As we get closer to that time of year when more people are thinking about that part of civic engagement that involves politics and voting, people may be looking for a place to help them get their arms around things. A new site called EveryVote, refers itself as “The Civic Engagement Social Network Platform.” The site is non-profit and open-source. It is designed to help users find the objective political information most relevant to them, and offers a variety of tools that make political engagement at any level less difficult. Check it out for yourself.
If you had any doubts about the Web’s shift toward more non-text-based content, check out this data from Nielsen. January 2011: Online Video Usage Up 45% | Nielsen Wire.
Here’s a useful post from the knowledgeable folks at Socialbrite: 14 free tools to measure your social influence.
I subscribe to Fast Company‘s Ethonomics Weekly list. The latest issue has a couple of great stories related to social media and activism. Check them out.
Neal Ungerleider’s “The Palestinian Conflict, Settled on Your iPhone,” talks about a new iPhone app called Facts on the Ground. It was developed by Americans for Peace Now, a group advocating a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The app uses Google Maps to track West Bank settlement activity. The piece discusses the app itself as well as politically oriented apps in general.
If you like stories about people doing the seemingly impossible, you will be interested in another great example of the Web being able to find needles in haystacks. In “Refugees United, The Social Network That’s More Important Than Facebook Goes Mobile,” Alice Korngold writes about Refugees United, an NGO that uses secure web and mobile technology to enable refugees to find loved ones throughout the world. Inspiring.
Change-makers share 10 of their favorite tools is a great post at socialbrite.org. We’ll be taking closer looks at many of the tools mentioned in the piece in the weeks to come.
A new Fast Company article, “Work Smart: 3 Useful Things You Didn’t Know Your Cameraphone Could Do,” by Gina Trapani, takes a brief look at smartphone camera aps (particularly QR codes) that have great mashup potential for use in civic engagement. What sorts of things need to be documented in the community? How could you inform people about issues simply by aiming their phone at something and snapping a picture?
John Haydon has a pretty good intro to Google buzz.