Author Archive for Amy

The New Voices of Democracy

Over the past few weeks I’ve come across several great examples of how the web is enabling new and exciting voices to contribute to the political debate. Thanks to affordable video cameras and new distribution channels, inspiring messages are being created (by both celebrities and unknown artists) that would not have been possible back in the days where we were limited to the mass media outlets of TV and newspapers.

The Great Schlep - This site features a hilarious video by Sarah Silverman asking young Jewish voters to encourage their grandparents who live in Florida to vote for Obama in order to swing the vote in his favor. The video is both good for a laugh but also quite brilliant in both it’s message and approach.

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

Vote for Hope - This is a stunning music video by MC Yogi that is a wonderful example of the power and the possibilities of the remix. The graphics are phenomenal and the inclusion of Obama’s speech is quite powerful. The style of the video rings true to Obama and the visuals really complement MC Yogi’s lyrics. Thanks to Amy Lenzo for the link.

Obama ‘08 - Vote For Hope from MC Yogi on Vimeo.

5 friends - This is a powerful video with a passionate message from celebrities to encourage young people to vote that speaks to them in a language and medium that they understand. I was surprised to learn from this video that you must pre-register a month beforehand to vote in the U.S - in Canada you can register at the polls, the day of.

Vote for Environment - This web site was developed in order to encourage Canadian voters to strategically vote for parties that support the environment. Currently there are three “green” parties that support the environment (Green, NDP, and Liberal) and one party (the Conservatives) whose policies do not, and this party happens to be in power.  Each riding has it’s own page with a map and poll results, as well as recommendations from the authors of the web site on how to vote to ensure that a party that support the environment gets elected.  The site is well designed with great visuals (including color-coded graphs and integrated Google Maps) and is a wonderful example of connecting like-minded people with information to support a larger goal.

A Vision of Students Today

This short but powerful video creates a dynamic portrait of students today - how they live, learn, and work - and in doing so it points out how the current educational system has failed to respond to these characteristics and the needs which stem from them.

The video was written and produced collaboratively by students as part of a class project and shared online using a Creative Commons license both on the class blog and YouTube. The video has been making its way around the web amassing over 800,000 YouTube views and 5,000 comments since it was posted just over a month ago.

The content of the video is moving on its own but the way that it was made and distributed shows how technology can be used to engage students and leverage both their skills and experience to create a collaborative educational exercise that results in a deeper learning experience.

Non-Profit Week on Read/Write Web

Last week was Non-Profit Week on Read/Write Web, where they featured a series of articles on how non-profits are using the web framed under the question “is the Web still a windfall for Non-profits?“. Unfortunately I was away from my RSS feeds last week and I am only now catching up, so I decided to write this post-week summary of what R/WW had to offer.

  • The Non-Profits Web Tool Kit contains a great list of tools available to non-profits to leverage the power of the web. Tools listed range from the well-known to the waiting to be discovered and include blogging platforms such as WordPress and volunteer finding tools such as VolunteerMatch.
  • Beth Kanter shares her experiences with Web 2.0 and the non-profit sector and highlights her recent experiences at the Cambodian Bloggers Summit. It was interesting to hear about how she was able to use these tools to raise money and awareness for the event but I also appreciated her take home message of non-profits taking creative, low-risk experiments in order to test out the Web 2.0 waters.
  • Richard MacManus provides a nice breakdown of how Facebook and MySpace are being used by non-profits. MySpace’s Impact service is being used primarily for political campaigns whereas Facebook’s Causes are being used primarily to raise funds for a variety of causes ranging from Global Warming to Breast Cancer. I’m curious about the root of this distinction and how much of it is due to the functionality each site offers and what role demographics and socioeconomics play, if any.