Over the past months here in Ethiopia, I’ve managed to fall deeper into Web 2.0. For those of you not as enamored as I am, Web 2.0 is the latest generation of internet applications that feature user-driven content (like wikipedia, youtube, flickr, myspace…). My first foray into Web 2.0 is what you’re looking at right now: my blog. Since its inception, I’ve managed to join various online networking, photo and social book marking sites as well. And as someone who’s interested in getting Canadians and others involved in international development issues, I tend to look for the social consciousness in Web 2.0. I’ve been delighted to find several ways in which the internet is promoting the causes I feel passionate about.
For starters, I’m part of two online networking sites that are engaged in promoting community activism and global awareness: www.takingitglobal.com and www.idealist.org. These two sites allow you to link with others working for positive change, share your experience, and even find jobs within the field. TakingITGlobal focuses on getting youth around the world to increase their involvement through contributing to newsletters, developing artists’ pages, and joining organizations working on development issues online. I post my blog there as well, and have taken an online course on fundraising that they provided. Idealist.org has two neat components, the first mobilizing its members to increase dialogue on community and global issues through holding forums in their area, and the second allowing its members to build volunteer and speaker profiles to become more active in their causes. Both have allowed me to connect with other individuals who are interested in the same issues that I am.
As well, both the organizations I work for have online fundraising strategies that make use of Web 2.0 applications. For example, CAPAIDS annual Bike A Thon, which raises money to buy bikes for frontline Aids workers in Africa, is facilitated through an individualized donation system. Using a template, I can personalize my own donation page, including photos and my fundraising goals, and then send the link to friends and family. They can then donate online with their credit card, which means that instead of going door to door like I used to in high school, I can reach friends overseas or family back in Victoria.
Today I came across one of my most exciting discoveries so far, on the ubiquitous social networking site, Facebook. Usually reserved for connecting with friends you didn’t even know you knew and posting photos of last night’s debaucheries, Facebook has recently made an application available where you can feature a “cause” on your profile page and invite your friends to support the cause, and make donations if they choose. I looked at some of the most popular, and even though the Causes application has only been available for a few days, there have already been significant contributions. This from a demographic that purportedly thinks more about beer than poverty. CPAR hasn’t joined yet, as all the organizations available so far are based in the US, but I’m excited to feature the organization on my profile when they are listed, and encourage my friends to forget their student loan payments for a moment and support my Cause.
Hopefully this will encourage those of you who are holding out against Web 2.0 to dive right in!
If you do, here’s where to find me:
Site Username Description
www.takingitglobal.com jongbloed linking active youth
www.idealist.org katejongbloed linking active individuals
www.facebook.com Kate Jongbloed the social networking site
www.flickr.com katejongbloed my photos online
www.delicious.com katejongbloed online list of my favourite sites
www.goodreads.com Kate in Ethiopia like Facebook for books
www.ysn.com katejongbloed networking for young professionals