While my goal in developing the Activism Network software was political, it could easily be used for completely apolitical goals.
For instance, I'm very interested in radio. I enjoy listening to FM and shortwave radio stations from hundreds to thousands of miles away.
Somebody could download the software, install the server and client, and create a database of radio hobbyists. The event calendar could include club meetings, ham fests, dx-peditions (trips where hobbyists go to a remote location, setup very long antennas, and listen to their radios), and others. The resources would include radio station schedules, radio-control software, propogation prediction software, decoder software, guides to building antennas, modifying radios, and more. For groups, you'd have a list of ham, shortwave listener, or other radio groups. For issues, you'd have things like shortwave, longwave, AM, FM, scanner, HAM, Morse Code, etc.
The basic argument is that MySpace had a flexible tolerant approach to users, while Friendster was cracking down on Fakesters (accounts that weren't real people) as well as more controversial content. MySpace turned into the cool place through sleaze, lettings its user be "bad" but with the safety of pseudonyms, freedom, and bands at a point where Friendster also had major tech problems (outages and slow).
Today I was checking out rabble.ca, a progressive media site, because I want to find some Canadians interested in implementing Activism Network software in Canada.
Rabble.ca has a huge forum with over 500,000 posts (Hopefully this link doesn't mean I'm crossing the picket line). Currently there is a volunteer moderators STRIKE going on, after one of the two (?) paid employees was fired.
Apparently some strikers are using spam against the old board, or did so originally to get the word out about the strike.
I’m proud to announce that I’ve got a new release of my software Activism Network (formerly known as Campus Activism, www.campusactivism.org) that is ready for testing and feedback.
I am planning to develop a community of developers and users who are interested in modifying the code, suggesting features, prioritizing features, and reporting bugs. I invite you to try out the software and join the community!
The major change in the new version of the software is that you can install it on your own website, and it will access information that is stored in a central database. So users will be able to add, edit, delete, browse and search – while staying on your site. It uses webservices (the php NuSOAP library).
For a project I'm working on, I have to see a lot of Black Panther veterans telling their political histories and debating a complicated and conflicting set of analyses on what went wrong with the party/parties. But they all agree about one thing: before they ever were part of the party, when they heard about Bobby Seale going to the California Legislature with guns, they knew what they had been waiting for and the beginning of a huge international phenomenon began. Not to fall victim to hyperbole, but a similar moment may have just happened and committed activists have to take note.
Television has been a danger since the beginning. The devil box offered a silver lining: we might just be able to slip a insurgent message (and invitation) through the signal into homes everywhere. Malcolm got it and so did Abbie Hoffman. With the onset of video games, the idiot box got stupider. Now the message was written out in code long before anyone ever saw it - no live camera to sneak behind, no producer fiending to fill his daily hour with content. And then the internet. The potential is pronounced. Indymedia, and the like, became the new way to broadcast upcoming protests. But it is also, in many ways, an anonymous cave that doesn't involve relationship with known characters. Great information sources, like ZMAG and (cough) History Is A Weapon (cough), offer the educational material, but haven't figured out how to assist in outdoor struggle and community building. Meanwhile, the new kids are increasingly plugging in, cell phones, Crackberry, and online social networking.
You, my loyal blog readers, are the first to read about this:
Mostly looks just like campusactivism.org, but technically it is built very differently. And it has maps. Everyone loves maps, right?
Email me bug reports.
I'm testing it on XP running Internet Explorer 6, Firefox, and Opera 8.5. I don't have a Mac. Browser compatibility is especially an issue for Google Maps.
The Google Sandbox is an effect where your website does well for the first several weeks, and then loses almost all of its traffic for several months, before recovering. It's probably a golf reference. The theory is that Google puts your site in a penalty box for several months to stop people from creating new spammish websites to rank #1 in Google.
Google has never, to my knowledge, admitted that this penalty exists. However at WebmasterWorld I believe the general consensus is that there is something in the Google algorithm that causes a sandbox effect.
There is another theory that Google penalizes sites that develop too quickly. If your site appears overnight and all of a sudden you have several hundred or thousand incoming links, then Google will suspect you of buying your links and might penalize you for that. If Google did this, the effect could be similar to that of the sandbox.
I'm testing the latest version (3.0) of campusactivism.org/activismnetwork.org. I hope to do a beta release within the next three weeks.
Likely process: release beta (minor release, get it working on activismnetwork.org and let people know about it - notably other developers), test it and add more features. Then do a major release which would be stable and good enough for other websites. I'm thinking of releasing the beta before I have all the customization features implemented (that allows you to have the own version of the client - ex doing a client for your country, city, issue, language, etc -- add your own organizational logo).
The Associated Press recently reported that the President of the Un of Richmond, William Cooper, was pressured into resigning early because he made some comments that students and alums of the school found offensive. These students and alums combined forces with the University faculty and began a full-scale campaign against Cooper--complete with a website, online petition, and anti-Cooper paraphernalia (http://www.firecooper.com/main.html).
Reading about this campaign I was reminded of efforts by a group of Berea College students last spring. These students put together a well-organized a campaign [called “10x10” to reflect its goal of meeting 10% of BC’s energy from renewable sources by 2010] to convince the BC administration to begin placing solar panels on its buildings and to begin planning for the future procurement of renewable energy. As part of their efforts, the students scheduled individual meetings with administrators, organized an energy conservation campaign to help offset the additional initial costs of renewables, and solicited donations from BC staff, students, and faculty. While the administration eventually agreed to pay for the remainder of the solar array, and to place the array on the central “Alumni Building,” it balked at the rest of the proposal, including budgeting for future alternative energy installations and establishing an ongoing campus committee to study and implement renewable energy.
I think someone could make a large sum of money and/or increase the level of democracy by creating an online game to simulate the 2008 US Election.
You'd create an online gaming environment that might be similar to the World of Warcraft.
Basic game play would have users acting as regular Americans, however their goal would be to support the political party and actors of their choice. Thus for instance, you might have people trying to persuade swing voters, raise money, engage in dirty tricks, form an interest group, work within a party, or other activities.
I think a lot of value would come from following the actual electoral calendar, but preceding major events by a couple days. For instance, you would hold an online version of every primary a couple days before they happenned in real life. You could have real debates with user-submitted questions broadcasted in real-time audio (and even video). After all the real goal of this software is that you'd be influencing the real political process, by engaging people in the political process online - it would influence their off-line actions.