“Doing things together online”

Recently, a couple of events allowed me to look again at how groups of people “do things together online”.

I’ve had a chance to meet up a few times in a short period with Aldo de Moor, and that helped us reflect on where things have come since we first drafted the contours of our “social context model”, nearly ten years ago now.

Add a few potential projects in the pipeline that deal with global networks of people who should produce something together. And the opportunity to dive a bit deeper into the NABUUR concept, to see how it is still pretty unique.

Aldo and I quickly concluded that although a lot is happening, and happening fast, there actually has been little progress in what we see as the hardest part of (online) collaboration: supporting work flows. Sure enough, people find ways to use the techno-centric tools that emerge, and services like Basecamp are making inroads into this. But most platforms still have some way to go.

NABUUR volunteer opportunities in Social Actions

NABUUR in Social ActionsNABUUR in Social ActionsI think I first met Peter Deitz at Web of Change, talking about his work as micro-philanthropy consultant, and his idea to mash up the actionable opportunities on all the platforms for social change. That became Social Actions, a platform where you can find things to do: join an event, sign a petition, donate to a cause, give out a loan, volunteer.

Those things you can do come from a variety of sources, like Care2, GlobalGiving, Kiva, Idealist.org, and starting this week, also from NABUUR, the online volunteer network.

Meeting “my project” and the N2Y3 community IRL

NetSquared already has started. Sitting next to again an impressive cake, the room is buzzing while I write my intro. Rolf Kleef, from Amsterdam, here to enjoy San Francisco for some three weeks, and doing the last little bits with Roshani and Mike of Oneworld US to be ready for two rollercoaster days!

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Moving from "Open source" to "Open roadmap"

Many NGOs are good at forming strategic alliances to achieve their objectives (they’re usually also good at competing each other nearly to death, often at the same time, but I’ll keep that for a different post maybe). Yet, at the level of web technolog…

Going Open! Thursday at the Transnational Institute

First post here after a long silence… maybe too busy with twitter, Nabuur, WebEnq, Ecampaigning Forum, NetSquared. And now preparing my short intro into "open everything" to set the stage for Thursday’s meetup of the E-collaboration group.

Within a smaller group, we had some discussions about "open", and about how choosing technology for your campaign or organisation is also a political, cultural, and ethical choice. Features and price often dominate, and lots of stuff on the internet is for free. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch: there are many lessons we learned in development aid that equally apply when your organisation gets such "free" web development aid. Lets not spend decades to learn them again.

So while on the one hand, people are trail-blazing the concept of "open everything", there are, on the other hand, many people working in international cooperation who are just starting to look at why all this "open" matters, and how it can help them achieve their mission.