Road trip! Bringing the #privchat community to Diaspora *

#privchatIt’s hard to believe but #privchat — the Tuesday morning Twitter Privacy Chat — has been going on for almost a year. CDT, Privacy Camp, and EPIC have done a great job moderating, and the attendees are a great cross-section of the privacy and civil liberties community: non-profits, privacy-focused startups, academics, privacy professionals at large companies, and activists (hiiiii!).

So let’s build on that success with a road trip, and bring the same kind of social networky goodness to Diaspora *!

If you’re thinking that you don’t have time for yet another social network, I feel your pain; the plan I’m suggesting only requires an hour of your time. Before we get there, though, I want to talk a bit about why I think it’s worth doing.

Why Diaspora *?

Diaspora* logo variant by GiorgioDiaspora shot to prominence last May, as four NYU undergrads raised money on Kickstarter for a distributed open-source privacy-friendly social network project just as a Facebook privacy storm kicked off. Good timing!

Eighteen months and $200,000 later, Sarah Mei and Yosem Companys have joined the core team, and there are dozens of public installations with tens of thousands of Diasporans. Liz Gannes’ Diaspora Prepares to Launch Open Source network on All Things D and Not vaporware, not a Nigerian prince on the team’s blog give an idea of the current status: an engineering team focused on getting to beta, a growing community, another round of fundraising in progress. Hanging out on Diaspora a lot for the last month, I’ve had interesting discussions with interesting people from across the world.

And one thing everybody that I’ve run into so far has in common:

They care about their privacy.

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First Look Forum participants, please join us Wednesday evening for a Twitter chat!

As we head into the homestretch with the First Look Forum, we wanted to give an opportunity for people to ask some last-minute questions and get some quick feedback.  Email works, of course, but it’s soooooo 20th century.  So we’re also going to be having a Twitter chat, on Wednesday February 16 at 7:30 p.m.

If you’ve never been to a Twitter chat before, you’re missing out on some good fun.  It moves quickly, and with a lot of people talking at once it packs a lot of information into a short time.  Whether or not you have a Twitter account, you can follow the discussion on the #nwen hashtag using TweetChat at http://tweetchat.com/room/nwen or use your favorite Twitter client.

Want to join in the conversation?   You’ll need to have a Twitter account — you can sign up at http://twitter.com/signup.  Twitter’s FAQ and Howcast’s How To Use Twitter video have more information to get you started.

If there are some topics you’d like to see discussed, feel free to leave them as comments here — or you can email to me at jon {at} achangeiscoming {dot} net.    Or even better, you can tweet them to me —  I’m @jdp23.

Read on for more background (originally from the ACM Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference‘s Getting started on Twitter page).   See you on Twitter!

jon

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Patriot house alert breaks heads: found art from Twitter

Images from Twazzup’s Patriot Act page as the House prepares to vote again on the Patriot Act extension.  The refrigerator magnets on the top are the most common words and hashtags.

patriot house alert breaks headspatriot act live

You can weigh in on the head-breaking yourself via POPVOX, Demand Progress, ACLU, EFF, Downsize DC or the phone. Julian Sanchez’ Now what? and the ACLU’s letter describe why you should ask your Representative to oppose HR514, the sneak attempt to extend the Patriot Act without a debate.

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Following the Patriot Act battle on Twitter with Twazzup

ACTION ALERT: Ask Obama to veto the PATRIOT Act, April 5.

ACTION ALERT: Meet with members of Congress about the PATRIOT Act, April 18-May 1

Most popular linksTwazzup did a custom Twitter backchannel for Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference back in June 2009, and soon after that became the best way to follow the #iranelection protests. Later that year they were kind enough to set up getfisaright.twazzup.com and at least for me it remains the best way to follow the Patriot Act action on Twitter.

patriot congress urgent demand action
#patriotact #tcot #p2 #congress #fbThe buttons aren’t just refrigerator art, they let you see what words and hashtags are the most common … #p2 and #tcot are arch rivals (the biggest progressive and conservative hashtags) and unusually enough they’re in agreement right now: we are sick of Washington trying to sneak the Patriot Act extension past us rather than having a proper debate.

The “Most Popular Links” and “Popular Tweets” sections make it easy to see at a glance what’s going on — and you can click to translate foreign tweets into English. There’s also a useful (and pretty!) “community” section.

I wonder how many tea party freshmen are going to be voting to renew the USA Patriot Act tomorrow.

You don’t have to have a Twitter account to use Twazzup. If you want to join in the conversation, though, our If you’re new to Twitter page has some suggestions.

Please join us!
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#mooreandme and #p2: learnings for progressives on Twitter (REVISED DRAFT)

Draft, work in progress. Feedback welcome!

Last updated February 5.

#p2 logo

Twitter is an opportunity to engage with communities currently marginalized by the “progressive blogosphere”. Demographically and stylisticly, Twitter is far less male-dominated than the big blogs of the progressive blogosphere …

— Tracy Viselli and Jon Pincus, The #p2 Hashtag and Strategies for Progressives on Twitter, February 2009

Twitter is, quite possibly, the best available medium for this particular kind of protest. The format has a number of features that level a playing field that tends to push women into the outfield.

How #Mooreandme Worked, Lili Loofbourow, December 2010

Twitter was an instinctive choice for #MooreandMe, because it made the target of the protest accessible and ensured that he could hear us. But I liked it as a medium for #DearJohn too, because it was really equalizing, it wasn’t hierarchical, it ensured that voices and perspectives could influence the conversation regardless of how well-connected or well-known they were, and it was a very visible, trackable way to register dissent.

– Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown, interviewed in where is your line?, January 2011

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If She Ran the Ward: Oni Joseph, the Haitian Sensation

If Oni The Haitian Sensation Ran The World, they would...GET ELECTED IN BAY WARD | OTTAWA, ONTARIO

“There are roughly 900,000 people living in Ottawa. A good five per cent are living in a marginalized way. It’s disgusting. It’s a shame. I love my city, I love Ottawa, but we can do better. We have to take care of that five per cent. And I would say three out of that five per cent live in my ward. I want to be Bay Ward’s voice at city hall.”

— Bay Ward Council Candidate Oni Joseph, profiled by Jen Lahey in Ottawa Magazine

Oni is Canada’s best-known slam poet, and her 2006 book Ghettosocracy was a The Globe and Mail Book of the Year.  Since then she’s worked on several political campaigns, advocated for Habitat for Humanity, and raised a huge amount of money for earthquake relief in Haiti.   Back in January, the incumbent council-member Alex Cullen decided to run for mayor, leaving the seat open.  With encouragement from Equal Voice, a multi-partisan organization dedicated to electing more women in Canada, Oni decided to throw her hat in the ring.

A lot of other candidates piled into the race as well — including Alex, who after supporting and mentoring her, dropped his mayoral bid to run against her.  Ouch.

So it’s a very crowded field: seven white guys and Oni.  Some of the other candidates have much bigger budgets.   Yeah, other candidates are passing out buttons that cost them $4 each and Oni’s giving out stickers that cost only nine cents.  In a time of tough budgets, who’s sending a better message to voters?  And one of the amazing things about politics today is how mobile phones and social network technologies give the underdogs a better chance.

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#iranelection and a sea of green on Twitter: at the forefront of social network activism

“The first step that I suggest as a solution is that we Iranians, no matter where we live in the world, strengthen the social ties among ourselves…. This is where the power of our social network resides.”

— Mir Hussein Mousavi, quoted in Ehsan Moghaddasi’s The Green Moharram

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Social network activism and the future of civil liberties

Also posted on The Seminal and Pam’s House Blend

The most recent skirmish on the Patriot Act reauthorization battle ended badly for civil liberties.   Despite passionate speeches all around in the Senate Judiciary Committee public hearings and classified briefings, in the end, only Senators Feingold, Durbin, and Specter stood up for the Constitution. As Marcy Wheeler says, we got rolled.

At the same time, though, the social network activism I discussed in Can Skittles fix the Patriot Act? and on the Get FISA Right blog highlights the opportunity to broaden and recharge the civil liberties community.

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Care2, OFA and other social network sites:

  • provide a way to engage with Millennials and other diverse groups of people who care a lot about the Patriot Act — but are not currently involved with civil liberties activism.
  • make it easy for people to let their politicians know their feelings — and recruit their friends in the process.
  • allow civil liberties organizations to get beyond the media blackout and provide accurate information to everybody.
  • complement in-person local campaigns like People’s Campaign for the Constitution’s local ordinances and good ol’ fashioned letters-to-the-editor

It’s a powerful narrative.  Social network sites epitomize the wave of the future, Obama’s strength in 2008, and youth.  They’re overwhelmingly in favor of civil liberties.  And civil liberties supporters are getting organized there.  As we continue to make progress, every political consultant and politician thinking about a primary or general election challenge in 2010 or 2012 will be paying attention.

Social network activism for civil liberties has made great progress so far.  Some simple steps from organizations and bloggers can take things to the next level.  Before getting to the suggestions, though, I’d like to discuss the diversity aspects in a little more detail.
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Social network activism and the Patriot Act (DRAFT)

DRAFT Work in progress! Feedback welcome!

Final version intended for The Seminal and Pam’s House Blend

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National Equality March: some highlights via Twitter

Some screenshots from the #nem hashtag via Twazzup:

2009-10-11_1020

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Can Skittles help fix the PATRIOT Act and FISA? (DRAFT!)

DRAFT!  Final version published on The Seminal.

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Ask @bing to create grants for nonprofit advertising on their site (DRAFT)

Update, September 1: Microsoft responded.  More here.

Draft!  Work in progress!  Feedback welcome!

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