Ideas for the online revolution.

Report on Nonprofits use of Technology

Dot Organize just published a study of 400 social change organizations on how they use technology called:
Online Technology for Social Change: From Struggle to Strategy Domain Name Sells for $1300

Today I participated in an auction for the domain which ended with a final bid of $1300. Someone else won. In the last 5-10 minutes, it went from $500 to $1300. The auction was done at

Online Social Networks VS Online Social Change Networks

While online social networks are potentially useful for recruitment, they present a danger to activists by promoting bad strategy and ineffective forms of networking. By contrast a good social change network, such as Activism Network, will encourage strategic thinking and promote grassroots activism.

Good Uses for Online Social Networks
First, let us examine where online social networking ought to be most useful and see how it does.

I suspect online social networks are most useful for recruitment. This makes sense if they operate like off-line networks. It is clear from social movement research that the most critical factor to mobilize people to participate in social movements is a network (aka relational) tie to someone else involved. People are generally recruited by their friends or acquaintances. Even if you are recruited by a stranger, through additional participation in group events, one becomes acquainted with group members and this dramatically increases the likelihood of a cycle of continued participation.

Network Centric Activism Software

ONE Northwest (an environmental tech group) has a blog called Movement As Network that advocates for an increased focus on networking (and a downplaying of organizational ego) if one wants to build social movements and be successful.

See their paper.

I think the Activism Network software is Network-Centric. We emphasize the network. There isn't any one organization that comes close to even being a tenth or a twentieth of the site's content. Instead the site includes over a thousand activist groups that belong to over a hundred networks. These groups (and people) are involved in hundreds of different campaigns.

Mother Jones 13th annual student activism review

Mother Jones did their

13th annual review of student activism

It's really hard to get a good sense of student activism as you really are looking at over 2000 universities (to say nothing of the 20,000+ other schools). So it's a tip of the iceberg situation. This time instead of trying to list the top ten activist schools, they went with a humour sample that is funny - but doesn't say so much about the harder movement building work that is going on.

They missed out on SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), partially because the SDS founding conference was after their deadline.

Activism Network 3.0.4

The best release yet. Or so I hope. Fixed some medium-sized bugs.


Activism Network 3.03

I've released Activism Network 3.0.3. It's better than the previous version (3.0 release canidate 2).

I encourage people to check it out and provide feedback. I'm going to do a release soon.

It's the same version running on - so it's relatively solid.

Comcast is Blacklisting this Site's Email Server

Comcast is blacklisting our mail server and has done so for the past several months or possibly more. It probably isn't targetted at this site, so much as it is targetted at part or all of (where we are hosted). So it could be any one of thousands of sites hosted on Jaguarpc that sent out spam or email that was perceived to be spam.

This means that people with Comcast email addresses:
1) do not get confirmation emails
2) cannot reset their passwords
3) do not get email newsletters

In general, Comcast users won't get ANY email from this site.

I've been trying to fix this solution for a couple months, but haven't made any progress. Recently I got a phone number for Comcast, so I'm going to try and get the JaguarPC support team to make a call to solve the problem.

Greenpeace Melt Tool

Greenpeace has launched their Melt software on
Cool The Planet

The interface is weird. For instance, I type in Philadelphia and it gives me a long list of unlikely cities that I'd live in. I suspect 99% of people who type in Philadelphia, want Philadelphia, PA. The 7000 people in Philadelphia, MS should use a zip code or something.

They'll probably improve the interface and it will be more interesting once people add content.

Converting MySQL Database to Unicode

This article is an excellent resource:

Basically if you want to convert your data to unicode (utf-8), then to preserve your european characters with accents like é à ç, you have to
1) do a mysql dump
2) convert the fields to utf-8 in the table structure (I use utf8_unicode_ci)
3) use a text editor, like EditPad Pro, to convert the mysql dump file into UTF-8.
4) use another text editor, like Textpad, to delete the first three junk characters:
"" You can see these by opening Textpad in binary mode (which is read-only).

Then to delete the junk, open it in Textpad's regular mode. Then delete the first character in the file and re-enter it using the keyboard (This is weird, but it appears to clear the hidden three junk characters). Then open it in Textpad using the "binary" mode to verify that they are gone.

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