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Activism in the clouds

by Dave Riley

I'm very addicted to the web as place for work and recreation. I am also a keen explorer of the web's utility in way or activism and organising. While I'm a Web 2.0 junkie I always suffer from the occasional doubt that maybe this web stuff isn't all what it is cracked up to be.

But Cloud Computing makes a lot of sense to me.

To me the 'cloud' is a absolute confirmation that the Web 2.0 sharing universe is here for good or bad and our best course is to harness it.

I'm not talking about willy nilly harvesting of seeming ethereal substrate but since I use Google Mail and Google Reader and Google Calendar daily to orchestrate my personal and political lives this makes a lot of sense. The new integration being offered for all three is a great way to travel in the clouds.

Combined with the Better G stable of Firefox addons you get yourself a very powerful interface that can organise...even me! Regardless of the computer you are using and where it is. Add that to Remember the Milk task facilitation and you are on top of a lot of the stuff that needs doing and reading or monitoring or scheduling or whatever.

What interests me at the moment is how these tools can be harnessed for political activism.

I facilitated a web publishing workshop at the recent Socialist Alliance conference and the discussion honed in on this possibility in order to organise collectively without all the duplication we may now be prone to in day to day work. In effect you move that wherewithall off one computer's desktop out into the web so all your activists can access the information and input their share of it.

For me, the self evidently useful tool is Google Calendar but once you start adding other stuff to the mix you end up with a page as useful as this one of mine:

  1. GMail on top.
  2. Below that: GReader
  3. At the bottom: GCalendar .
I've also integrated Remember the Milk. Both Google Calendar and Remember the Milk can be set to send you reminder emails automatically.

So whether you allow yourself to be organised cannot be excused by thinking you -- or some web oriented management team -- didn't try.

Background Briefing on Cloud Computing

Google's Chrome, and others, offer easier, smoother, faster servers into their gated internet gardens, where all things are known. It's the Petabyte Age, and there be beasties. Reporter Stan Correy.

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