In 2005 I traveled to Thailand to make a documentary with kids and women affected and infected with HIV & AIDS. In three weeks I visited social service centers, a camp for kids and families and a residential living center that makes its own clothing, bread, art and goods to sell that supports a village of 40 residents. There are many inspiring stories out there of what it means to love oneself and others through positive action – this is just a glimpse at a few of the people who have inspired me along the way.
A big thank you to Lars Hasselblad Torres and the Global PeaceTiles Project for making this journey possible, along with all of my extraordinary colleagues featured in this short. This was very early in my video production career and was all self-produced and edited – thankfully I can hire editors now to help me. It’s good to know our strengths – and hire others in our community to create more beautiful things together.
Please leave a comment and tell me what’s inspiring you to action – and let me know how we can create beauty together.
Five years ago we would muse with catalysts at the Omidyar Network about relationship networks, reputation and trust and the essentials of building strong communities of change for both local and global impact. Today some of those ideas have come to fruition with platforms like Change.org, Wiser Earth, Ushahidi, Quora, LinkedIn and Twitter campaigns. As many of us have worked together and cross paths frequently in the ethers there’s been a desire to track those engagements and understand true reputation through our work over time, mapping the most prolific leaders with great questions & endeavors like we do on the TechSoup Forums.
Jumo released to the public in the last 24 hours and has the potential to fill the gap between great people and great endeavors in a different way than Change.org, LinkedIn or Wiser Earth manages to do. Unfortunately it seems Jumo may have more interest in the transactional economy of giving than the relationship economy it has the potential to grow, becoming a philanthropic passthrough that takes a cut higher than most fiscal sponsors, but lower than the United Way. So far it functions very closely to the Causes function on Facebook, more like Razoo. It’s a start, but personally I want a real economy of contribution that goes deeper than dollars.
Tracking followers simply in the Quora fashion is a nice and elegant way to see who influences who but it lacks any sort of qualification or indication of endorsement. Recommendations in LinkedIn are more helpful but a star/point system would allow for users to vote up their favorite leaders and catalysts in various fields.
I think the creators of Path are on to something by creating limited networks and I’d like to refine it more deeply in the #TrustTable project – creating true indicators of trust and reputation by demonstrating who are the most reliable people indicated on a short list of must-contacts in case of emergency. #TrustTable is an ad hoc project designed to solve at least two problems: the need for quick emergency contact data in a semi-public online space and mapping reputation & relationship trends to show who are the most trusted people in our communities.
The concept for TrustTable is simple: You have a round dining table with only 10 seats for guests. Choose the people you would want at your last meal on earth, the person who should be first to pick up your kids if something happens to you. Ten seats only: make sure you include the people who should be contacted if something happens to you – this is your command center and this is your league of personal superheroes. Colorcode their chairs with contact protocols and link it to their FB or Twitter page so someone can push your big red emergency button if they need to – you choose who will be contacted for your customized needs. Choose to share your private link with your school, hospital and family or make certain data public and decorate your table for a feast to benefit your favorite cause.
I value social action networks with indicators to vote up submissions to the creative economy. If you imagine each post, video or photo as an asset in the marketplace of Facebook or Twitter I want the ability to be able to give extra stars, points or fiery dragons to the people who are submitting the best possible solutions. The LIKE button is ok but I’d rather have 30 stars a day and have the ability to blow 5 stars on the best link or photo. I believe that this mix of a creative economy and reputation-associated relationship building will allow us to find collaborators and get things done more effectively in less time.
So far the social action networks that have sprung up to get things done quickly include Ushahidi, the Crisis Camps/Crisis Commons movements and Twitter social campaigns. Most of these have required the frequent use of googledocs and wikis to manage collaborative information across wide virtual teams and lack the ability to track the backend of engagement well as we look to reward those who are getting the most done.
Credit and attribution is tricky in the nonprofit creative commons world of open sharing; we walk a dicey line between collaboration and needing to toot our own horns enough to win grants. We want to empower great ideas and resources always seem scarce compared to the giant needs we’re facing. Any tool that helps us leverage more for less is helpful….for now the tools that are helping me the most to create social change ripples include Twitter, Quora, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook. For now the social action networks like Change.org and Jumo offer enough for me to chime in once or twice, but I’m not seeing enough sticky reasons to keep coming back to share new endeavors. Some networks like #TrustTable would only be updated twice a year….but is there a future for a philanthropic discovery site like Jumo that does not push regular emails or curated updates? Would you keep going back, or are you having better experiences with other social action networks?
Social Media is a fantastic evolution of human communication. It allows us access from afar and participation, even when sick.
On Monday I was lucky to host the SocialGOV panel in the beautiful Bradley room atop City Hall here in Los Angeles. We had a great panel of special guests: Alan Silberberg moderated with Christina Gagnier, Jim Gilliam, Heidi Nel and special guest Eric Garcetti joined the conversation.
Eric Garcetti, Alan Silberberg, Christina Gagnier, Jim Gilliam and Heidi Nel discussing government engagement & social media, hosted by Evonne Heyning
We learned a handful of useful skillsets when juggling multiple accounts, constituencies and engagement needs across diverse communities. Eric Garcetti talked about his dream dashboard for municipal engagement about 7 minutes in to this 90 minute event, along with talk on listening tools, finding the right mix of skills and voice for social media interaction, being willing to step in on difficult situations with openness, transparency, care for people in a very human way. All of our speakers spoke to both the technologies they use and the human skills they rely on to make online communication efficient for everyone.
What did I learn from these leaders? The *8 Tweets A Day* engagement standard seems to keep people going with enough information without overloading your social media channels. Jim Gilliam has a new tool launching next month that will allow for much more robust campaign management for activists and organizers. CitySourced has proven useful in Los Angeles along with Google Moderator, but Eric Garcetti still prefers Twitter for conversational engagement. OpenGov is growing as local agencies and departments embrace the localized news potential of tools like Twitter, Facebook, video tools and policy engagement Q&A spaces including the free Google tools used by LA government.
I rarely get to share much of my work with clients around the world but this one is a rare gift….a few weeks ago I attended the National Conference on Volunteerism and Service with my colleagues @TechSoup where we shared social media secrets, tips and tools along with upcoming platforms to explore for large and small organizational leaders. See the photos and lessons here:
Not sure why I felt compelled to make a Frog-Oil Spill game but now you can help our favorite little friend rescue his fellow animals before getting too close to the oil slicks, dispersants and other dangers in the gulf. Some of the research on this is coming from http://www.tedxoilspill.com – an amazing amalgam of activists, scientists and leaders exploring oil spill solutions.
This game is in early beta testing and all comments, ideas and solutions are welcome as we add to it. Thanks!
It’s been two weeks now and I’m still not sure how to talk about the AMO trip to Madre Grande in Dulzura, CA. For those of you who haven’t followed our work, Amoration team members have been heading down to MG since 2004 for meditation retreats and art/music gatherings at this theosophical monastery near the Mexican border. In the fires that ravaged Southern California this fall most of Dulzura was burnt including half of the land that Madre Grande owns high atop a rocky mountain.
We will return again….soon. We were able to rebuild little bits and help support a vital community hard-hit by disaster. You can do this too….every little bit helps! Whether fire, flood or other damage we all need someone to reach out and help us out at some point in our lives. Some of the AMO supporters already donated hoses and shower heads to rebuild the lost water systems!
Photos and more details will be posted soon….for now visit http://www.madregrande.org/fire to see more of this land and the many buildings and residences the monks lost at MG.
This photo is one of many taken by Mario and Tracey, two monks living on the property and now working to rebuild and remove the burnt remains. They are one family among many, thousands who lost homes and lives. In upcoming blogs we’ll tell you more about Burners without Borders, the Bjurts, Madre Grande and the AMO team that helped them. We’ll even tell you more about the amazing Manzanita and how you can own a piece of Madre Grande to carry this magical place with you always.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, be thankful. It goes up very quickly when the time comes.