Howard Dean’s Edge Tools

[via Smart Mobs] Civic Actions has an article on how Howard Dean’s site uses three decentralised tools for community building. “The Dean process drives one to the edges, creating a decentralized network topology.”

Blog: The blog is an edge tool because it enables anyone to post a comment without restrictions. When new blog entries come up, hundreds of posts follow immediately, facilitating side conversations with people interested in the topic or the candidate. This connects anyone to anyone and gives people a sense of partnership with the campaign and the candidate.

Get Local (Events): The tool is an edge tool because it enables anyone to create an event for the campaign, or RSVP to another event (both without restrictions). It enables someone to very quickly find events in their physical space. It enables one to email members of the group who have RSVP’d to the event. It shows light all the way to the “edge” of the network.

Dean Link (People): Dean Link is an edge tool because it enables anyone to find other supporters within their geographic proximity. People can list themselves, with a picture and personal interests, and anyone can search by ZIP code to find others in their neighborhood. The tool also shows the friends of each person, so one can browse through the social network of volunteers. This could be extremely valuable during the GOTV effort, because peer-pressure could be applied to central “connectors” asking them to personally call their friends.

Some good inputs for my forthcoming Tech Talk series on “Technology and the Indian Elections.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.