Social media for social change - time for Netsquared Europe?

David Wilcox's picture

I've just blogged this at Designing for Civil Society - it might be worth making some connections ...

In Another shout for a Netsquared Europe Steve Bridger offers a round-up of initiatives to promote and support the innovative use of social media for social change. Nonprofits in the US are better organised, particularly through Netsquared, which runs events, awards, aggregates blogs, and develops its community in many other ways too. Steve writes:

Amnesty's Dan McQuillan has made a rallying call for a Netsquared this side of the pond - which could be an "incubator for web-enabled social change in the UK & Europe"
Dan identifies some possible goals:
* To stimulate web-enabled social innovation
* To create a an online-offline community for learning skills, sharing experiences and developing expertise
* To sustain socially progressive activity through alternative business & organisational models 
I like the emphasis Dan gives to "activism", and "the organisational question" in particular ...
"Perhaps, like the second Netsquared conference, it could aim to incubate a new generation of web-enabled non-profits that use new forms of organising to deliver more directly on their missions."
There is a very real tension between where social media is taking us and how charities are responding (although there needn't be).  Web 2.0 requires Leadership 2.0.  Surely two sides of the same coin.
All this may well dovetail with the initiative soon to be unveiled by Bertie Bosrédon, the Head of New Media at Breast Cancer Care.  Bertie gave me an update earlier this week.
Yesterday, I happened to get a call from Richard Saunders, who is head of website development at NCH, the children's charity. He also hinted he would welcome a forum along these lines.  And Rob Bowker at the BTCV has flagged his interest to me via this blog.
I also know from many of the conversations I had in Brussels last week that there would be an appetite for this elsewhere in Europe, too.  Paolo Ferrara left a comment on my recent Buzz Director post to let me know that they are starting to unpick this concept in their own Italian context.

I should think that the Technology and Social Action project might be interested, as well NCVO's ICT Foresight team on the policy front. The challenge, I suspect, will be to organise in a way that mirrors the open architecture of social media. I've been a little sceptical in the past, but this sounds far more promising.

This also dovetails well with...

...our plans to organise a (series of) WTF's The Future?! -type event(s)

See for an idea of what it'll be like.

The focus this time will be on Transition Towns, Relocalization, and The Great Turning from Empire to Earth Community (see and etc.)

The question might be something like "How can we prepare for the impact of Peak Oil, reduce our contribution to Climate Change and create a positive future?"



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