Depressing widgets does great things with using the Internet to shine daylight into issues of money and politics. Their latest offering are widgets that track the fundraising of presidential candidates (which is a little too horserace-oriented for my taste). You can customize them with the candidates of your choosing. I made one (below) showing all of the candidates, sorted by the amount raised. The main lesson I take from it is that billions of dollars are being wasted on TV ads and manipulative consultants. And that Edwards is at the top of the second tier instead of at the bottom of the top tier where I would like him to be.

Make your own at:

But… some of my best friends are white!

Today I moderated the session on “Is cyberspace colorblind?” at PDF. It was pretty challenging, which I think it probably should be when we get into such important and difficult topics. A certain amount of respectful conflict can be very productive. I was was frustrated but not surprised at some of the white, male “A-list” bloggers who tried to undermine us or make it about them, but I feel like we managed to keep it on track and enlightening. I really wanted to have more dialog with the audience but there was nowhere near enough time.

It was an immense honor for me to share the stage with four incredibly smart people,a nd I learned a lot from all of their comments. I’m looking forward to seeing what Cheryl, Chris, Anil, and Liza have to say about the session on their blogs. Plus we will be continuing the conversation at the PDF unconference tomorrow.


I just read on Beth’s Blog and PDF that Convio have just bought GetActive. These are two of the biggest providers of web 1.0 engagement tools for nonprofits. I spent some years working for a very large customer of GetActive, in fact I was the resident GetActive “expert” on staff. While I always had suggestions for improvement, I shared my colleagues’ widely-held relief that at least we didn’t have to use Convio!

So while this may be good for GetActive, Inc. I’m not optimistic about the impact on the online advocacy space. Beth raises some excellent points about interoperability, and links to other blogger reactions.

Also more info and some useful thoughts by Michael Silberman at Echo Ditto: “Will this encourage more healthy competition from the other vendors and providers? (I hope so.) Or will Convio innovate less due to their massive new market share and potential perceived lack of competition? (I hope not.) And will this make open source solutions even more attractive to potential clients and users? (I think yes.)”

When “your” network bites back

Cross posted from my work blog.

There's a great write-up by Adam Conner over on the Personal Democracy Forum of how the small actions of many autonomous individuals can add up to a networked tsunami. 

Yesterday, Facebook launched a new feature called feeds, which is a live stream of constant updates on the recent activities of your Facebook friends. Everything you or your friends do on Facebook, from adding new friends, to changing your profile, or commenting on other people’s pictures, is now streamed live to your homepage when you log onto the site. It was new, technologically impressive, and unexpected.

And a lot of people didn’t like it. Really didn’t like it.

Users immediately began creating anti-feed "groups" in Facebook to protest the change.

One group in particular, "Students against Facebook News Feed (Official Petition to Facebook),"; somehow connected the intangible elements of luck and timing to become the most popular “anti-feed” group.

By 11:55pm on Tuesday, its first day of existence, the group gone from 0 members to 68,607. At 12:55am it had grown to 85,521 members, having added nearly 20,000 members in an hour. At 2:06pm today there were 223,460 members, having almost doubled in size in 12 hours.

Facebook was promoting it's own protesters involuntarily through the unpopular new Feeds feature.

Every time someone joins the Facebook group "students against Facebook news feed," every single friend that user has is made aware of this the next time they login, without any action other than joining the group being required from the user.

This is a great example of how network infrastructure allows many people to communicate directly with each other and enables collective network action to flow through the pipelines.   Read the entire story at

PDF gets started

PDF gets started
Andrew Rasiej, the founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, says people are too focused on elections instead of politics. Therefore we get sucked into the big-money crass world of elections, instead of working for political change.

Now Scott Heiferman of is speaking. I saw him talk at O’Reilly’s “e-democracy” conference last year… I wonder if he will have anything new to say or the same spiel.