Tutor/Mentor Connection

Connect knowledge, volunteers, youth and make a difference.

“The true power of the internet is that it gives us the chance to do something different - focus on ourselves for a change. That indeed, would be visionary”. (Duchess Harris)

I’m still in the process of understanding “the connection”, a new moniker that I have dubbed the whole social networking process of Cabrini Connections. Today, I was successful at explaining the connection to two of our new additions to Cabrini, Eunsoo Lee and Jawon Koo. Both have currently joined the ning for the Tutor Mentor Connection and started blogs this afternoon on behalf of Cabrini. As I was explaining the way the Tutor Mentor Connection uses technology and social networking to connect the organization to individuals and groups through the internet, I also had a chance to retrace my training and hear again the point of this new system of using the web to promote a central cause publically. New ideas, such as hosting a Cabrini blog team and creating a iSearch page for the organization, came to mind as we three navigated through all the networks Cabrini is connected to on the web. Activism through media and technology is not new, but is definitely setting a new pace as to how social and community leaders operate on the web.

One acquaintance I came to know through web activism is Alexis Gumbs. We are both apart of the Quirky Black Girls movement, an online network of women who are raising consciousness about a variety of different issues that we are confronted with in society. Gumbs was recognized as a media activist and recently named one of the “50 People Who Are Changing Your World” by Wiretap Magazine. I took a short tally of all the different online social networks, blogs, websites, twitter, facebook, myspace accounts, etc. that were accredited to Gumbs and the QBG movement, and I found 12 different sites. Eunsoo, Jawon, and I counted 7 sites, 11 blogs, and 5 different uses of social network accounts for the Tutor Mentor Connection. I can see how being introduced into this form of activism can be both overwhelming and exhausting. One must really understand the goal and allow it to drive her/him to produce.

For example, Wired.com recently profiled 27-year-old Ben Rattray and his new hire Joshua Levy in their new attempt to promote Change.org, an organization that provides non-profit organizations with a new way to network online and to try and make social activism “more efficient and effective”. Levy is a former associate editor at TechPresident.com, the blog associated with the annual conference that’s all about technology and politics. According to the article on Wired.com, Change.org currently has 2,000 non-profit groups using its social networking site. Its next move, which Levy has been hired to build, is to build blogging network:

"The idea is to translate people’s interest in a social issue to action," Rattray says. "There’s a huge opportunity online to create niche media portals about things not often covered in the news."

Sound familiar?

There’s a lot of negativity that can come from online media, but positivity can derive from it as well. One way to positively use the web is to activate an iGive account that allows users to have a percentage of their online purchases donated to the organization of their choice. iSearch does the same function every time you use the engine and donates 2 cents per search. Just enter Cabrini Connections as the organization and you can create an instant fundraiser for us (www.igive.com).

Daniel W. Drezner, an associate professor of international politics at Tufts University and frequent blogger, comments that “quality blogs allow scholars to link grand theory to real-world events, cultivate new ideas, and spark public debates — that come from scholar blogging”. Soon, I will be embarking on my own journey through blogging and media activism when I begin the online portion of my Master’s thesis project {The Other} Chicago, which will debut at the end of this month. This blog will function as a case study to my thesis, and will document how organizations in the city are eliminating structural violence creatively by shifting focus on marginalization in urban settings, dubbed as “the other” in contemporary society. The site will also include an activism section, which will detail my work here at Cabrini along with stories from the Tutor Mentor Connection and other issues I’m committed to. Starting this site has been the most nerve-racking, yet exciting thing I have done in the new semester, and I’ll be sure to keep the Tutor Mentor social network updated on the progress.

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Comment by Daniel Bassill on January 15, 2010 at 12:43pm
Thanks. The article's dated June 08, so much has happened since then. Social Actions is one ning page doing something similar.

This is our page on Change.org For this to work for the charity some people need to be active on the site, just like this site. In addition, for the platform to benefit organizations in a single cause, like tutor/mentor, there would need to be many similar organizations hosting sites, and contributing daily blog articles. This can happen, but it's not happening yet.

If we can make it happen here by the roles you and other interns and leaders of other programs that are already on this site, we can be a model for what happens elsewhere. The discussion on Social Edge shows how important this is.
Comment by E Wilson on January 15, 2010 at 11:25am
"New Blogging Network Editor Hopes To Transform Social Networking To Social Action " by Sarah Lai Stirland http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/06/new-blogging-ne/
Comment by Daniel Bassill on January 15, 2010 at 10:49am
E. Can you post the link to the Change.org article that you refer to in this article? Thanks.
Comment by Eunsoo Lee on January 14, 2010 at 11:01am
Thanks to you E, I;ve learned lots of information about this company. I thought there are many negative comments or ignoring comments of someone's opinioin. I agreed the sentence "The idea is to translate people’s interest in a social issue to action," as well. Actually we need to act for getting good results.
Comment by Daniel Bassill on January 14, 2010 at 10:09am
Here's an article that I think will interest you. It's written by a fraternity brother of mine who is an AIDS activist in LA.
Comment by Daniel Bassill on January 14, 2010 at 9:25am
Your Master's project sounds really interesting. Including Tutor/Mentor Connection is an example of what I hope many graduate students will do in future years. Here's a link to one of the blog articles I wrote under the "blog exchange" topic. In this blog I'm pointing to BeatBlogging.org which reviews blogs. We can learn a lot from what others are writing, and how they are writing, and hopefully that will help us have a greater impact in our mission.

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