This Mashable post is a bit slight, but I’m down with its premise. Weaving foursquare and the like into collective action on behalf of a cause is in my opinion the most compelling nptech development around at the moment. (Along with microvolunteering of time/talent — the kind of thing The Extraordinaries facilitate.)
Anyway, here’s the protein:
With tech evangelists and small businesses exploring the potential power of Foursquare and other location enabled services, it was only a matter of time before change makers in the non-profit and social enterprise ecosystem “checked-in” and began finding innovative methods to rally support for their causes.
Top three examples here:
- Rewarding Volunteer Loyalty. “Restaurants that monitor customer regularity based on Foursquare () data could give free meals to local food banks. Drug stores could issue over the counter medication and toiletries to homeless shelters. Nightclubs that hold open mic nights could allow their mayors to get up on stage and deliver calls to action. Non-profit leaders could hold meetings at local watering holes that track Foursquare usage in exchange for outdoor signage promoting their cause. The possibilities are endless.”
- Turn Check-Ins into Dollars. E.g., venues and corporate sponsors could allow individuals to earn “karma points” for check-ins that the user could convert to $ donations to a cause of their choice.
- Crowdsourcing Crisis Information. The Ushahidi model — gmaps + user-generated reports to monitor “crime, devastation, and peace and relief efforts” wherever chaos blooms.
That’s just for starters. For example, if the Coakley volunteers doing GOTV work today and tomorrow had an app with maps, voter data, and activity stream, I’d bet they could be shockingly efficient. Loud and energizing, too — it’d be hard to passively sit around and do nothing when tweets are rolling in showing all your friends out there working hard and making it happen.
Cranked up my own Tumblr stream last week; really like it as a quick tool for clipping pretty much anything for further processing. Only drawback so far: the app is slower than Steve Balboni was on the basepaths.
Anyway, I think I’ll do a once-a-week index of any Tumblr items I post that seem relevant to the roots.lab purview. Here’s the first.
- Nonprofit Salesforce.com Practitioners | Google Groups – Very active community, and a huge archive of accrued wisdom on nonprofit implementations of Salesforce. Cool-io.
- Fast Company :: building a corporate alumni network – “There’s a way to keep people working with you even after they stop working for you. Here is a five-point program on how to build a successful alumni network for your company.”
- What’s Working for Social Media Marketers? – eMarketer – “A September 2009 MarketingProfs survey of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers found that the marketing tactics most often used on social sites are not necessarily the best ones.”
- Avatar Induces the ‘Life Is Elsewhere’ syndrome? – Lots of facile noise on twitter about CNN story about Avatar-goers who were so taken by the world Cameron brought to vivid life that they didn’t want to leave, to point where depression and suicidal ideation have arisen. Okay, funny ha-ha. But I know something about this kind of longing, and am interested in how it works, what conditions have to be present in a fictionalized world for it to seem vividly real enough to linger in indefinitely.
- Google’s Approach to Social in 2010 | GigaOm – “If you use Google products, the company already knows who your most important contacts are, what your core interests are, and where your default locations are. [Google engineering director] David Glazer [says that] Everything is better when it knows who I am.“ What does “social” mean to Google? “Who I am, who do I know, what do I do,” said Glazer.
- Where to look for blogs on a given topic – Tidbit from a Brogan post on blogger relations: Alltop, Google Blog Search, Twitter Search, Postrank Topics.
- How We Use Twitter at Forum One — Jim Cashel, who started the Online Community Report way back in prehistoric times (1996), describes goals and metrics for his firm’s use of twitter.
I’ve barely used this blog for the last couple years, and that’s a shame — it’s been a great way to start articulating ideas and slow build toward a coherent point of view, and it’s served me really well. Parenting two young kids has taken up a lot of the free time I used to give to blogging.
But I miss it. I want to relaunch this professional sandbox. My original intent, back in 05, was to open-source my roughest, rawest nascent thoughts about web strategy for organizations. I want to get back to that.
There are tools around now that help people spit out this kind of stuff — quick journaling/scrapbooking — with minimal hassle. I’m thinking of moving the site over to posterous or tumblr, as people like Steve Rubel and Robert Scoble have done. We’ll see. But, however I do it, here’s the goal: post pretty much every day, maybe several times a day, short/sweet, laser focus on how organizations (especially advocacy groups) can further their mission by leveraging the social web.
To start: with respect to what wired publics can achieve and the tech and tactics they’ll use to do it, we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Blogging, tweeting — all well and good; it’s part of the capacity/infrastructure groups need to be able to build sustainable, effective wired publics around their mission. But is this stuff the basic catalytic enzyme that creates a wired public around furthering a cause?
No. People want to be able to do something that contributes in a meaningful way to achieving a specific goal. They want to be part of something larger than they are. They want to be part of getting things done. To date, we haven’t given them a whole lot more than sending form emails to politicians/CEOs and donating cash. These options are stale. We need more and better models for facilitating kick-ass collective action.
And we will. I know it. Give it a few years, and present-day online advocacy campaigns will look embryonic by comparison. Grab-bag of ideas rattling round my head coming later.
Perusing a bunch of social design patterns material tonight, including a very rewarding two-part conversation between Josh Porter and Yahoo’s Bryce Glass regarding patterns for reputation systems. This bit from Part II grabbed me good:
7) What is the biggest mistake that designers make when implementing reputation patterns?
I’d say 2 related things: one is employing those more empirical patterns— Points, and Levels, ranked and tracked on Leaderboards— in situations where they’re not appropriate. I feel like I’m belaboring the point, but… if your community values fun, and easy-going interactions with each other and helpfulness? Then don’t destroy that fantastic dynamic by comparing members, one to another. Don’t elevate certain members’ status at the expense of everyone else in the community—’cause resentment, factions and gaming are soon to follow.
And related to this is the mistake of rewarding the wrong types of behavior. Specifically, there’s a tendency to want to reward activity (how many times have I contributed, or how frequently) instead of the quality of those contributions. (Do people like this video? Have they watched it? Responded? Linked to it, or embedded it on their blog? Voted for it, or assigned a rating?) Of course, both are important: you want people who are actively engaged and prolific contributors: but you want those contributions to be quality ones: thoughtfully prepared, formatted along community norms, and above all useful or interesting to the community.
Italics mine. I was in fact toying with the thought of deploying a competitive, compare-your-progress-with-that-of-your-friends/peers feature in an app I’m working on. But the barnraising spirit is so critical to this app that I’m now thinking twice about that.
I love this kind of work; it’s just fun. :-)
Couple days ago, I noticed that “moonfruit” was the size of China in Tweetdeck’s Twitscoop “buzzing right now on Twitter” column. “WTF is ‘moonfruit,’ thought I. A little later, I got my answer via tweet from a followee-who-shall-not-be-named:
Celebrate 10 years of Moonfruit and win a MacBook Pro http://bit.ly/96bxC #moonfruit
Sigh. Yet another instance of a marketer’s gambit that offers no more value to me than a bad-odds lottery ticket. And a followee literally carting a piece of interruption marketing right into my living room. Brought to mind a classic Pee Wee shtick:
Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb had a reaction similar to mine. And, as I commented over there, I’m puzzled as well as annoyed — why would any marketer — much less the scads of them doing this kind of thing these days on twitter — think this is a good idea? There must simply be a lot of stupid people in the profession.
I’m not hopeful, but I sorely wish that:
- Individuals and enterprises of all kinds using twitter for commercial purposes would adopt a simple ethic: stay out of social media unless you’re committed to doing your best to add value with every single gesture. Give a hoot: Don’t pollute. In the long run this is how you win anyway.
- Individuals: don’t allow yourself to be used in a way that reduces signal-to-noise your friends and followers experience. Don’t bring a salesman into my living room because you want a free MacBook Pro.