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:

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.   


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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.

Tabasco Shortage Averted

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Lester, my Acadian friend sent this letter. I'm not sure how it fits into the hunnerd dollah laptops for po' folks model of world changing intentions, but it's poignant and it resolves one of my questions regarding the recent bad weather. Avery Island survived with little damage...


Dear Friends,

A few years ago my wife and I, my son Lucas, and her daughter Jody, spent part of our vacation in Holly Beach, Louisiana. It's fondly known in south Louisiana as the Cajun Riviera, and to reach it one drives south from Lake Charles across miles and miles of marshland populated by waterfowl, nutria, and alligators. There wasn't much to it--a few rows of houses and cabins raised up off the beach on on pilings made of telephone poles, a few trailers, a little store and gift shop, a
seafood wholesaler, the water tower. The year-round population was only about 175. The beach was a rather dark-colored sand and the Gulf waters were far from clear--they were sort of muddy, actually. But that didn't keep us from enjoying the beach and the surf. Lucas, who is blind, was
bothered a bit. It was hard to get him out of it. We stayed overnight in a "resort"--a few trailers owned by a family who lived in one of them, and a couple of mature fig trees with delicious fresh figs ripening on them. One of the children had a chronic illness, and my general impression of the family was that they had a hard time making ends meet.

Life As a Series of 'Media Interrupts'

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I write a weekly column for Campus Technology magazine's" IT Trends" newsletter. This was the most recent one - - published Thursday, September 29, 2005.

In the ocean of media that we live in, what we think of as 'life' may already just be a series of 'media interrupts.'

In the year and a half that I spent with the US Navy's Underwater Demolition Team 13, in 1969-70, I spent far less time each day immersed in water than I now spend immersed in media. So do you, unless you happen to be related to Aquaman.

on keeping it simple for starters

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This morning, after sleeping off a 48-hour run of launch mania, I came across a blog post titled 10 Steps to a Hugely Successful Web 2.0 Company. The third item reads:

Launch. Now. Tomorrow. Every day. Don't wait until its perfect to put it out in the open. No more closed invite-only betas. Your idea of perfect may not jive with your users' ideas of perfect. Put whatever you can out there and get people using it as soon as possible. Feed them daily with new features to keep them interested and coming back. No one likes waiting six years for new releases.

The Alpha Post

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Look mom! My first blog entry. I have always (and consciously) opted not to blog (aside: which is kind of interesting in itself, as the ECMS solution my company develops provides a perfect platform for blogging) …because after spending 10-12 hours a day staring into this “window” …I need/want/like to spend some time with the love of my life, sans the electronic gadget-based asynchronous communication. Direct eye contact, candlelight, and a bottle of exquisite red wine are so much more pleasurable don't you think? BTW, thanks for the invite you guys (Chris & RB) ..

hello, world...

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Things happen because people connect. Or fail to. Luck plays a role, of course, whatever we mean by "luck," exactly. It seems to involve people connecting. Which, as luck would have it, is what this site is all about.

As everything seems to depend on people, I want to kick this off in a very personal way, telling you a bit about myself and some of the people I've met along the way. My name is Chris Locke. There's a bio around here somewhere, but never mind that for now. Instead, I want to tell you a story about how I ended up writing this blog. It may say more about what I think I'm doing here than a more abstract, i.e., people-less, form of explanation. At least that's the plan. The only way to connect with you, Valued Reader, is to risk failing altogether.

where's Mr. Natural when we really need him?

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Hi, my name is Chris Locke, and it is your misfortune that I'll be your host here on this Net² blog. Although there are many things to talk about as we bring this thing up -- "we" because there's a kickass team working flat-out behind the scenes -- I guess I should first introduce myself and say a bit about why I'm doing this. It's a long story, but I'll try to keep it brief. For now.


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