Carnival does not know footlights, in the sense that it does not acknowledge any distinction between actors and spectators. Footlights would destroy a carnival, as the absence of footlights would destroy a theatrical performance. Carnival is not a spectacle seen by the people; they live in it, and everyone participates because it's very idea embraces all the people."