Phillip Smith

Ten projects to remember from 2007

Freshly back from the biggest Web of Change event ever, I'm excited to get some thoughts out of my head and into the noosphere.

This year it was my great pleasure to facilitate the ever-popular "speed geek" (think speed dating). With almost 100 people in the room, the energy and excitement was palpable. And ten passionate presenters managed to deliver their four-minute demos to ten small groups that rotated around the room. Undoubtedly, it was the most information packed 55 minutes of the entire event.

So, without further introduction, here are ten projects to remember from 2007:

Frerieke van Bree traveled to Web of Change all the way from South Africa to introduce us to Umeebee. Umeebee is a web initiative to create contact between donors in The West and children in Africa, making donations more fun, transparent and personal.

Web of Change "old timer" George Irish presented Amnesty International's Get in Bed for Darfur campaign. Building on the success of the Instant Kharma project, Amnesty takes us back to Montreal in 1969 when John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their famous "bed-in" as a jumping off point for this "virtual march" campaign. Another great example of a fun, interactive way for people to get involved in Amnesty's important work.

Biro Creative's Tim Walker wowed onlookers with a complete re-invention of what to expect from the Canadian Federation of Students with their recent launch of the I Am CFS Web site.

Last time I heard from Leif Utne he mentioned that he was working with a Calgary-based start-up called Quantum Shift TV. And we were lucky enough to have Daren McLean with us this year to show us their solution-oriented media site that is currently working to challenge youth and schools across North America to submit content through a series of video contests.

Bringing the action back east was Anthony Watanabe of the Innovolve Group presenting their soon-to-be-launched "culture tagging" initiative. In his own words: Culture Tagging is a web 2.0-powered social movement and open source community that mobilizes the collective imagination of change agents uniquely positioned to tip sustainability into the mainstream.

Heading south to D.C., we had two-time Web of Changer Michael Silberman of EchoDitto presenting the National Presidential Caucus. Building on his experience as National Meetup Director for Howard Dean’s presidential run in 2004, where he managed the grassroots field organizing team, Michael puts his strategic skills to use here to build a base of regional caucuses that aim to influence the presidential leadership races.

Chris Lundberg -- also from D.C. -- showed off the latest-and-greatest in online advocacy software in the form of Democracy In Action's new "Salsa" platform.

Tina Gongsakdi presented WITNESS' Human Rights Video Hub Pilot, which aims to provide the viewer with more context around the video reporting of human rights violations. Unlike YouTube, this pilot will help present complex issues without oversimplifying and, eventually, provide tools to help video reporters file their reports securely.

Another long-time Web of Change participant and supporter -- all the way from Amsterdam -- Rolf Kleef continued to sing the praises of the online volunteering site The site links you directly with people around the world who need your assistance now. All you need is a computer, a little free time, and the desire to make a difference.

Last but not least was the ever-inspiring Michael Gilbert presenting "gTag: Information about Organizations." I didn't catch ths one personally, but reports say that it will aim to use tagging as a way to aggregate information about organizations that are doing similar work, or campaigns that are focused on the same goals. Simple tagging memes like "nptech" continue to amaze me with their simplicity and utility -- so, if gTag is anything like that, it'll be an initiative to watch.

That's it folks: ten projects to remember from from the seventh annual Web of Change. Have corrections, additions, your own impressions of these projects? Post 'em in the comments below.


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


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