This week at at the Graham Foundation in Chicago, PopTech brought together three speakers (and a smart audience in this city of news aggregators and social good organizations) for a special salon event on the current and future impact of social mapping tools.
From Pop!Tech Blog:
lya Kreymerman and Nina Zito, creators of One Million Monkeys Typing, think so, too. On their new community story-telling site, members collaborate on writing a story (perhaps even a novel), without the pressure or obligation of ever completing the story by themselves.
Founded on the simple premise “read, write, publish”, the project encourages members to create new segments for “story trees”. Before beginning a new story, you must first contribute to a few existing stories. Once you’ve become part of the writing community, you receive permission (or in One Million Monkey terms, a “seed”) to start your own story tree.
The idea of one million monkeys typing is derived from the infinite monkey theorem. Community members are considered “monkeys,” with a designated number indicating the order in which they joined the site.
The Point brings together problems, people, and the pressure of collective action. The site allows users to create campaigns and encourage other people to join anonymously.
Using the principles of Gladwell's Tipping Point, once the number of members reaches a certain critical mass (10, 50, 2000) and action is triggered: a sale, a press release, a protest.
Campaigns are tools for people to organize a group action that occurs only when enough people join to make participation worthwhile. Campaigns can be used for any situation where people want safety in numbers, from planning a party to boycotting a corporation to saving chickens.
Check out the simple, clever animations used to demonstrate the types of people, the problems they want to tackle, and the resulting campaigns--that can use The Point to catalyze change.
Make Something Happen.
The Point is a platform for group action, helping you make things happen that you couldn't accomplish alone.
View an Animated Introduction. See some different ways you can use The Point:
Example Campaign: Scrabulous Don't Go!
- The Frustrated Consumer
- The Unappreciated Employee
- The Loving Parent
- The Concerned Citizen
- The Smart Shopper
Hasbro, Inc. must continue to allow us to play Scrabulous for free or else we will stop buying Hasbro products if 500,000 people join Learn more.
The disturbing results continue to be an increase in both depression and suicide.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that an average of 19 million Americans suffer from depression. Of these suffers, over 30,000 will take there own lives, with almost 20,000 of these suicides are aged 15 to 34-years-old.
Every day, approximately 80 Americans take their own life, and 1,500 more attempt to do so.
Depression has, of course, many causes: economics, family history, neurobiology and microchemistry, physical or emotional trauma.
However, the most profound source seems to be a person's interpersonal relationship with their surroundings and the people around them.
More than half (55%) of all online American youths ages 12-17 use online social networking sites, according to a 2007 national survey of teenagers conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. So why is suicide among young people rising?
From Sense of belonging a key to suicide prevention
Wed Apr 2, 2008 3:13pm EDT
They can also look to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (http://www.afsp.org/), the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/), and the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/suicideprevention/fivews.asp) for information.
Via Ethan Zuckerman:
A new project by David Kobia and crew, encouraging Kenyans around the world to transcend their tribal identity and affirm their identity as Kenyans. An interesting response to the difficulties of keeping message boards sane during the crisis.Kobia also coordinated Ushahidi.com, a site that integrates GoogleMaps and SMS for citizens to report incidences of Riots, Deaths, Property Damage, Government Forces, Civilians, Looting, Rape, Peace.
It also has a running timeline of events, making it a powerful tool to trace the violence. Unfortunately, with some much violence involving so many impoverished people, this can't begin to give transparency to the chaos.
Although I am a Southern, American, white, suburban kid, I was born in Kenya and have carried hope and romance for this beautiful, passionate piece of the earth in my heart.
"Even when you are sick, if you have something that doesn't look nice, you don't want to put it on."
The power and flexibility of a network--whether a simple group of casual neighbors or a complex next generation communication network--depends not just on the number of connections, but on the quality of the nodes, and more important, the type of nodes. Below is a fantastic intro to the concept of graphs and networks. It helps in understanding the a social graph and how it differs from a social network.
- Let the source be open. Have no secrets. Make the code and the process that produces it public.
- Release early, release often.
- Reward contribution with praise.
The implications for communities, networks, social enterprise and individuals is huge--access to one of the largest social networking platform in the world. It will be intriguing to see how Google's Open Social grows as a contender.
Google's insight was that you could create a standard API that many social sites could adopt, so that developers could build applications to work across platforms. This would presumably stimulate innovations and make them more broadly available – great for users and second tier social networking sites, less great for Facebook (though in my opinion, anything that boosts social networking is good for anyone in that business).Henry Blodget of Silicon Alley Insider sees the recent decision as another brilliant Facebook move but predicts that Facebook wants to resist going completely "open" and allowing members to export their information and relationships at will.
Facebook might lose its control over its core asset (the billions of relationships among its millions of members, a.k.a., the social graph). This move seems another smart step toward a hybrid strategy: Allow app makers (and Facebook) to extend social-graph functionality to the web, gather more app users, and recruit more members--but retain full control over the social graph itself.
From LifeHack's 11 Top New Web Apps of 2007:bubbl.us: Flash-based mindmap creator bubbl.us allows you to quickly and easily make effective, attractive mindmaps that can be exported as images or as HTML outlines, or shared with others who can add new items or draw new connections between existing ones. Sometimes clunky if your connection is slow or if the mindmaps get too large. But a fantastic Flash-enabled tool!
Which social networking sites have the best balance of ease-of-use vs. available features? The British consumer magazine Computing Which? has ranked Bebo as the best social networks, ahead of rivals Facebook and MySpace. The Guardian writes:
Bebo and Facebook achieved the highest scores of 79% and 74% respectively, and were rated easier to use than MySpace and best for socialising. Bebo, which is used predominantly by the 13- to 24-year-old age group, is praised for working hard to encourage responsible networking. "Users can restrict who sees their information, and block users, and there's plenty of advice on security risks and how to avoid these," says the magazine.Details that matter to new users include: ease of sign-up, length of process, ease of use, features, navigation, and speed of page loads. Of course, one of the major drivers is the number of friends the new user already has on the service!
As sensor technology becomes cheaper to deploy, and the metadata embedded therein and broadcast therefrom becomes richer and more detailed, we approach a time in which every tennis shoe and ham sandwich has its own backstory.
We can know whether the pig in the sandwich had a happy life, or, more important, if it was exposed to harmful bacteria or unethical farming practices.
These are "material instantiations of an immaterial system, digitally manufactured things from virtual plans." In layman's terms, these are objects that can be manufactured, tracked, interacted with and recycled through digital systems embedded in the object and the environment. Now, knowing a product's backstory is emerging as a core principle of commerce.
As the public gains interest and personal investment in living more sustainably, knowing the backstory becomes increasingly important. Whether it's food, lifestyle products, building materials -- most everything in the designed or built environment -- a big part of making good choices involves knowing where things come from, what's inside them, and how they got to point of use. If we know the backstory as consumers, we can make good choices; and if businesses and designers know they'll have to tell the story of their product, they make sure it's a story someone would want to hear.
In fact, the label "social entrepreneur" is the nom de guerre in the current war on poverty, disease, conflict and intolerance, with the long-time foot soldiers finally gaining popular acclaim.
Last year, the man who is oft cited as the prototype of the modern social entrepreneur was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize: Muhammad Yunus, founder and manager of Grameen Bank and its growing family of social venture businesses in Bangladesh.
Fast Company has dedicated entire issues to celebrating Social Capitalists who've used business savvy and social conscious to create successful ventures that reap an ROI tracked in the new gold standard of success: The Triple Bottom Line. Business school students are emailing their parents, declaring that they are going to take their $200,000 education and start a business selling eyeglasses to Haitians. Oh, and make a ton of money doing it.
With all this good press, an very self-reflective and worried conversation is taking place on-line at the Skoll Foundation's project site, The Social Edge. Social entrepreneurs are having a moment of doubt as to the depth of this perceived global change.
As the topic itself becomes more popular, more mainstream, more Hollywood, will this spotlight yield practical leaders who can effectively leverage the emergent power of social media to mobilize decentralized activity in combination with true political will to lead change in policies and regulations on a global scale?
Changing the World is Not Enough
Is social entrepreneurship ready for the real challenge?
by Social Edge
As a social entrepreneur, I worry. Changing the world through the work of one social entrepreneur at a time is not good enough. Improving life for even one person is worthy. It changes the world…one heartbeat at a time. And sooner or later, as life for enough people is changed for the positive we will reach a tipping point beyond which the entire world will change itself into a better place. I believe this will happen, given time.
But what if it doesn’t happen soon enough? What if we don’t have the time it will take? What if the world tips the other way first? Some days, for every tip toward a better world there is an opposite and greater tip toward a horrific world. What if those days overpower the good days?
A new wilderness is engulfing us. How we see this forest for its trees and who leads us through it could make the difference between life and death for civilization as we know it.