Craig on Obama’s ‘Craigslist for Service’

As Craig Newmark notes in an article on Huffington Post, President-elect Barack Obama ran on a platform that included a call for a national “craigslist for service.” But as Newmark writes, he’d like craigslist itself used “only a metaphorical reference to the need for greater service to others, with the spirit and culture of trust of craigslist.”

Besides, notes Newmark, there are already many outlets for service and involvement, including some of the organizations and sites profiled in CauseWired. He lists five ways for Americans to get involved with a “craigslist for service,” and notes the value of the public pledge in encouraging others:

To make this really happen, people need to declare themselves publicly, to commitment to some form of service, and follow through. This is like the pledge system of the Clinton Global Initiative, or pledgebank.com, or thepoint.com. We’ll need something which scales to the tens of millions, which also plugs into the social networking tools people actually use.

He’s got a point: the best in social networking involves the abandonment of anonymity and the embrace of the self in a very public fashion. Clearly, Obama’s campaign tapped that next-stage, public Internet over the past two years – and there’s real value to leveraging what has been a political campaign into more of a national movement. As Newmark says: “I feel that we’re entering a new time of civic engagement, where people can help others out in small or big ways.”

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1 Comment»

  Paul wrote @

I thought that Ron Paul did a better job of harnessing social media than Obama. In fact, I think Obama’s handlers only really picked up on it from the success Ron Paul was having. it seems to have worked better from Paul too. If you check his YouTube videos, they generally have more views than Obama.


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