Margaret Rosas: “Everyone wants an umbrella” aka social media and social good, the wish list

I was on the phone tonight with my friend Margaret Rosas and some other folk, talking about Wednesday’s meeting of the Public Media Collaborative, when the conversation veered into the idea of us tech and social media types doing training to impart skillz to local community folk, particularly activists, those in non-profits and working for positive social change (however you define that).

“Everyone wants an umbrella to stand under,” Margaret said. “They want a program that will align all their interests.”

Boy, is that ever true! So many friends and people I respect–JD Lasica, Chris Heuer, Beth Kanter, Amy  Sample Ward. Britt Bravo, Tara Hunt, Cathy Brooks, Heather Gold–I could go on and on with names–are working on projects that use Web 2.0 tools to empower causes they care about–or to find ways to effect knowledge transfer around effective use of the new tools.

The Bar Camp and the Unconference movements are s powerful that I look to them as templates and examples, but I crave the chance to develop something more structured, so less techie groups will know there is a payoff when they send people for training (and will also know that they get a mentor or phone buddy for follow -up).

I believe that supporting a network of events that train and support using social media for positive social change (that’s a buzz phrase I am going to have to stop using, it is becoming meaningless) is something very worthwhile–I’d like to see some bigger guns step in and support it, like the Knight Foundation,the McArthur Foundation,the MIT Knight Center for Future Civic Media, Annenberg/USC,, the Maynard Institute  and so on (yes, folks I am calling you out)
Not that I need any more to do, but if other people are working on this, on doing something national, please let me know, I would like to help.