Lately I’ve been involved in a number of grassroots efforts, crowd sourcing, and increasing the bandwidth of various projects (other people’s, not my own).
It’s the modern version of networking. I can’t increase the sales of a friend’s book or a favorite local restaurant, but I can let people know where to find it. I can’t rescue a stranger from poverty or foot (paw?) the vet bills for someone else’s cat, but I can contribute something. I can’t speak authoritatively about a lot of subjects, but I’m a whiz at knowing where and how to find information.
In a way, it’s like the Six Degrees of Separation (or Kevin Bacon) theory – if I don’t know how to do something, one of my friends or one of their friends does. It’s one of the reasons I’m on Facebook, despite its many flaws. It’s similar to a giant “Phone-a-Friend” lifeline from the old version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
“The hive mind” is just another way of saying “brainstorming.” “Signal boosting” is tech-speak for “spreading the word.” “Crowd sourcing” is the modern way to “pooling our resources.”
It’s an answer to the question “But how can I, one small person, make a difference?” And it’s a way to “stand on the shoulders of giants” to see farther. Come to think of it, it’s a lot of the reason we have WordPress blogs.
If you’re interested, here are some groups that do crowd-sourcing:
Kiva.org (rotating micro-loans to help alleviate poverty)
DonorsChoose.org (funding for individual teachers’ classroom projects)
Kickstarter.com and GoFundMe.com (fundraising for creative projects or personal needs)
I’ve made donations through all of these and never regretted it.
And while I’m at it, here are a couple of friends of mine whose signals I am boosting:
TomSmithOnline.com and thefump.com, for those interested in Dr. Demento-style music (FuMP = Funny Music Project)
Rejectedprincesses.com, neglected kick-ass women of history and myth who would never make it in a Disney movie
What organizations or projects would you like to promote? Just leave a comment below. No waiting for the beep.