<Ned> Front Porch
Comment by John Powers
There is something called a "friend whore" at all the face sites. I'm such an easy person, I really wouldn't mind being a friend whore. One Saturday afternoon I was walking back to the parking garage with my elderly father from the symphony. As we walked a woman hurried past us yelling after a guy and in a loud voice saying: "Hey! You need a ho?" I really had a laugh because in my mind I imagine hawking as something a little more subtle. I suppose that I've never built huge friends networks has to do with my precious notions of subtlety.
The Razoo Ambassadors are an important group in that they are "a small group of committed people." The radical transparency at Ned is a great strength. I worry about the private club nature of the Ambassadors at Razoo. But I also understand the need to have sustained conversations without a lot of noise. Despite noises problem at Omidyar.net, in general one of the great strengths of this tool set is the capacity to develop focused collaborative efforts with the process being transparent.
Emma Vick wrote to regarding Face sites: As for Ned.com I have looked at it and it feels a foreign to me as facebook must feel to you. And she's sanguine about the traffic at Razoo bringing people in just to populate groups for the Razoo challenge.
More than age differences and relative familiarity with social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, etc., her observations make me think there's a difference in thinking about what sites are supposed to do.
I missed the great saga of the Omidyar grants, and it is true that part of what engaged me was participation in a funding round. Nevertheless what always kept me interested was the site never seemed all about fund-raising. I think to many when the notion of "doing something" comes up, that means raising money.
The initial premise of Razoo may be as a money raising platform.
bell hooks has a series of videos up at You Tube. In the segment about Rap music she discusses a construct of "commoditified blackness." I'm sure to butcher what she's talking about: It's an idea that in American culture we can purchase an identification with blackness that allows us not to be engaged with black people and possibly transformed by those interactions.
It seems to me that when our ideas of "doing something" are reduced to fund raising a similar dynamic of making the relationship a commodity emerges.
Uzodinma Iweala's July op-ed in the Washington Post, Stop Trying To 'Save' Africa generated a lot of conversation. Glenna Gordon writer of Uganda Scarlet Lion weighed in with a piece about Swathmore's Genocide Intervention Network. GI-Net is doing good, but for me at least it's not the model which applies to every good thing that needs doing.
Part of the culture of Ned is the notion: "Geez, I don't have to like you to do something good with you!" Most of us are a little crusty. Oh I'll admit to being very needy and wanting everyone to love me. But somewhere over time I've made peace with the fact that will never be.
Liked or not liked, loved or unloved, when we engage here at Ned we expect to be transformed by the interactions. What we want most is to create transformative change. Money is just one tool in our toolbox. And because it seems most of us don't have lots of money it's not the first tool we reach for.
Emma Vick is a Razoo Ambassador and she worries that after this funding round that the non-engagement at Razoo may be a wasted opportunity.
I'm so impatient; that and my scruffy old man problem remind be to step back a little and think about all the young people at Razoo. Bottom line is that I need to be open to being changed by interactions with them. I want to use my voice there to point to the sorts of transformative change I believe is so vital. Ultimately, if anything good is to come from my actions at Razoo, it's not going to come from dithering about the platform. Rather transformative change may emerge from walking my talk.
On Munnu's Village Credit and Saving Society thread I pointed to a fellow at Razoo named David Stoker who's expertise is in micro-franchise. Ben Parkinson picked up on that and contacted Stoker. When I logged back into Razoo I saw that Munnu and Stoker had connected as friends.
I get the sense that with our expectations some of us accustomed to interacting at Omidyar.net come across as a bit over bearing at Razoo. We like to strike when the iron is hot and make connections. But these habits can seem foreign. Some of the young people at Razoo impress me. I have confidence they'll figure out good ways to make good things happen. I do hope that over time constructive ways of engaging across platforms will be woven. However hip we imagine ourselves a generation gap is part of the challenge. Gaps are best bridged from two sides.