Miro, Freecycle and Maplight

May 28, 2008

IMG_9316As we await the voting tally Rick Hess is moderating a panel featuring the three winners from last years Netsquared conference. Freecycle came in third in voting last year with Miro being edged out by winners Maplight.org. This panel is a sort of how-to for the other non-profits in attendance. Each winner is discussing their past year and hurdles that they continually face. Miro itself went through some changes in the past year that has helped them grow as an organization both in philosophy and as a business.

As a user of Freecycle it has been a pleasure to meet them here and talk to them one on one about the road ahead. In a nutshell they are looking to send out cellular alerts to your phone about things you might be interested. I wish them the best of luck as their message is a strong one – why fill landfill with your unwanted things that someone may have a use for it.

Maplight of course was the big winner last year and they are back again this year to create a map mashup of campaign contributions and how legislators vote. Maplight is still just in California but hopefully they’ll be able to expand across the nation.

As I mentioned the votes are being counted so stay tuned for the results as soon as they come in


N2Y3 Netsquared Conference Day 2 Update

May 28, 2008

The final day of the N2Y3 Netsquared conference is coming to a close with the last pitch by the projects coming up shortly. The conference began with each of the 21 featured projects presenting everyone with a two minute elevator pitch and now we will get their closing elevator pitches on why we should vote for them and award them the top prize. All of them have been very, very amazing and deserve all the attention they can get from attending this conference. I have nailed my vote down to a couple different choices and I think it may be a case of just putting a hand over my eyes and just pointing, the competition is just that good! I am kidding of course about the blindfolded vote but it is going to be a hard choice.


The conference has been a great thing for myself and Katie as well as we have been exposed to some amazing people who’s sole purpose is to help others. It has been truly inspiring.

As I mentioned in a prior post we had the chance to meet up with some other Net Tuesday organizers across the globe. Much to our surprise some of the 21 featured projects are also Net Tuesday organizers including Movesmart.org(Chicago) and Knowmore.org(Vancouver). Its great to see fellow organizers getting behind such great causes.

The elevator pitches are still going on as I type, once they are completed the extremely hard task of voting begins and if I could vote for them all I would.

Stay tuned for this years winners!

N2Y3 NetSquared Conference Day 2

May 28, 2008

Bagel and Coffee in hand we are ready to take on day 2 of the conference. First up its Benji Burrell – Technologist for Appalachian Voices http://www.appvoices.org talking about mountain top removal coal mining. Check out their project ilovemountains.org to learn more about mountain top coal mining. Devastating stuff, really.

IMG_9312-1I got to talking to Benji last night at dinner and he discussed their use of YouTube and other social sites. To date they have 91 videos about mountain top removal on YouTube showcasing the damage that this type of mining is doing to this beautiful part of the country.

One time Montreal pranksters Vice Magazine have also been trying to direct attention to this type of mining with their VBSdotTV YouTube account. You can see their videos of mining here and Toxic West Virginia.

Benji and his cause aren’t against coal mining per se they just want it to be more responsible. Included in his slides are large aerial shots of elementary schools that are at the bottom of valleys that coal mines dump into. The coal dust settles on their schoolyard, and we think we’ve got it bad some times.

An amazing tool on their site is the ability to see on a map your impact on spreading the word and how many people have spoken out about it. Check out their Impact Map here. You’ll need to sign up for the site but it’s a very quick process. You can see me in the map below – look for Houston

impact map

N2Y3 Netsquared Conference 1st day Wrap-up

May 28, 2008

Wow, what a day! Day 1 is over and I can’t wait for day 2. The day was information packed from the get-go with Vince Stehle from Surdina giving the N2 goers the welcoming speech. That was followed by the two minute elevator pitch from each of the 21 featured projects. Micheal Metz from Cisco then welcomed us all to their top-notch facilities. Next up it was a featured project Carnival who set the stage for Nicolas Kardas from Microsoft to tell us about all the great things in their Live platform.

After lunch it was the breakout sessions that featured projects vying for the coveted #1 prize. There are many projects here this year and I invite you to review them by following the link above.

When we returned back to the hotel we were met with an amazing array of food, drink and some of the biggest players out there today. I was able to dine with Beth Kanter, Erin Denny and Houston’s Katie Laird.


Stay tuned tomorrow for more updates!

Using Flickr to Make Your Existing Community More Amazing, or to Create a New One

May 27, 2008

IMG_9268-1Gail Ann Williams is hosting an open discussion on how to use Flickr to connect users across your neighborhood and across the globe. One thing that Gail talks about is that if you use Flickr to help build your online community no matter how big or small you need to push the conversation forward. She is touching on the fact that people sit back and wait for comments on pictures that they have posted. There may be some comments that come in but you need to actively seek photos that pertain to you and your message, be it your non-profit or simply your own vanity. If you seek out like minded photographers the conversation you may engage in is priceless. This goes with anything in life, you may think that your idea or non-profit is amazing but most people won’t know that

This open discussion is honestly a great thing and I’m sure the people in attendance are already in the choir so understanding the power of Flickr is nothing new to them but If you are a non-profit and don’t know about it you really need to harness the power of this amazing site.

The latest incarnation of the Houston International Festival recently allowed a selection of Flickr photographers free access to the festival to help with the post momentum PR that most organizations don’t think about.

The powers of Flickr are too much to list here as we live blog the conference but check back in the future on some great how-to’s when it comes to free social media sites that are out there.

Gail works at Salon.com has been the director of WELL since 1998, you can follow her on Flickr as Gail.

Netsquared Meeting of the Minds, Well Some of Them

May 27, 2008

While the conference goers were having their lunch the Netsquared organizers from across North America and Ecuador met to discuss our chapters and moving forward. Not all organizers are at the conference this year but a few of us were able to put faces to emails and share stories. Netsquared stalwarts such as San Francisco, Houston and DC were there along with Seattle, the Twin Cities, Phoenix, Toronto, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles.


A lot of things were discussed in the very short time that we had but Billy Bicket threw down the gauntlet for us to step up in a big way so be on the lookout for some interesting changes in the netsquared landscape in the future! All in all it was a great meeting and I am looking forward to sidebar conversations over the next two days

pictured above are Back Row; Jennifer Sly/Twin Cities, Fresh! White/San Francisco, Katie Laird/Houston, Ivan Boothe/Philadelphia, Jean Russel/Chicago, Seth Horwitz/Philadelphia, Sarah Schacht/Seattle, Lewis Hoffman/Chicago, Michael Miranda/Chicago, Lela Prashad/Phoenix, Hatef Jamini/DC, Britt Bravo/San Francisco
Front Row; Jane Zhang/Toronto, Justin Massa/Chicago, Blair Golson/Los Angeles, Eduardo Bejar/Guayaquil Ecuador, Jason McElweenie/Houston(me)

Netsquared Conference Year 3 – N2Y3

May 27, 2008

Greetings from the Netsquared conference in Santa Clara California! The conference is in full swing with lots of great non-profits pitching their technologies. IMG_9234Some amazing ones so far is Know More http://knowmore.org. This is a Firefox plugin whose role ‘is to raise awareness of corporate abuse, and to serve as a catalyst for direct action against corporate power.’

Pretty impressive stuff!

There are 20 other amazing projects here at the Cisco Systems’ Vineyard Conference Center in Santa Clara and in my honest opinion there are some pretty powerful things going on here and the basis for it all is social change.

Some conference higlights so far;

Maplight.org was the big winner last year and as expected there are a lot of map mashups in contention this year. Some focus on New Orleans and others focus on your community. One lets you track Congress while another is mashup of  29 social action platforms.

One thing is for sure, its going to be a hard vote for this attendee!