1 April 2013
13 March 2013
Advances in communication technology can be combined with modern organizational principles to devise a new model for citizen organizing and advocacy that is more effective. Using these principles, we can create sustainable, grassroots culture change that is driven not by “experts” working at a distance from the actual problem, but instead by the passion of the members and the individuals that stand to benefit most from the change. We can connect members to one another and build powerful networks that will share lessons learned between geographically distant regions. We can empower members by giving them first the inspiration, and second the knowledge to implement change in their own families, towns, and regions. Blossoming from this, the members will have the capacity to develop practical and broadly-accepted solutions to age-old problems, and then successfully advocate for these solutions and for themselves on local, state, national, and global levels. »
24 September 2012
I spent last week in the Ukraine as a tech trainer for TechCampKyiv. It was amazing. I was training on online engagement, both generally — and how it relates to expanding the audience for an in-person event. We started a list of desirable functionality along with tools that provide that functionality that I thought others might find useful, so here it is.
Under each heading, there is a generic search term that can be used to search for other tools that will work in your country or region, and then some examples of tools to consider. Most of these are free or at least have a free version that should work for a small event or when you’re just starting.
Feel free to share your favorites in the comments.
Search Term: Social Network
Search Term: broadcast online radio
Note: These tools also archive the streamed audio. If you are searching for a new tool, this will most likely be an important feature to look for so that your community can listen to the audio at a later time.
Search Term: streaming video
Note: These tools also archive the streamed video. If you are searching for a new tool, this will most likely be an important feature to look for so that your community can watch the video at a later time.
Search Term: screen sharing
Search term: conference call
Search term: text chat
- Public chat tools
- Twitter – specify a hashtag, eg #techcamp
- Included in these other tools, mentioned above (best to use what they provide if you’re using the other tool so that you don’t spread your audience among too many tools):
- If your audience is super geeky (developers mostly):
Search Term: discussion forum, threaded comment system
- There are plenty of open source tools that can be used for discussion forums but these require you to host the tools yourself. If you are just trying to build discussion around a topic, and you can lead that discussion with regular input, consider using blogging software such as WordPress.com or building on one of the social networks mentioned above.
Note: usually this functionality is part of a larger tool and rarely stand-alone. If using commenting functionality for discussion, look for threaded comments. This means that people can respond to individual comments and thus draw out the discussion instead of just responding to the original post.
Attaching or Linking to Documents
Search Terms: document sharing
- For viewing online:
- For download:
Note: these tools allow you to provide additional documents for dissemination. Some of these tools will allow the documents to be read online, if you are self-hosting the documents, your users will have to download it to their computer to view it. Generally speaking, it is better to present information in a web-friendly format (eg on a web page, in a blog post, on Facebook, etc..) where possible. More people will then see it. Obviously, this is not always appropriate depending upon the document.
Accessibility for Disabled People
Search Terms: “508 compliance”
Note: Section 508 is part of US law that requires all US government to be available for disabled people. Accomplishing this is not so much using a specific tool, as it is knowing how to do it.
Search terms: video chat
Note: this is an evolving field with many smaller players coming and going.
Search terms: online ticketing
Search terms: task management, online outliner
Search terms: meeting scheduling
Note: This tool helps you to figure out when people are available to meet.
27 June 2012
So I recently learned about what I thought was simply another EtherPad clone. We used it in Moldova for the hackathon, at the World Bank for the Development Data Challenge, and most fully this week at the Open Source Summit. Here is what I learned from that experience. »
31 May 2012
Okay, so the trip to Moldova was awesome for many reasons – the accomplishments, the international experts, the Moldovans, the food, the wine… but there is one thing that I haven’t explicitly said about it yet and that is that I ended up facilitating the Open Innovation Challenge “Apps for Moldova” three-day TechCamp/Hackathon and (all modesty aside) making it rock.
My hope is that this leads to more work like this. So much good in such a short period time, all led with a locals-know-best-but-international-experts-have-a-lot-of-good-advice-to-share mentality.
25 May 2012
It’s good to have friends when you’re spreading an important message. Thanks to the following blogs for helping to distribute Moldova Re-Invents the Hackathon. It has been cross-posted in these locations in order to reach all of the relevant audiences across the world:
- Moldova’s eTransformation blog and Community of Open Data Development
- EPSIplatform for Europe
- GovLoop for the US and OpenGov communities
I expect a few more to come online and will update this post as that happens.
24 May 2012
This last weekend saw the first hackathon ever to occur in the country of Moldova, and they definitely made it their own. For a country that is just starting to build its civic hacker community, the results were nothing short of remarkable: 85 participants set to work almost immediately within impressive, self-organized team structures to produce 18 functional apps.
In traditional terms, this hackathon could be described as more of a code sprint for the final three days of a prize challenge, but even that description understates the innovation and complexity of the event format. In addition, it doesn’t do justice to all of the accomplishments that were achieved by the organizers as well as the participants. »
17 May 2012
7 March 2012
Just took http://opengovpartners.org/ live. This site is intended for civil society around the world working on Open Government Partnership (OGP) issues to share their progress and find out how things are being done in other countries.
We set up a US version of the site at http://opengovpartners.org/us and have already received requests from a couple of other countries for sites (we’ll not talk about who they are until they get their sites populated with content and ready to take live).
31 January 2012