Computers, Freedom, and Privacy
As well as providing ways to stay in touch with friends and make new connections, social networking technologies are increasingly important for activism and education. This interactive workshop will look at social networks and other innovative avenues such as blogs, wikis, mashups, and virtual worlds - as well as the role of more traditional online communication mechanisms like email and discussion forums. It will cover these technologies and their larger implications; techniques for engaging others while dealing with challenges such as trolling, flaming, and privacy invasion; and a nuts-and-bolts introduction to utilizing these tools. As part of the preparation for the workshop, We will also be developing online resource pages for some of the modules; for a couple of early examples, check out Facebook and promoting books.

A all-day workshop at CFP08, Thursday May 22, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Online pre-workshop discussions on Facebook, tribe, free-assocation, and elsewhere coming soon. Online details at the conference TBD.

Detailed description[]

The goal of the workshop is to get people to feel comfortable and be more aware of the possibilities of using social networks for professional as well as personal use. As part of the workshop, we'll be constructing groups for CFP attendees to stay in touch, as well as profiles and groups for several organizations attending.

We plan on examining several different types of social networks. Some of these networks are geared toward sending out 'news blasts' to your network of friends, while others support having a much deeper conversation about the topic at hand. Protest groups on Facebook can quickly grow to over a million people– and lead to millions demonstrating in the real world. New technology such as "causes," now available both on Facebook and MySpace, allows for fundraising and eases recruiting. Easy sharing can increase the viral spread of videos and web pages. Innovative mashups like those promoted by Netsquared with their Mashup Challenge make information and calls to action more easily available to more people. We'll survey the available functionality and describe how to use the different variants for education and activism activities, as well as giving tips on how to become part of the particlar social network community that the participant is interested in.

For those who would like to call-in via phone, we have two phone numbers:

+1 3032489655

In the US

The access code is 1930594


we hope to have streaming video and online participation. details still TBD

9:00 - 9:15 - Introduction by Deborah

9:15 - 9:45 Eric from the ACLU - activism and education campaigns that they've successfully used

9:50 - 10:20 Jon - examples of social network activism, trolls, flaming, etc.

10:20 - 10:45 - Alex - Facebook

10:45 - 11:00 open discussion, Q & A

11:00 - 12:30 - multiple simultaneous hands-on sessions: create profiles, explore various social networks, Greg on promoting books, questions, other topics based on participants' interests

12:30 - 1:30 - lunch break

1:30 - 3:00 - multiple simultaneous hands-on sessions, create profiles, explore various social networks, Jon on dealing with trolls (etc.), questions, other topics, other topics based on participants' interests

3:00 - 3:30 - afternoon break

3:30 - 5:00 - closing discussion, led by Elizabeth: Designing Social Networking Tools for Activism brainstorming - questions going forward, including how best to evolve social networks for activism purposes, and countering legislative threats

Hands-on sessions[]

Much of the workshop will feature multiple simultaneous modules, including presentations and hands-on experience. If technology allows it, we will set up the room so that people can participate remotely.

Possible topics will include

  • effective use of particular social network sites: Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Wikia, Tribe, Free-Association, Second Life, Ning ...
  • skills for social network educators and activists: podcasting, screencasting, getting people to blog about you, promoting books and videos
  • brainstorming challenges faced by attendees

We will also be developing online resource pages for some of the modules; for a couple of early examples, check out Facebook and promoting books

Pre-workshop activities[]

Before the workshop, we'll be making use of this wiki as well as CFP discussion groups on various social networks -- Facebook, tribe, free-association (more to come soon). Some of what we hope to discuss:

  • what skills are particularly important for activists -- and where are the best online resources?
  • how best to involve those who won't be there in person?
  • what are some of the success stories, in which educators and activists have used social networks successfully, and what can we learn?
  • how to organize the outputs of the workshop so that they're broadly useful, and a base for others to build on?


Organizers: Jay Stanley (ACLU), Deborah Pierce (PrivacyActivism)

Other confirmed in-person participants include

Leah Belsky (Information Society Project, YLS) Elizabeth Stark (Free Culture) Alex Bratman (University of Pennsyvlania) GregoryK (GottaBook) Jon Pincus ( Markus Beckedahl (

planning on being there, in-person or remotely? please add your name!


any questions you have for the participants -- or that you hope will be answered by this panel? if so, please ask them in any of the discussion groups -- or leave them here!


Mobilizing Youth's book resources page has resources on blogging, wikis, maps, video and photo sharing, and more. Their site also serves as the blog for as well as the Web site that supports Mobile Voter’s book entitled Mobilizing Generation 2.0: A Practical Guide to Using Web2.0 Technologies to Recruit, Organize and Engage Youth, produced and edited by the experts in the field -- for example, danah boyd has an essay called "Digital Handshakes in Networked Publics: Why Politicians Must Interact, Not Broadcast".


other interesting articles, papers, books, discussion threads, videos, etc.? please add them here!


Discussions and Feeds[]

links to blog posts, forums, and discussions on this topic -- blogs, discussion boards, social networks, etc.'

also links to any RSS feeds


Tags to use on digg, flickr,, YouTube, etc. -- as well as any blog posts.

cfp08 workshop activism social networks