The World Through the Eyes of John Brennan
It came as quite a shock. I suppose there was no better channel for finding out than twitter — the same service that gave me the opportunity in the first place. Twitter connected me with great social entrepreneurs such as @christineegger, @peterdeitz and @engagejoe who introduced me to the Change the Web Challenge in the first place.
But, before I get into the “what next?” I want to thank all my friends, both old and new, for their support! I’d also like to thank the panel of 8 judges who see the same potential with this idea that I do.
Here’s what others are saying about the Social Actions Map:
Since the NTEN conference in San Francisco earlier this week social change has received a lot of positive feedback.
“This application has the potential to be a bridge between online and offline actions - the holy grail of organizers”, said Beth Kanter, Change the Web Judge and Scholar in Residence for Nonprofits and Social Media at the Packard Foundation. “Linking actions with geographic information visually shown on a map could be a powerful stimulus to facilitate self-organizing groups of individuals who care about an issue and want to do something about it in a particular location.”
Also featured in:
triplepundit: Philanthropy in Five
The Huffington Post
PSFK - News, Trends, and Ideas for Inspiration
The Vancouver Sun
Social Actions Blog
Fundraising Success Magazine
There has been a lot of talk about location information. The reason why its such a hot topic is because the majority of the social actions don’t have this infomation. I’m using fancy entity extractors and the geonames database to add this layer. Many have asked if I would build and document a way for others to get at this data too. However, this is not the right approach!
I knew it would be powerful and engaging to see actions tied to a place — especially if its near you and your community. I also love the intriguing factor of keeping people guessing on how locations can be shown if the API doesn’t provide it for all actions? However, the real intention of this mashup was to encourage 50+ platforms to start asking for more information themselves. The effort has to be a bottoms-up approach. Although my technique is about 85% accurate it misses some locations or gets too many and can’t determine which it should use (although I try my best to make thoughtful attempts).
We need to all put pressure on these platforms to get this information from the users themselves. That is the only way for 100% accuracy. Even better — we might be able to persuade the platforms to adopt standards like iCal (events, time ranges) and FOAF (to show social graph relationships).
In the recent months I have grew frustrated with the lack of transparency provided by many superb non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It’s a real shame that the efforts and impact that many NGOs are doing are going relatively unnoticed. We need to change this.
Second, there is a lack of engagement between NGOs and potential donors. I don’t know the numbers, but I could take a guess that the same donors are coming back (hopefully), but what about new faces? I believe with transparency comes engagement (more or less).
Third, verification. This is what has still left me quite dumbfounded. When NGOs share their efforts how can this be confirmed? Can the community do this? A separate entity? I’m still unsure.
The main goal going forward though is to bring more attention to the people and organizations that are really making a positive impact on this world. And to those organizations that are inefficient and wasteful — I hope I put fire under your butt to either change your wasteful ways or file for Chapter 11.
Got ideas? Like to brainstorm? I’d love to hear from you!
Code. Design. Explore. is the blog of John Brennan, a web developer/designer, entrepreneur, and avid world traveler. I currently live in Brooklyn, NY.
I am the Co-Founder of OpenAction and lead Product Development. We are a open platform social enterprise that helps organizations engage with donors, share knowledge with other non profits and empower the community to get involved to create positive impact on our planet.
This blog will mostly be around building cool things, although I will surely include my travel experiences when I am abroad. Feel free to subscribe to a specific category if that is only what interests you. And please connect with me. I always enjoy meeting new, interesting people!