Random Kanji character

B.L. Ochman writes about widgets, including a link to the Kanji character above.

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Thinking about Social Capital

One idea that I’ve been focusing a lot on these days is Social Capital. It is one of those popular phrases that doesn’t get explored enough. Blogs and online social networks are a way of building social capital, and people wonder how to transform some of that social capital into economic capital; not an easy task.

In Bowling Alone, by Robert Putnam, he provides a little more insight into social capital. He divides it into bonding social capital and bridging social capital. Bonding social capital is what ties a community together. Members of a community share a common bond, they talk about it and it empowers them. Bridging social capital is how people reach out to other communities and connect them.

People often criticize the blogosphere as being high in bonding social capital and low in bridging social capital. The lefties bond with the lefties and the same thing happens on the right. I’ve always thought of it in terms of the second degree of friends in an online social network. A person focused on bridging social capital may have lots of friends, and one on bonding social capital may have a smaller number, but even if they have the same number, it becomes more apparent when you go to friends of friends. With bonding social capital, they are all friends of one another and the number of friends of friends isn’t substantially different from the number of friends. However, for bridging social capital the difference can be great.

However, this is based on an incomplete view of social networks. Two of the key components of a network are the nodes; people in the case of social networks, and links; relationships in the case of social networks. A third component of any network is the traffic over the network; the communications between people in a social network.

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Ned Lamont for U.S. Senate Introduction Video

Today, the Lamont campaign launches its 'Intro to Ned' video. You can see it here.

They are having a viewing up in Hartford, and on blogs around the country.

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Cool things: Listeroids

Over at Greater Democracy, Jock has a blog post about Biofuels. On the mailing list, the discussion has drifted over to Listeroids. Listeroids are diesel engines based on designs from the Lister company. They are cool running slow speed engines that can burn waste vegetable oil and be used as efficient inexpensive generators.

As I read more about them, I found Kevin Kelly's website. Kevin is doing all kinds of interesting stuff, and you should read his narrative to find out about projects like The All Species Foundation, the The Long Now Foundation and The Rosetta Project.

His Cool Tools section is, well, cool. Maybe I should make a yurt. Likewise, his True Films section provides a lot of pointers to interesting films worth viewing.

Shooting our own Dream Dozen

Back in February, as I contemplated the final episode of The West Wing, I wrote this post about a possible replacement series.

Aaron Sorkin hasn’t given me a call so I guess if this is going to happen, we need to do it ourselves. That doesn’t really bother me. I wasn’t really expecting a call anyway. However, the idea has taken off in different directions.

The Ned Lamont campaign has taken off with videos. The Ned Lamont group on YouTube has really taken off, with lots of great videos of Ned. There are videos of his stump speech, videos of people interviewing voters on the issues, attack ads aimed at his opponent and plenty more.

As I’ve talked with others about this, and a Citizen Filmmaking Workshop and Festival has grown out of the discussions.

So, go back and re-read my ”Dream Dozen” post. Then, grab your video camera and head off and tape some good footage of your favorite candidate. Let’s spread the videos online, create a little buzz about new candidates and roll our own Dream Dozen show.

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