Archive for August 21st, 2004

Bring together online and offline worlds and communities


Joi and Boris: “rave for Sudan.” Dave: “BloggerCon II 1/2 to stop genocide.” Thursday night group meeting: “Wednesday night August 25, meeting to come up with better ways to stop the genocide.”

Cyberspace touches meat space–and really cooks. is experimenting at a new level this weekend. Here is the summary:

The Passion of the Present community continues to experiment with new web-enabled ways to help stop the genocide in Sudan. Our partnership with is an example of this. What SaveDarfur brings is an extensive network of more than 80 national “land based” organizations with affiliates across America. Mostly these organizations are religious, but some are civic and even a few are specialized to stopping the genocide in Sudan.

Meat space matters. These locally-based organizations have something that the web alone can not easily achieve, and that is face-to-face relationships, forged over time, and local communities committed to working together.

Cyber space matters. The web brings the ability to instantly mobilize, to easily provide “soft coordination” through shared public information, and an alternative to the mainstream media in being able to publicize the entirety of what is done to stop the genocide.

The online tool that POtP designed with SaveDarfur (see links at upper left of the http://passionofthepresent site, as well as… ) uses a “want ad” metaphor to encourage creativity and variety in both event descriptions and contact information. It was inspired in part by the “get local” feature of Dean for America.

The power of this tool is that it is event-and-organizer centered(in contrast to MeetUp,that is more individual-focused ), easy to use, available across the web to an entire nation and to all of the groups that make up the Save Darfur coalition, and that it was simple to implement. This particular version of the tool was developed by April of Springthistle Design ( )in about three days of elapsed time. April IS very good, and she had some similar code on the shelf–but what she did is possible for others.

What the tool enables is for a land-based community to easily come online and post its actions, gatherings and events. It also enables those of us who are mainly in the cyber-world to consider and implement our own meat space events.

This tool has almost no limit as to how many events can be posted in a short time. The events are approved by Jake Sommer at SaveDarfur, but–as long as the info is reasonably complete (please remember day and time!)–the turnaround to post is very rapid. As Joe Trippi, campaign manager at Dean for America used to say, on the web a campaign could raise millions of dollars overnight, if enough people were moved to contribute. In the case of the August 25 Day of Conscience, overnight we can list and display thousands of events–across the United States and around the world.

Please help us during the next four days to publicize this opportunity to bring together the offline and online worlds, and to extend the Sudan-genocide-stopping community in each. This event provides a fine way to make our voices heard, and a way to explore new methods and tools to combine face-to-face and online political action.

During the next 24 hours you will encounter more new ideas on –including a national guerilla theater idea being developed by Bich Ngoc Cao, and powerful posters by Katrin Verclas. Send us your ideas for amplifying the effect of August 25.

The advantage of Wednesday August 25 being so close at hand is that you only need commit a few days of intense effort 🙂


Log in