A global jam session for development

Next week the US government will host what they are calling a “jam session” for individuals interested in, or working in the field of international development. They are calling it Global Pulse, and it will be held, live and virtual, from March 29-31.

Ideas come from other ideas....lots of light nulbs emerge from one large bulb

Using the IDM “Innovation Jam” platform, they hope to have upwards of 20,000 participants sharing ideas and brainstorming on issues such as empowering women and girls, eual access to quality education, civil rights, global health, equitable trade and environmental protection.

Its a neat idea, and an interesting use of technology. All that is required is IE6 or Firefox 1.5 or above.

Oh, and a high speed internet connection.

While I understand the technical need for the high speed connection, I wonder how many people who should be a part of the conversation will be left out?

I’ll be attending the sessions as much as possible. I’m particularly interested in how the needs of people with disabilities will be addressed in the discussions, and I’m curious to find out how people in the field are using media and communications in their programs and ideas.

Stay tuned……

AARP catches the youth, hope train

Osocio is one of my favorite blogs to follow- they always have great examples of social marketing campaigns from around the world.

This one, is from AARP- The American Association of Retired Persons, and its a product of their “U@50” video contest. (Getting young people to think about retirement is a tall order! Kudos to AARP for their Youtube contest. You can see the winners here.)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42E2fAWM6rA&eurl=http://osocio.org/&feature=player_embedded]

The play on words is great, and evidentally its based on an Argentinian election campaign ad by Lopez Murphy. He didn’t win, but his ad won the Silver Lion at the Cannes Lion Contest in 2006! (small consolation, I’m sure)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFz5jbUfJbk&eurl=http://osocio.org/message/all_of_this_will_come_true_unless_we_choose_to_reverse_it/&feature=player_embedded]

The Future of Emailing Congress

Computer with mailbox flagHave you emailed your congressional representative? Did you feel like it did any good?

Congressional offices are receiving hundreds of millions of emails every year, and the workload on staffers is enormous! As the number of emails has increased over the years, the staff size and technology budgets have not.

The Center for American Progress will be discussing this issue and posing some suggestions in it monthly Internet Advocacy Roundtable. As ususual, I’ll be live blogging!

You can follow along here!

Getting Excited About Maps

There’s been a lot of buzz about using maps in advocacy, and its been something I’ve been meaning to explore further. I knew about the use of maps to see that damage done in Darfur (you can track as village go missing, and as communities are destroyed in Zimbabwe). And as neat as these were, they didn’t really do anything more than show me what I had just read before I click on “see map.”

But today I came across a completely engaging use of maps.

Buried somewhere in the Oceana website (it really should be easier to find) there is a fun tool for getting people involved in increasing awareness of mercury in seafood. If you visit Oceana’s Green List, you are asked to enter in your zip code. The site will then show you a map of your area with all the local grocery stores marked with either red or green map pins. The green pins indicate the store posts warning about mercury levels in seafood. The red ones indicate stores that have yet to post these warnings. They are on the so called Red List.

If you click on one of these pins, you get the sotre’s name, logo and address and a link that says “Help us get to your store to hang signs.” and “Sign up to speak with your store manager.”

When you click on the link, you fill out a quick form (name, email address) and then you are given a link to a printable comment card that you can drop into the stores comment box.

Personally, I found this very fun and engaging. I would have never thought about lobbying my grocery store on this issue, but now I can ‘t wait to drop this thing off!

(This post was originally posted on my blog at NetCentric Campaigns.)

FaceBook to protest guerillas!

What do Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama and Oscar Morales of northern Colombia have in common?

They all use FaceBook (with varying success) to call people to action. But Morales has had far greater success than either of the Democratic candidates.

Earlier this year, Morales created the FaceBook group, One Million Voices Against the FARC and used the site to organize a worldwide protest march. The FARC and other guerilla movements began in the 1960s, and they have been accused of kidnappings, civilian massacres, political intimidation, extortion and other human rights violations.

Colombia has almost 650,000 FaceBook users, but the support for the march came from all over the globe. As the group’s popularity grew, more traditional media outlets pick up on the story. In the end, an estimated 2 million Colombians marched on February 5 in a unified show of protest, and solidarity protests were held in 193 cities throughout Latin America, Europe, North America and Asia.

What made this communication tool so effective?
Online social networking sites are a great way to get information spread throughout your network, and to simultaneously increase your network, so the basic structure and culture of the application helped.

Clarity was another factor of success. Rival and copy capt groups appeared on FaceBook calling for other marches, but their details were less clear. Said one marcher, “I received a FaceBook invite for a different march on December 16, but the message was so vague. The organizers of that event were saying they wanted peace, but they weren’t pointing out who was responsible for the violence. So I didn’t go. With this invite, it was so clear that I sent it to all my friends.”