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Celebrate, brainstorm, anticipate: asset-based thinking 2009/2010

Judy Dubin of the Cramer Institute suggests looking at a meeting as a musical performance of classical music.   Via that lens, the asset-based thinking discussion list’s last conference call for 2009 was a work for guitar, four voices, and keyboards.  It featured a prelude (Eve and I chatting while waiting for others to show up), three movements titled celebration, brainstorming, and anticipation, and a coda (this post and the ongoing discussions).

For abtdisc’ers who couldn’t be there in person, here are some of the highlights.

Whether or not you were there, please share any additional celebration, anticipation, updates, and brainstorming thoughts in the comments … and have a great holiday season, a wonderful end to 2009, and an even better start to 2010!

jon

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Diversity and technology conferences, part 1: the Government 2.0 Expo

We received 189 valid proposals for talks at Expo Showcase.  A few people, men and women, submitted two proposals, but the vast majority submitted just one.  Of these 189, only 41 (or 22% of the total) were from women, with 147 proposals submitted by men.  I have no reason in particular to offer for this. Perhaps women would like to comment on this blog about why a two month open call for proposals for anyone with a good idea for a five minute talk about Government 2.0 was dominated by 78% men.

— Mark Drapeau’s Government 2.0 Expo: Women by the Numbers

The women in technology community has been doing a great job of highlighting lack of diversity in conference speakers, using mechanisms like the #diversityfail Twitter hashtag and act.ly.   Mark’s post provides some interesting data on how an O’Reilly conference he’s co-chairing wound up with more than two-thirds of the presenters being male.  While I’m not actually a woman, I’d nonetheless like to take him up on his invitation for discussion about how the submission process became so male-dominated.

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A #diversityfail as an opportunity: guys talking to guys who talk about guys

How can an entrepeneur planning a startup that’s going to develop some revolutionary software that relates to how people work together discover truly game-changing product and business model possibilities?  One approach is to look at a situation in a different way than everybody else.  Easier said than done, typically … unless you’re lucky enough to discover a collective blindspot in current thinking.

Scott Page’s book The Difference highlights the importance of diversity in situations like this. The way I think of it is that a non-diverse crowd will fail to explore a lot of the possibilities.  Strategically the best opportunties are likely to be in the areas that the are getting marginalized today.  So whenever I see a #diversityfail related to the “web 2.0” and mobile technology/business world, my ears perk up and I start paying attention.

2009-07-08_1145

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Packing and the friendly skies: Deviant Ollam on how to be able to really lock your luggage and avoid those horrible “TSA-approved locks”

Another Shakacon presentation, this one from Deviant Ollam.  The short answer: fly with firearms.

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Equal Pay Day: #fairpay and Women don’t ask

Blog for fair payAccording to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2007 the ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings reached almost 78 cents on the dollar for full-time year-round workers, up from just under 77 cents in 2006. This is the narrowest the wage gap has ever been, but it’s only an additional one cent on the dollar. One cent is chump change. It isn’t real change.

— from AAUW’s Equal Pay Day, April 28

African-American women earn 62¢ and Latinas earn 53¢ for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. #fairpay #fem2 #p2

— @NWLC on Twitter

One of President Obama’s first actions in late January was signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law.  That’s only a first step, though; the next battle in the fight against wage discrimination is the Paycheck Fairness Act.  The PFA updates the 45-year-old Equal Pay Act in many important ways, and passed the House with strong bipartisan support, and is currently before the Senate as S.182.

The AAUW’s site has a bunch of ways you can help: call your Senators, wear red,* blog about it, share on Facebook and join their group and cause, and tweet about it using the #fairpay hashtag.  It’s all important; do as much as you can.  There are a couple of things I’d specifically like to highlight.

Let’s start with Twitter, where this is another great opportunity for hashtag-based diversity activism.  Activity via #fairpay accomplishes several things.  Most obviously, it raises awareness: whenever you tweet, all your followers are reminded of the wage gap.  If some of the Twitterati start retweeting, or there’s enough activity that #fairpay winds up in the top 10 “trending” hashtags, a lot more people will see it.  So tweet away!  If you’re not sure what to say, the National Women’s Law Center has some tweeting points you can use as inspiration.

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How progressives can use Twitter: a strategic perspective (DRAFT)

DRAFT, CURRENTLY BEING REVISED SUBSTANTIALLY.   New recommendations here.  Thanks all for the feedback!

Final version to appear in The Exception.

Collaboratively authored with Tracy Viselli.

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Neocons’ worst nightmare: net movements intersecting in Ideas for Change in America

DREAM Activists and undocumented youth, the Stonewall 2.0 LGBTQ movement, Get FISA Right and civil libertarians, peace activists — together again for the first time, along with a demand for accountability for the last 8 years.   Scary stuff.  🙂

Read on for more … and please digg it!

It’s been surprising to me how little attention change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition has gotten.  David Herbert mentioned it in the National Journal and Nancy Scola on techPresident; of course the competitors have blogging a lot (for example me, at Liminal States, Get FISA Right, and Pam’s House Blend, promoting my idea Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties and the others I’ve endorsed).  But in the broader political, progressive or technology-in-politics blogospheres?  Very little.

Here’s my attempt to describe its importance.

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Apologies to DREAM Act advocates everywhere …

For the last six weeks of change.org’s Ideas for Change competition, I’ve been consistently impressed by the advocates for Pass the DREAM Act – Support Higher Education for All Students.

The network of activists promoting the idea are giving the rest of us lessons in how to do it effectively.*  And they and their supporters seem to really get the strategic importance of a potential partnership with change.org, MySpace, and a raft of excellent non-profits.

With the complex political situation around the DREAM Act, social network activism could be a wild card that helps tip the balance and gets Congress to prioritize the DREAM Act — and puts them over 60 votes in the Senate.  Of all of the ideas in the competition, it seems to me it’s got one of the best chances of having an impact.  I voted for it (please consider doing the same) and have been trying to help promote it as well as others.

So when I was talking when I was talking with David Herbert of the National Journal on Monday, as well as discussing my idea, I brought the DREAM Act as an example.  It worked very effectively from the promotional side (David’s article Move over, change.gov discussed and linked to their idea as well as mine) but I certainly wish I had said things differently:

Web strategist Jon Pincus, whose idea “Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties” is currently ranked No. 2, argued that combining grassroots politics with the power of a social networking site like MySpace could prove a potent combination, even for issues that have already been debated ad nauseam.

The online vote could also help push legislation with some congressional support — like the DREAM Act, which would give undocumented high school graduates a path to citizenship — over the finish line. The only obstacle to the DREAM Act, Pincus said, is that it lacks vocal advocates.

“Who’s going to prioritize undocumented minors?” he said. “Nobody.”

Clunk.

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Open for Questions at change.gov: What about privacy?

The Obama transition team’s Open for Questions pilot last week went extremely well for a first attempt.  Combined with all the other promising things Micah Sifry discusses in Kudos to the Change.gov New Media Team, it seems to me that the Obama administration is on track for some effective ways of leveraging cognitive diversity and “wisdom of the crowds” effects, cutting past the gatekeepers in the media, and getting Obama direct feedback from Americans.

At least for those Americans who are willing to give away their privacy as the price for interacting with their government.

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Hope 1, Fear 0: YES WE DID!

From Eluminatus:

A change is coming

Why be shrunk by fear when you can choose hope?
Why be manipulated by hate when you can choose desire?
Why settle for singularity when you can have multiplicity?

Control is an illusion and influence is possible.
Look for meta-level solutions.
Avoid false dualities.
Change is performative.

Worship the anomaly.

(March 2004 – October 2007)

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Showtime for election protection and citizen journalism!

They’re already voting in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, so Election Day has officially begun.  Showtime!

voter suppression wiki logoWe’ve just finished our last minute polishing for the Voter Suppresssion Wiki, with a redesigned home page, a  Voter Suppression Documented summary with snippets of a dozen different examples, final touches to the Media Room, the Prepare for election day action alert, and a chat room.  We’ve continued to get some great press, with Caitlin Johnson’s Txt the Vote: Election Protection Goes High Tech on OneWorld/Yahoo News! featuring one of our members, and Simon Jones’ Citizens, Media Use Social Media to Monitor Election giving some great context.

We continue to have successes: flagging a deceptive report falsely claiming that people were arrested, getting our one-page What to do if you have problems document posted in a library in South Carolina.   Baratunde’s 90-second guide to election day video got over 1,000 views after YouTube selected it as a featured video.  Another wiki member submitted her story to the Huffington Post.  Multiply this by a few hundred people on our project — and dozens of other projects in the grassroots election protection and citizen journalism movement — and it adds up to a big impact.

On election day, the Incident Tracker will be where the action is on the wiki.  We’ll be updating it regularly, sifting through the various sources on the web and threads in our discussion forum, and linking to any action alerts.  Please check it out; and if you see any voter suppression or articles about it, please let us know about it!

Of course there are a many other sites around the web that also have great reporting.  Here’s a quick roundup of a few other sites.

Our Vote Live, a joint project of the Election Protection Coalition and EFF, features a live feed and queryable interface to the reports that go into the 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline.  With over 40,000 reports already, it’s a rich data source — for example, here’s their Ohio page, and the list of the 200 reported incidents so far of voter intimidation.
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Announcing a last-minute workshop on “Last-minute strategies for reducing voter suppression”

voter suppression wiki logoHeading into the last ten days before the election, it’s clear that is there are still huge opportunities to reduce voter suppression.  How to make best use of this time?  There are so many groups doing great stuff here that there are lots of opportunities for synergy; at the same time, there’s also a lot of redundant effort, and lack of awareness of key assets like the 1-866-OUR-VOTE/1-888-VE-Y-VOTA hotlines.  With so much going on in every state, use of social networks combined with community-based online/offline communication and media strategies could make a huge difference.

If we had a year to plan for this, and an infinite budget, it would be great to get everybody together at a conference so that people could make connections and find out what’s going on, with a goal of getting teams in place to make progress on various initiatives.  Oh well, maybe next time.  For now, we’ll do it in cyberspace.

Announcing …

The cyber-workshop on
Last-minute Strategies to Reduce Voter Suppression
October 25-28, 2008
http://www.votersuppression.net/page/Workshop

Opening phone call: October 25, 1 PM PDT

On-air discussion at Forward Forum: October 26 6-7PM PDT
(live chat to follow)

Facebook event here — invite your friends!

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