Archive for the 'In the news' Category

Kenneth Cole Awearness blog features global changemakers

Lucky me, I got to be one of them!


The folks at Kenneth Cole Awearness approached me several months ago, after viewing some of my Cambodian photography on Flickr. The photograph they chose to feature is one that means a great deal to me. It was taken during one of my first field visits to speak with women participating in our micro finance program and this woman’s particular story (and the image that was burned into my memory) kept me awake at night. Like so many other Cambodian women (and women globally), this grandmother has lost her daughter to HIV/AIDS and is now primary caregiver for several grandchildren. She is overburdened physically and financially and is trying to keep hope alive where there is virtually none. The work that Pact’s WORTH program was doing in Cambodia offered this woman possibility - a chance to lift herself out of poverty. I’d love to go back and find her to see if our work had an impact. I’m praying it did.

The Awearness blog is a great place to get inspiration on a daily basis. View my full Awearness blog posting here, and thanks again to Kenneth Cole!

08NTC: Day 2, open plenary with David Pogue

Macro trends in technology: Three technologies to watch
David Pogue

Year of the cell phone

Leaving the cell network and going onto the network like landlines.

  • VOIP, carry your number. Every feature known to man.
  • Cell phone carriers haven’t taken on VOIP over cellphones
  • T-mobile, hot spot at home – any time you’re in a wireless hotspot, all your calls are free. $20 more a month. Little box is like a cell tower in your house. (makes it cheaper for them because they don’t have to put up new towers in your neighborhood)
  • Can hand off call from mobile to wireless network
  • T-mobile is the only company that doesn’t have a land-line business, which is why they are doing this
  • David Pogue just gave us his phone number.
  • Grand Central - too many phones. Awesome video that he posted on the NY Times site

  • Google Cellular – 411 costs $2. Use text messages. Send message to 46645. Type what you’re looking for: “Pharmacy Chicago” In 5 seconds they will send you back the complete name, address, phone. Weather. Driving directions, movie showtimes. Flight info. Currency conversions, Definitions. Instantaneous and uncluttered.Voice to Text - “to page this person, press #” That voice is on Ambien. The voices on voicemail recordings are slow. They make $100 million a year keeping people on the phone and paying for more minutes.
    • Spinvox and Callwave transcribe your messages so you can scan them, skip to the important ones, and not pay minutes!

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And we’re live!

World Learning webpage

I’ve been greatly remiss in posting to this blog over the last couple of months as I’ve been deeply mired in the redesign of my organization’s website. Truly an adventure in patience, flexibility, and unbelievable hard work, but we FINALLY went live this morning. Our web team was incredible, and this amazing site wouldn’t have been possible without the work of each of them going above and beyond the call of duty. Thanks everyone, and enjoy the new look of World!

Non-profit SXSW panel chosen!

Ed sent me an email over the weekend to let me know that our panel, “Pimp My Non-profit – Real Non-Profits Kicking Ass with Online Technology”, made the initial list of finalists for the SXSW Interactive Festival this coming March. Yay! This is especially exciting for me because my non-profit organization is in the midst of a huge re-branding and web redesign process, which we’ll have just launched on February 1, 2008. The experience will most definitely provide great fodder for conversation and good examples to share with the non-profit community. I’m hoping this excitement will keep me from getting nervous. That and the margaritas I’ll have to start sipping as soon as I get to Austin :o).

The description was posted on my blog previously, but I’m happy to share it again and encourage non-profits to attend this year’s conference:

“Non profit groups struggle with funding and public support issues on a daily basis. Yet many have overcome the odds and made a splash online and offline by using the latest Web technologies — for pennies on the dollar. This discussion will center around the stories, strategies, triumphs and challenges of innovative non profits with a passion for change and the cajones to rock it out online. “

If you’re a 2008 SXSW goer, I hope you join us!

Free Burma

Free Burma!

Help Free Burma too.

More on Myanmar…

It only took a day after I wrote my last post before the ruling junta in Myanmar shut down the internet and disabled several cell phone networks to prevent the free-flow of messages, video, and photographs streaming out of the country.

According to the Guardian:

The Burmese government apparently cut internet access today in an attempt to staunch the flow of pictures and messages from protesters reaching the outside world.

An official told the Agence France-Presse news agency that the internet “is not working because the underwater cable is damaged”.

In Bangkok, in neighbouring Thailand, an official at a telecommunications firm that provides satellite services to Burma said some internet service inside the country had been cut.

The London-based blogger Ko Htike said: “I sadly announce that the Burmese military junta has cut off the internet connection throughout the country. I therefore would not be able to feed in pictures of the brutality by the brutal Burmese military junta.”

Mr Htike said he would try his best to feed the Burmese junta’s “demonic appetite of fear and paranoia by posting any pictures that I receive though other means … I will continue to live with the motto that ‘if there is a will there is a way’.”…

But people are still talking about Burma - probably even more now that most of these message channels have been disabled. Webpages are plastered with articles, videos fill up pages on youTube, and several of my colleagues and friends are wearing red shirts in support of the Burmese dissidents.

Empowering Myanmar, one blog at a time

In 2002 when I was in graduate school, I did research on “hactivism” in Myanmar - the expanding practice of using internet channels to promote political ideology in opposition to the ruling totalitarian regime. You can download this paper if you want to read more.

Back then, the focus was on getting information into Myanmar through peer-to-peer networks - using connections to bases like Napster to transmit controversial and banned information on the state of the country, including international reaction. Burmese expatriates the world over secretly gathered in chat rooms to determine their messaging, and then used creative technology to educate and empower those activists in Myanmar who were quietly and secretly waiting for signs that the regime was growing weaker or for a specific call to action.
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Facebook revolt impacts university branding

This story about Middlebury has been out for a little less than two weeks, but I just discovered it this morning when a colleague passed it along. It has special relevance to my organization, as we’re currently going through a huge re-branding process and have been overly diligent in including various stakeholders. However, we aren’t doing a lot of testing with student audiences because our organization stands for so many different things and getting internal buy-in alone was a process that dragged on much longer than it should have. The majority of folks that are affiliated with us already is for cause-based reasons vs. image, and we’re counting on that as we move forward - the brand is just a new way to represent the great things we already and will continue to do. That said, I do think it’s important to reach-out to these student audiences a bit before we do the formal roll-out, to let them know what’s going on, and re-frame the branding process in terms of actual cause-based outcomes, such as a new focus on global citizenship and public events that focus on these initiatives.

I also don’t agree with the way that Middlebury backed down from their new branding. They obviously invested a lot of time and money in the process, and although the voices of their constituency matter, a Facebook petition shouldn’t have so much impact over their decisions, especially in such a short amount of time. Their reaction definitely sets a precedent and I imagine it will be harder and a much more arduous process to make any changes to their brand or the way they do business in the future as they’ll want to get buy-in from EVERYONE.

Facebook Petition Sinks Revamped Logo

“The College’s roll-out and subsequent retraction of its new logo this summer brought administrators face-to-face with a growing reality - the speed and power of Facebook as an organizing medium among college students.

Armed only with their computers and disdain for the “Middlebury Leaf,” Sarah Franco ‘08 and Alex Benepe ‘09 brought more than 700 students together in their group “Just Say No to the Middlebury Logo” within days of the College’s announcement of its new graphic identity to accompany a $500 million capital campaign…”

Facebook is becoming like my puppy…

A topic that consumes me wholly. On the Flickr side of my life I’m becoming seen as *that* dog person, who can think of nothing more interesting/intelligent to photograph than Atlas, my 5-month year old puppy. It seems like I’m also becoming *that* Facebook person too.

Every day there is something new about this social-networking tool that’s a magnet for news, bloggers, and most everyone in my non-profit community. It’s a great tool, don’t get me wrong, but ack, the talk is ubiquitous. I remember back in the day when I first started blogging out of boredom/lack of work to do, and I’d search high and low everyday to find something on the internet that might be entertaining for an hour or two. Mostly I got lost in Yahoo Games. These days, there isn’t enough time in the day to read even 25% of the Facebook articles out there, not even taking into account the activity on Facebook itself. (Not to mention that I have a job that also consumes me wholly).
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“Media Fast” and study abroad

A great article from the Washington Post tells the narrative of a communications professor at American University who gives her students an assignment to shut off all their media devices for 24 hours, then write about it.

A few weeks ago 79 Academic Directors (ADs) from our study abroad programs came to campus for orientation. During this time I helped present a session on Web 2.0. to help them better understand the media habits of our students. Over half of our ADs aren’t American citizens, and while Facebook and Instant Messaging definitely has a global reach, many of these staff had limited experience with these technologies, and many others want nothing to do with them whatsoever. The overwhelming consensus among all of the ADs is that they’d prefer their students spend more time exploring the culture instead of wasting away in internet cafes.
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