The Blog — Housekeeping
We are very excited to introduce our 2011 Summer Interns! Check out their profiles and stay tuned to see some of their exciting work!
Too often, the discussion of technology and politics employs a kind of lazy shorthand. We say things like “The internet is revolutionizing politics,” or “the internet is helping dictators,” as if a set of network protocols and bits and wires could do anything on its own. Unfortunately, that shorthand often infects our discussion of current events, and we end up debating things like “Twitter Revolution” or “Facebook effect” rather than the real issues, which are what people do with these tools. The internet, after all, doesn’t empower anyone. We empower ourselves.
What are people doing on the internet? Who regulates this behavior? How?
As the past few months have demonstrated, these are questions with lots of repercussions for online activism. That’s why it’s worth noting that the world’s 8 wealthiest countries are about to tackle them at an event in France. The EG8 meeting, put together by France’s President Sarkozy, will precede the annual G8 conference. It will, according to Reuters, “focus on how to harness the economic potential of the Internet and foster innovation, while protecting intellectual property rights."
From the bullhorn in previous decades to social networking and mobile phones in this one, organizers use every available tool in order to engage, include and empower as many people as possible. That's why we think it's so important for digital activists to be equipped with the training necessary to get the most out of these new tools. Join us on Friday, June 3 from 1-2pm EST for a live Twitter chat (the first of many we hope!) to discuss this topic - and hopefully identify some answers.
How can we connect our broad network of digital activists, supporters, and private sponsors? We are building a Movements.org Marketplace!
If you follow Movements.org at all, you've noticed that our network is made up of grassroots activists from around the world. At our summits, and here on this site, the goal is for people to share information with each other so that they can more effectively tackle campaigns for social change.
Which blog posts, case studies or how to guides have you read the most in since our soft launch began this past summer? Here are the top ten most popular posts in our short history!
In case you haven't noticed, for the past few weeks we've been trying to feature a new how to guide daily -this way, we can spotlight guides that may be relevant, in order to get people looking at them, learning from them and (hopefully) commenting on how they can be more useful. For example, I was psyched when Beth Kanter and Tessa Barrera added a couple extra tips to our guide on identifying online influencers, which were then incorporated into it - this is the kind of thing we would like to begin doing more of.
So, starting today and on every Monday from now on, we will be featuring a paired up how to guide and case study. This is based on some feedback we've gotten that guides are more useful when seen in the context of activism campaigns that have successfully employed the tools, tactics and strategies covered. This week we're featuring one of the first guides we put together, on Twitter activism, with an example from Mexico of a great use of the platform to organize and push politicians to respond to public opinion.
The location is appropriate: Latin America is sometimes called a laboratory for democracy, and Chile is in many ways representative of this. The current president, Sebastian Pinera, is the first conservative to win an election since 1958 - in between then and now the country has seen a coup and 16 years of dictatorship - and January's democratic turnover of parties was seen by many as signaling the end of Chile’s drawn-out transition away from dictatorship into a fully consolidated democracy. Both events are likely to be chock full of people from Chile's growing civil society sector.
The two day long PDF conference will be organized according to 5 main buckets: political mobilization, transparency, how new technologies can influence economic development, the new public sphere, and examples of projects that are employing new technologies to address concerns at a local level. It'll bring together activists, NGOs and tech experts from around the region, as well as 16 promising young people attending on Google scholarships for a series of panels and breakout sessions that will hopefully lead to some fruitful collaborations.
Immediately following PDF is Tech@State and the kick-off of Civil Society 2.0, an "initiative to create a self-sustaining movement to connect social good organizations with technology based tools and volunteers to help raise digital literacy and increase their impact in the 21st century." Here activists and tech experts will present their projects and breakout into smaller conversations covering everything from civic engagement to climate change to disaster response.
We are happy to introduce our new AYM Ambassadors!
We've held three global summits so far and hosted nearly 100 delegates at these events. As we grow and begin to plan the 2011 summit it is more important than ever for us to solidify our relationships with these past delegates. That's why we're excited to announce the introduction of a small and very important group within the AYM network: the AYM Ambassador. Ambassadors are past delegates who have shown either superior dedication to the AYM network or outstanding expertise in the field of digital activism. These folks are sure to be at the 2011 summit and will be fully-fledged participants in the exchange of lessons learned, best practices and other informational resources that goes on within the AYM network. With that, meet the first class of AYM Ambassadors:
Daniel Teweles, Personal Democracy Forum
Ken Banks, Kiwanja and Frontline SMS
Maajid Nawaz, Quilliam and Khudi
Marc Wachtenheim, formerly Pan American Development Foundation
Mark Belinsky, Digital Democracy
Mike Evans, Full Court Peace
Oscar Morales, No Mas Farc
Patrick Meier, Ushahidi
Learn more about the ambassadors at their profile pages, and stay tuned as we begin to put together the AYM Senior Fellowship program.