Civic technology

Slashdot | Politicians Catch on to Blogging

Link: Slashdot | Politicians Catch on to Blogging.

Blogging is moving up the political foodchain: 20 months ago at the innaugural Personal Democracy Forum, Congressman Anthony Weiner stated on the opening panel that politicians wouldn’t care unless and until blogging caused mainstream media coverage that in turn affected mainstream consciousness.  Meanwhile an IRC room set up for people in the audience scrolled flame on a giant projection screen behind him.  The audience numbered less than 200.

This June, by contrast, more than 2000 will gather for YearlyKos, the innaugural national bloggers convention for the Daily Kos community, the event will be keynoted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and I’m betting (it will be in Las Vegas after all) that all the 2008 Democratic Presidential hopefuls will be there– just to try to impress and be one with the bloggers.

So, political blogging has gone mainstream and is de rigeur for up and coming politicians.

Which begs the question: what will be next online political revolution be?

I’m betting that it’s going to be the mainstreaming of online advocacy communities.  Where blogging has broadened the range of people with a political voice that can be heard and eventually percolate up to mainstream media, online advocacy communities are already greatly expanding the range of people and organizations that through their collective action can actually impact the outcome of an election.  It’s going to make having a heavily funded campaign less critical, and being an authentic and inspiring candidate way more potent (fingers crossed).   DailyKos morphing into YearlyKos is a hint of this evolution already underway within the blogosphere itself.  The fact that YearlyKos, The Onion, Air America, Spread Firefox and (Senator Chris) Dodd.Senate.Gov all use the same open-source platform– community-built CivicSpace/Drupal– is another.

Civic technology

Google PhotoStreams for Planetary Peace?

Just sent this to a buddy at Google Earth…  I’m quite taken w/ the idea actually… poke holes?  and if not pls. call up the Google switchboard and demand it!


XXXXXX, I’m sure you’ve thought of this already, probably even have it implemented for all I know (I’m on a Mac so I still CAN’T know ;), but just in case:

The other night I watched the great documentary "Born Into Brothels" in which a bunch of kids living in the Red Light districts of Calcutta get a chance to get out by being given cameras and a photography class and becoming photojournalists of their lives and their communities…

I felt an immediate connection and a concern through experiencing the life that these people ARE living this very moment half a world away…

Made me think that there are so many moments being captured all the time of life around the planet, and yet STILL what we see is a teensy fraction filtered through the lens of documentary or news media, OR totally out of geographic and chronological context through services like Flickr.

What I’d *really* like to see on Google Earth isn’t the satellite imagery of the ground, but the streams of images of real life that are already being captured there every day.  If I could check in on the lives of people in the streets of Calcutta in pseudo-real-time each day, I think I would be a more enlightened and caring human being for that awareness and experience.  If a whole planet of people could do same, I think we’d all take much more responsibility for and care for each other.

Sure it’ll be a while before WiFi-enabled cameras are all over the streets of Calcutta, but some could be soon if they’re not already, and other models for uploading photos like creating a program for cheap digital cameras to be brought into upload centers at the equivalent of Mailboxes Etc / UPS Store / Kinkos and the like might make significant photo volume available from much of our planet quite quickly…

Sounds like a great application for Google Earth + Google Base to me…

Anyway… 😉


Civic technology

Standing Room Only At The San Francisco Drupal Meetup

  Originally uploaded by Pooles.

40 people showed for the San Francisco Drupal Meetup at the CivicSpace  offices at 3 in the afternoon yesterday.  Who knew?  That’s more impressive to me than the 9.7 million results Google now returns for Drupal.  The platform is exploding.  And numbers aside, what people are doing with Drupal– profoundly impactful and broadly diverse projects– who is doing it– some of the most talented and generous people I’ve ever met– and the way that they’re doing it–  open, altruistic, collaborative to the hilt– is what is truly amazing and inspiring to me.  Next major milestones as I see them unfolding over the next 6 months:

1) Economy: Turning the corner from a vibrant growing economy of contract consulting firms implementing the platform, which we’ve seen grow over the past year, to a new array of profitable online services , communities and media properties run on the CivicSpace/Drupal platform (e.g.: GoodStorm, The Onion); this will take the economy around the platform to a whole new level

2) Hosted Services: Bryght announced today that they’re about to start charging $40/month for a hosted Drupal site, which portends an array of different flavors of hosted CivicSpace/Drupal coming down the pike from various vendors this year; the end-users wins– faster, easier, and less costly to get up and running on the platform– mass market at last here we come; (congratulations on hitting this milestone, our Vancouver friends– onwards! 🙂

3) Politics: the 2006 elections in the US are right around the corner, and I believe a number of campaigns will win significantly because of their intelligent use of CivicSpace implementations, and more generally their use of online communities and open-source organizing tools.