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Craig Newmark Headshot

A Personal Call To Service

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Okay, I've been pushing the Administration Summer of Service/United We Serve thing, particularly AllForGood.org, which is pretty much the "craigslist for service."

Like most humans, I'd like to save the world, but I figure I need a nap.

So, I figured it'd be much easier to talk you into doing it, by talking up the efforts of people who are really effective at helping others.

That is, I might as well find people are good at getting stuff done in areas that somehow matter to me, that might have large scale impact. That's a tough role for me; as a nerd, I prefer to actually do things, rather than just talk about them. However, everyone tells me that what they really need is for me to forgo the thing-doer role, and be a talker-abouter.

Specifically, they say they need a bunch of humans to bear witness for them, talking about what they do, and then talking more about them.

I do see that Americans have always wanted to give others a break, that is, to serve. Some do so full time, in the Armed Forces, Peace Corps, teachers, cops, firemen, social workers, and a lot of other "helping professions."

Most of us have conventional full-time jobs with a little extra time to help out, and a lot of us devote some of that time to volunteering, or would like to. If you're in the mood to volunteer, just need to find something nearby, we just got something new launched relating to United We Serve and serve.gov, it's AllForGood.org. That's pretty much the "craigslist for service" Obama and Colin Powell cited last year.

Please remember that many Americans struggle to get through the day, maybe working two or three jobs to put kids through school. Far as I'm concerned, that's public service.

I take all this seriously, figuring that if someone is going to help out our general community, our nation, our world, I should help in the ways I can do best. As a nerd, it feels surreal, but people tell me they need advice regarding tech and social media, but mostly, they need me to be a talker-abouter. That way I can be force-multiplier.

Just a few examples:

-- working with the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America, iava.org, these are the folks who helped get the new GI Bill passed, and much better treatment of veterans, including getting back pay and better funding for the Veterans Administration.

-- Sunlight Foundation is the leader of the movement for getting real accountability and transparency for government all across the US. The deal is that they get online the information which shows how government really operates.

-- Consumers Union, best known for Consumer Reports, but is also very much in the vanguard pushing for realistic health care reform. I tell 'em that refrigerator reviews are really good for people, but if you want to ease the suffering of millions, health care reform is where it's at.

I've joined the board of all three; what they mostly want and get from me: help with tech and social media, and then getting the word out on what they do, and then getting the word out more.

I'll be asking a lot more of you, but for now, check out:
allforgood.org
iava.org
sunlightfoundation.com
consumersunion.org

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