Be the change you want to see on the web

Recently, everyone has been talking about Sen. Obama’s online social networking software. Obama has some great people working for him and people tell me his software is very good. As an Edwards supporter, I haven’t taken the time to look closely at Obama’s system.

However, I like the Edwards social networking tool, OneCorps. It may not be as sophisticated, but it has the important focus, of getting people to get out and take action, to (paraphrasing from Gandhi), be the change you want to see on the web.

This weekend will be the next day of action for the Edwards campaign. Edwards supporters around the country will gather to take action to help our country. The focus, this month, is on health care. In Connecticut, Edwards supporters are gathering to give blood. In Florida, Edwards supporters are joining in a neighborhood cleanup day.

Beyond this, the other day, I got an email from Sen. Edwards on is the hot new social networking tool that “aims to transform social activism by serving as the central platform that connects likeminded people”. It is just getting off the ground and I was impressed that Sen. Edwards has a page up there. There is a small group of Edwards supporters there and a small group of Obama supporters there.

As a final note, I do not want to get into an argument over which presidential candidate has the best tools or is doing the most to encourage their supporters to take action now. If the Obama team uses their social network to empower and encourage their supporters to get out and take action that surpasses the actions that the Edwards team is doing, then that is great. We should be competing to see which group of supporters can do the most to bring about the change we want to see in the country, not in 2009 but starting right now.

If the Richardson, Dodd, Clinton, or other teams come in and raise the stakes, even better. We need to show that Democratic working together caring for our neighbors can restore the empathy which has always been part of what makes America great.

(Cross-posted on DailyKos)

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Random Stuff: Media, Games, Wind, Coal and psychology

From time to time, my email box gets over run with things that I really want to spend time reading and then writing long blog posts about, but I just don’t get the time. There are a few different things like this piling up right now, so here is my latest collection of random stuff.

New England News Forum

The New England News Forum is now public and planning their first conference. Robert Cox of the Media Bloggers Association and I will be leading a fun wrap up session entitled, “From DC courts to NH campaigns: Has blogging gone mainstream media?”.

NPAP's Conference on Politics and Paranoia

The National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis in collaboration with a lot of other groups is presenting a conference, Politics and Paranoia, The Political Exploitation of Paranoid Anxiety. If you don’t attend, something really bad could happen to you.

For more information check out

Games for Change

On a mailing list of people interested in Games for Change, I found two things jumping out at me. First is from Robert Steele, whom I first ran into as part of the Greater Democracy community. He has a group called, the Earth Intelligence Network. They also link to Tom Atlee’s Co-Intelligence Institute. I need to go out and see what both groups are up to these days.

The second thing that jumped out at me was a blog post by Jason Ellis. I don’t know anything about Jason, other than what he’s written in his email. He mentions that he was a student of Amy Bruckman’s. That is a name from my past. I think I ran into Amy at the first Association of Internet Researchers conference in Kansas several years ago. I knew of her work from my earlier days of MOOs. Who knows. Maybe I even met Jason there.

Anyway, he has a blog entry entitled It’s Only Fun When You Ain’t Learning. It looks like a blog entry that I want to go back, read in detail, follow the links, etc. Maybe by adding a note here, I’ll be more likely to get around to that.

Wind vs. Coal

Tara Lohan has an interesting article on AlterNeton Wind and Coal in West Virginia. I fired off an email to Bethe Wellington, whom I met through the National Conference on Media Reform. She writes a lot on this subject and I was sure she would have some useful additional information.

She starts off her email by pointing me to a campaign to stop mountain top removal. Note to self: Link this into as well.

She also links to the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, another leader in the fight against mountain top removal. The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition has a lot of links to renewable resources. Beth talks of the support for wind farms, but owned and run by locals.

Lohan’s article is long and it has already attracted over 150 comments. It is well worth reading and thinking about all the different viewpoints presented.

Well, that’s my collection of random stuff for right now.

About Social Networks

Obama’s social network and Edwards’ campaign office in Second Life have spawned another round of discussions about the value of online social networks. Second Life is more than just a social network, but a lot of the concerns about Second Life apply to a general discussion of social networks.

I’ve been writing about social networks for a few years now and you can see some my posts about social networks here.

Before I start talking much about social networks, I would like to address some of the general criticisms of social networks. It seems like a common occurrence with any new technology is as the technology starts gaining popularity, people start coming out and pointing out how the technology might be less than people expecting. Some of this is, perhaps, just a normal part of a technology adoption curve. It may be in part, people who are afraid of being disrupted pointing out the problems with a disrupting technology. Some of it may simply be people looking at a glass being half empty instead of being half full, and some of it may be best summarized in the quote that Robert Kennedy adapted from George Bernard Shaw, "Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not."

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Snake on Ice

Snake on Ice, originally uploaded by Aldon.

This afternoon, Mairead and I went for a walk in some woods near our house. On the way we found this snake lying on the ice covered path. It's tongue was sticking half way out and it wasn't particularly moving, although it was clear that it was still living.

I picked up the snake and it wrapped itself tightly around my hand apparently to gain a little warmth. It was very cold to touch, but seemed to warm up and get a little more lively as I carried it.

We debated what should be done with the snake. If we brought it back home, that cat would enjoy it, but that wouldn't be good for the snake. Along the path, we found a patch of dark brown dirt, underneath a bolder, but located where the sun could shine on it.

I set the snake down on the sand. It laid there for a few moments, and then quickly slithered off deeper into the darkness beneath the bolder.

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Amanda Update

Please read Amanda Marcotte's article, Why I had to quit the John Edwards campaign (review on NewsTrust).

Fight back. Join I am Amanda Marcotte on Facebook, and get involved in efforts to make sure the right wing smear machine stops driving good people out of political jobs.

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