Priming the widget response network for action

Blending the use of social tools around the current focus and concerns of your work colleagues’ and activists is a must. So I think Nigel Dunn is onto something with his concept for a widget response network.

Nigel blogged after listening to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Darfur and Chad Appeal over the weekend.

While the UK-based DEC does have a Rapid Response Network for Big Media, he believes (and I agree) that they could benefit enormously from providing a badge/widget that is available all the time.

If there’s an appeal happening then content connected with that is delivered, otherwise it’s empty. This would allow the ongoing development of a network that could be brought into play (more or less) instantly that a new appeal is launched.

He even anticipates widget strategy meetings…

Inevitably new technologies and ideas will spring up over time, which means that you will have different versions [of the badge/widget] operating at the same time. So a few years down the road you will have meetings to decide what content/functionality to deliver to everyone left on version 1 compared to the whizzy new version 2, etc.

These widgets could have a “donate” button embedded in them, but it’s the network effect of thousands of ’smart’ widgets of the sort I wrote about in March (see widgets of the world unite) that is really exciting. Lots of potential for demonstrating real social impact.

A widget response network in the way Nigel describes would also be a powerful tool for groups like the The Genocide Intervention Network, and Amnesty’s crisis response network.

Incidently, the Appeal for Darfur and Chad has raised around £3m since its launch last Thursday, and for the first time ever in a DEC appeal, more has been raised online than by phone, according to this article in Professional Fundraising.

Twitter for urgent actions

It seems relevant to link the ‘widget response network’ concept to my first thoughts on Twitter.

It was Andy Carvin who recently asked “might text messaging… serve any purpose in times of public emergencies?”. He explored the humanitarian relief potential of Twitter in his post Can Twitter Save Lives?

For another take, check out Twitter for human rights, from the always brilliant Dan MacQuillan.

Something else to go on the radar of your buzz director. (What, you still don’t have one?)