I stand for a free and open Internet.

A few weeks ago as many of us were patriotically wishing a happy birthday to the United States of America, a coalition of organizations including the ACLU and EFF launched a Declaration of Internet Freedom. I love how simple they kept it, while also encouraging engagement with the statement in a variety of online communities. The declaration is below, in text as well as the obligatory infographic format.

Continue reading "I stand for a free and open Internet."

Bridging The On-Line Real-World Gap

As I was Googling for something from an old work project, I stumbled across this interview with Marshall Kirkpatrick from 2006. Marshall and I had met a few years before at the Nonprofit Technology Conference. He has gone on to become a leading blogger on new media issues and is now a Senior Writer at …

Continue reading "Bridging The On-Line Real-World Gap"

Stop censorship. Stop PIPA/SOPA.

A blog post I wrote for work at http://hastac.org/blogs/ruby-sinreich/2012/01/17/stop-censorship-stop-pipasopa  HASTAC is joining with others around the U.S. and globally on the Internet to protest the outrageous SOPA/PIPA bill that – yes – is still making its way through Congress right now. Major organizations such Wikipedia,Mozilla, and many others are participating in a one-day black out, while others including Google, are using their …

Continue reading "Stop censorship. Stop PIPA/SOPA."

Occupy Wall Street

If you only get your news from mainstream broadcast and print media, you may not be aware that thousands of people have been participating in an occupation of Wall Street (yes, that Wall Street in Manhattan) for over a week. About 300 are there right now (Sunday morning). Many people have been arrested for things like “disorderly conduct” ie: annoying the police without breaking any real laws.

Here’s a live streaming video from the street, after the jump I’ll post some more links.


Just heard on the live stream from a protester named Lizzie, who just finished telling the story of her arrest: “You don’t need to be here (on Wall Street), light that fire in your own community.” A lot of my friends have been pointing out the difference between how this is (or isn’t) being covered compared to your average Tea Party protest. Can you imagine if a bunch of Republicans took an action this dramatic, or were treated this inhumanely? Not just FOX but CNN and even MBNBC would be en fuego.

Continue reading "Occupy Wall Street"

Doctorow on the politics of technology choices

I just read a great piece by author/activist Cory Doctorow on what he calls “Techno-Optimism” in Locus Magazine. He addresses a question that is often confronted by those of us who aspire to somehow use technology as a tool for social change: does the tool matter, or just the results? For example, if it’s easier to reach your target audience of young people who care about software freedom via Facebook, does the end justify the means? Or should we hold ourselves to a more idealistic standard and use an open source tool that lacks the critical mass of users?

In other words:

As a techno-optimist, I was heartened to see the role that networked technologies played in aiding activists in Iran, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and other middle-eastern autocracies to coordinate with one another. But as a techno-pessimist, I was horrified to see activists making use of unsecured unfit systems like Facebook, which make it trivial for authorities to snoop on and unpick the structure of activist organizations.

Doctorow concludes:

The trick for technology activists is to help activists who use technology to appreciate the hidden risks and help them find or make better tools. That is, to be pessimists and optimists: without expert collaboration, activists might put themselves at risk with poor technology choices; with collaboration, activists can use technology to outmaneuver autocrats, totalitarians, and thugs.

As I like to say: the path IS the destination. How you get there is every bit as important as where you go. I already use a lot of open source software such as Drupal (this site’s platform), Firefox and Thunderbird (which I couldn’t work without), and Ubuntu (on my personal computers at home). I’m going to redouble my efforts to support software and systems that themselves support my own (and HASTAC’s) values of freedom, democracy, and security.

Continue reading "Doctorow on the politics of technology choices"

Building “buzz” for your cause

WeAreMediaToday I’m thrilled to be at the annual conference for North Carolina nonprofits. This used to be a regular hangout for me, but in the last decade my work has shifted to more national organizations and I haven’t had the time or funding to attend it in many years. Nice to see all the new and old faces here.

The reason I’m here is that I was invited to be a co-presenter of NTEN’s We Are Media workshop. This all-day workshop is based on the fantastic curriculm developed by the NPtech community with Beth Kanter’s leadership a few years ago. For my breakout session on “Building Buzz” I’ve combined NTEN’s materials on the subject with my own network-centric approach. You can see the results in my presentation…

Continue reading "Building “buzz” for your cause"

How to keep thinking like a network

I had a great time today at the 2010 N.C. Tech for Good Conference. (Izzy enjoyed the reception afterward.) I did a talk called “How to think like a network,” which is my latest iteration of my favorite subject: the five aspects of effective networks, a.k.a. network-centric advocacy. I’ve been talking to nonprofits, geeks, and …

Continue reading "How to keep thinking like a network"

Online organizing quickie

I recently needed to collect some links about online organizing and outreach for a colleague. These are mostly pretty quick reads for the organizer-on-the-go. In toolkit form (very handy): http://www.onenw.org/toolkit/online-organizing In traditional form: http://www.bloggerrelations.com In very short form: http://www.echoditto.com/best/organizing In manifesto form: http://culturekitchen.com/the_cluetrain_manifesto_for_people_powered_politics In guide form: http://www.epolitics.com/2006/07/03/online-politics-101-introduction-to-online-politics/ In wiki form: http://advocacy2.org

Continue reading "Online organizing quickie"

Five aspects of effective networks

I’ve been doing a few presentations lately that include the basics of network-centric organizing, so I thought it would be helpful to post a refresher here. With props, as always, to Marty Kearns from whom I learned a lot of this. Update 6/25/10: Here’s the latest version of my presentation on network-centric thinking: https://lotusmedia.org/how-to-keep-thinking-like-a-network Update …

Continue reading "Five aspects of effective networks"