Friday, June 17, 2005

Here is a very impressive website:


'NOEMA is a website devoted to culture-new technologies interrelations and influences. "Culture" also means "habits", "lifestyles", "communications", "art", "society", "economy", "media", "philosophy"..., while "new technologies" should be intended in a broader meaning than the digital realm.'


Sunday, June 05, 2005

"Power to the Edges: Trends and Opportunities in Online Civic Engagement" , by Jillaine Smith, Martin Kearns and Allison Fine, is a very good snapshot, taken May '05, of the state of online activism. Some of the key findings for organizations in the report:

-- design a "connectivity strategy" as opposed to a "technology strategy"

-- be "nimble and quick" with incorporating new opportunities provided by new technology

-- "push power to the edges": change the nature of the relationship with the people organization's seek to engage

-- build "network-centric leadership", the complement to "power to the edges", where the "edges" are able to contribute, collaborate, act, grow, lead etc.


Friday, June 03, 2005

This is a posting that I did a while back to a now-defunct list, but it still is relevant. I have started a page of network properties, a catalog or glossary of sorts. Let me know of any additions or clarifications, the info below is the kind of stuff I am collecting.

Here's a link to a paper that looks at "different classes of small-world networks":

The authors identify three kinds of small-world networks, based on the nature of the distribution of links. If I understand what they are saying, the cost of adding links (e.g., adding new routes to an airport vs new links to a website), and ongoing ability to add links ("aging", e.g., movie actor collaborations decay over time as an actor ages, also one might add an organization's ability to attract new members/connections -- I think this is another way of describing the "fitness" of nodes; new nodes may be very desirable to attach to, even though initially they do not have many links) will result in different kinds of small-world networks.

These two factors interfere w/ the "preferential attachment" phenomena of network growth (all things being equal, new nodes tend to attach to already well-connected nodes), resulting in the different classes of "small worlds".


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Network-centric Advocacy is a great blog by Marty Kearns devoted to "advocacy strategy for the age of connectivity." Okay it has a very generous write-up of the globalization and networks paper that I did, but regardless, this blog is an excellent collection of commentary and links by someone who, it is evident from the content, is deeply involved in the practice that he writes about. Marty is the co-founder and executive director of the Green Media Toolshed

Read the Network-Centric Advocacy Concept Paper by Marty, for background on the thought behind the blog:

The challenge to grassroots organizers and advocacy communication strategists is to match mobilizing and advocacy efforts with these new behaviors while also exploiting the advantages provided by emerging technologies and communications mediums. Network-centric advocacy is the adaptation of advocacy and traditional grassroots organizing to the age of connectivity.


An alternative to relying entirely on the current organizational-based advocacy model is to create a hybrid to supplement the strengths of organizations with the flexibility and viral potential of direct action. This hybrid is built on the availability of cheap transportation, free phone systems, new technology tools, secure online collaboration tools and exploiting service industry that was built for small businesses all for network campaigns. These are the characteristics of our age connectivity and they can now be used to “wire” together the movement or coalitions. Network-Centric Advocacy demands a simple set of actions to build and maintain connections among campaign assets (staff, volunteers, expertise, tools and organizations) so that campaign leaders can count on the response of the network in a predictable manner.


The adaptation of a networked approach will enable our staffs and volunteers to shift into campaigns where they make the most difference. The network will provide the best resources to promising initiatives that evolve out of the creativity from the field. Ideas will compete for help in a new marketplace that moves faster and learns quicker. The movement leadership will be more diverse and the campaigns will be increasingly difficult to counter and predict. Ultimately, the movement will see improvements in policy and stronger protections for the environment.

This is just a taste. The paper is a very practical, thoughtful consideration of both the practical problems of network-centric struggle, and the absolute necessity of solving those problems to move forward. And in particular, because it addresses the realm of idea-dessemination, it provides concrete ideas about the new tools and the need for a new doctrine in the battle for hearts and minds.