David B. Crowley's blog

Social Capital Matters

Since the economic downturn hit in 2008, I've found myself needing to justify our focus on building social capital more often. Many people seem to imply that while things like knowing one's neighbor and joining a community group might be nice, it is not as crucial as providing people in need with the material sustenance they need in difficult times. I've now had ten years of experience explaning that there is an important and well-documented relationship between increasing social capital and positive economic outcomes for individuals and communities. We need to see that building social capital versus meeting material needs is a false choice.Read more

Teaching 21st Century Skills By Practicing Them

Last week, Woburn Public Schools (WPS) Superintendent Mark Donovan stopped by the International Learning Center to meet the the student leadership team that is working with us to plan the WorldFest Woburn multi-cultural festival. These adult learners are recent immigrants from over twenty countries, participating in a wonderful program offered by the YMCA of Greater Boston.

During this meeting, we were exploring ways that the WPS students and their families could get more involved in the WorldFest event this year. Mr. Donovan embraced this idea eagerly, noting that there are now over 50 languages spoken at home by the WPS students. When I went to WPS over 20 years ago, I suspect I could have counted the number of languages spoken by students on my fingers. Mr. Donovan spoke passionately about how in our increasingly diverse communities and global economy, appreciation of different cultures and ability to work effectively across difference as a vital "21st century skill". That is for sure!Read more

A Super Message the Patriots Send

Everybody wants to tie their brand into the Super Bowl. I felt some obligation to think of a social capital angle we could bring to the big game. But clearly another Facebook or Twitter query, "So what or your plans for the game?" was not very interesting. I was inclined to pass on trying to articulate a connection between the SCI mission and the Super Bowl.Read more

SCI MLK Day Roundup

Martin Luther King Day is officially recognized as a day of service, and the operative phrase associated with it is  "A day on, not a day off". In his Drum Major Instinct sermon Dr. King said "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve." Keeping with this sentiment, today is officially recognized as the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. So it's a busy day around the SCI network...here are some highlights, and if you are reading this morning, still time to get involved with something!

*Lynn Community Donation Drive A wide range of items needed by several local charties have been posted, and are being collected at several locations in the community. If you drop at Compare supermarket (owned by the family of our board chair, Alberto Calvo), they will match your donation.Read more

You can change the world in 2012

Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist, recently asked people to share ways we planned to change the world in 2012. My response was referenced in Craig's follow-up piece, "16 People and Organizations Changing the World in 2012". I'd like to share with you some of my response to Craig.
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My Plan for Social Good 2012

When craigslist founder Craig Newmark asked people in this post, "How Will You Change the World in 2012", I knew I would need to respond. I wrote on a similar theme around this time last year, so appreciated Craig's nudge to set forth my plans again here.

1) Launching the National Civic Communication Corps: Created as a response to the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps enrolled 500,000 members at its peak, and the corps planted some 3 billion trees and created 800 parks nationwide (source: Wikipedia). What legacy could a 21st century CCC leave behind? We envision a national Civic Communication Corps through which:Read more

Leveraging Social Media to Promote Public Health

Participants ready to go in Let's Get Social workshop

Yesterday I presented a workshop, "Let's Get Social: Leveraging Social Media to Promote Public Health" at the Southeastern Massachusetts Inter-CHNA (health communities network) conference. As I suspected, we didn't have a chance to cover all 71 slides in the 45 minute workshop, so I'm sharing it here as a follow-up--click this link to view as a Google presentation. The presentation could be handy to folks beyond the public health sphere, as the slides include a lot of basic pointers and how-tos on social media, including an intro to Twitter.Read more

Why I Tweet--10,000 Times

Ready to cast my vote and Tweet number 10,000! #10000Tweets

In the beginning, it was peer pressure that nudged me onto Twitter. I'd heard buzz about it, and my curiosity was piqued when I heard mention that many Members of Congress and commentators were Tweeting around that year's State of the Union. But what really got me to focus on it was when Lindsay Hyde, founder of Strong Women Strong Girls, asked at an event if we were Tweeting yet at SCI. When I answered no, she said she could really see how it could apply to our mission of promoting local civic engagement. Not wanting to be too much of a Luddite, I didn't ask too many questions about how exactly she saw Twitter's relevance to our mission. I did sign up for my Twitter account a few days later, determined to figure out what it was about.Read more

10 Ways to Boost Your Community Clout

Confession: I was disappointed when the changes in the Klout scoring system last week resulted in mine dropping from 66 to 52.  In case you haven't been sucked into monitoring your score yet, Klout is a company that provides users with ratings intended to measure their online influence. They made a significant change in their algorithm last week that resulted in scores changing, much to the chagrin of many.

The Klout score attempts to get at one's influence, which begs the question, "Influence for what?". At Social Capital Inc., we're using social media to help achieve our mission of getting people to be more civically active in local communities. So our aim is to leverage online social media to influence people to get out into place-based communities and join with their neighbors around common interests and goals. Drawing on experience in my community, here are ten ways to leverage social media to build your community clout (and they might not hurt your Klout score either):Read more

SCI Highlighted as National Model

SCI's outreach and technology team was highlighted in “Civic Engagement and Community Information: Five Strategies to Revive Civic Communication”, written by Peter Levine and published by the Aspen Institute and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. I find myself referencing it frequently, but it is in the middle of the report, so I am posting the excerpt on SCI for handy reference. Read the full paper here.

Social Capital Inc. is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that seeks to increase local civic engagement and social capital through a variety of initiatives that connect diverse individuals and organizations in the community. Since its founding in 2002, SCI has incorporated information and communications technologies as essential components of its programs to connect people, foster civic engagement and build healthier communities. SCI currently serves ten communities in the state.Read more

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