Friday, July 28, 2006

DOPA passed the House

Yikes! The US. House of Representatives passed the Deleting Online Predators Act. should this pass the US Senate, this will drastically change the way people connect and share information with one another online.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Seventeen and Myspace team up for CGM, PSAs

Enough acronyms in there? ;-) Myspace and Seventeen Magazine have partnered to solicit consumer generated media, in the forms of public service announcement videos, on "an issue that's important to you." The winner will be profiled on Myspace and in Seventeen.

With the popularity of YouTube, it's no surprise that people are wanting a piece of the consumer generated media pie. Having it focused on a public service announcement on an issue that the creators care about, that sounds a lot like the Current TV model. More importantly though, the generational target audience of both Seventeen and Myspace have shown to be socially conscious and technically savvy at the same time. I'll even be bold enough to say that more initiatives like this (merging of CGM and a social conscience) will become the norm shortly.

Wikipedia founder moves into poiltics

On July 4th, founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales announced a new initiative to provide wikis for the political sphere.

This website, Campaigns Wikia, has the goal of bringing together people from diverse political perspectives who may not share much else, but who share the idea that they would rather see democratic politics be about engaging with the serious ideas of intelligent opponents, about activating and motivating ordinary people to get involved and really care about politics beyond the television soundbites.

While there is certainly an audience of wiki-philes and political types (nod to Church of the Customer), what of everyone else? How do you engage the majority of folks who are seemingly too busy or disinterested to bother participating civically? I don't claim to have the magic bullet, but I'm certainly trying a few different things to get folks more involved locally.

Loosely related (nod to Ypulse) here's some recent research questioning whether or not cynicism leads to apathy.

Ken Lay's death and Wikipedia

This recent article is amusing. Isn't this the point of a wiki? Information is updated as it becomes available. How is this different than say a wire service and it's early reports?

Buffett and the Gates Foundation invests in our future

Given my community focus, it is hard to not think about all of the possibilities with the recent news surrounding the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Not only will Bill Gates be focusing the majority of his attention on the foundation in 2008, but now Warren Buffett is donating the majority of his wealth to the foundation. Kudos to the Gates' and Mr. Buffett for immensely inspirational work.

Of course, with my great hope for the future work of the Gates Foundation, it also raises many questions as to the changing face of philanthropy in general. Will there be consolidations between foundations? Will others divert their energies to other causes? Will this be a dis-incentive to non-billionaires or millionaires? Or could it inspire more to give?

Can the 800 pound gorilla survive the onslaught?

With increased scrutiny by media (here and here), Myspace seems to be holding up to the security concerns. They may prove to even withstand election-year politics by Congress. The big question that remains is whether or not they can survive the hackers that inevitably come with being a rather large site with a target on it's back.

Focus on the end game

I've been working a lot with changing community technology lately, and while I am a firm believer in communities being more than the sum of the technology that brings people together, the tech also matters a great deal. Think of a coffee shop, for example, being replaced by one of those automated coffee machines. While you can still get a cup of coffee, it certainly leaves a different taste in your mouth. Robert Scoble also talks of a similar notion -- of using the right tools for the job, to describe the benefits of podcasting as opposed to say a blog or RSS feed. Why mention any of this?

For anyone looking at technology and community -- pay special attention to your end goals (there are many ways to serve a cup of coffee). Every decision, technical and otherwise, will drastically impact the community in any number of ways.

What is community?

Working with communities, online and offline, I find it's helpful to make sure there's a common language from which to build. Take the notion of community, for example. What exactly does it mean? For me, community is the end result of purposeful interactions between people over time around shared interests or activities.
I'm curious as to what others think about this working definition of community. Post away in the comments :-)

After a conversation with a friend of mine in Chicago, she was quick to point out that that alone will not make a community -- someone needs to initiate. Whether it's asking a question of others or holding some sort of event…something needs to help move the community forward.