­­My-Issue-Communities-Map.JPGNovember 25, 2008, New York - We received a positive response to our grant application to the Knight Foundation as follows:

“We have completed our review of your application to the Knight News Challenge for Issue-Communities. Congratulations! You have been selected to complete a full proposal.”

Over 2,000 submissions were sent to Knight for part of their hefty News Challenge Grant fund. Of those, 275 remain in contention. In previous years Knight issued about 10 grants, so our chances remain slim, particularly as many of the other submissions are quite good.

We’ve created  a wiki page describing the Issue-Communities concept. If you have any thoughts, send them our way. Knight will not be making a decision on this until the summer, giving others the chance to develop the Issue-Communities independently - with our best wishes - or to join us in making it happen.

Regrettably, there won’t be a public comment opportunity at the Knight website for the second round applications where we had hoped for additional comments on the concept. But our enhanced application (better organized, more details, and with answers to several additional questions) is available on our wiki - see our Issue-Communities page. Let us know what you think.

(Revised December 20, 2008.) (Commons photo courtesy of Geoffrey Rockwell.)  

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

­­money.jpg November 7, 2008, New York - The Columbia University Institute for Tele-Information sponsored a Play Theory Play Money seminar that attracted the city’s leading electronic game theorists and developers. The seminar’s goal was to explore ways the growing game industry might be attracted to, and cultivated, here in New York City.

I’ve been a proponent of using games to engage the public in the governance process since 2002 when Queens Community Board 3 opened its website to an apathetic public. The dark realization of how dull and tedious 99% of the public found local governance issues led me first to SecondLife’s virtual world and then other explorations of ways to make “governance as engaging as baseball” as I like to say.

At Play Money I presented 3 game related thoughts for the participants to ponder. First, I sought interest in developing a game that would use an environmental sustainability metaphor for selecting New York City’s important domain names. Dubbed Civic Hero, the premise is that certain civic domain names are vital to the city’s future, with some easily identified – gov.nyc, soho.nyc, mayor.nyc, schools.nyc – and others are more difficult, e.g., community events, monuments. Civic Hero imagines a game that makes uncovering these civic domain names into a contest. Two games were suggested for inspiration and example: MajorMinor which Michael Mandel designed to categorize songs, and Google Image Labeler which Luis von Ahn designed to label images.

I also proffered that virtual.nyc, a map of the city as accessible as SecondLife, but linked into real life sensors – video cameras, cell phones, RFIDs (where’s Orwell?) - is being discussed, and that such a virtual city will provide the foundation for games that cross pollinate the real and the virtual worlds. And I challenged participants to think of games that might be developed using virtual.nyc as their foundation.

Finally, I suggested that the  games.nyc domain name might provide a rallying point and  organizing force for the city’s games community and directed participants to a wiki page has been created to follow up on these possibilities.

Tom Lowenhaupt­

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed November 12th, 2008 under games, social network, Civics

­community-board.JPGSeptember 27, 2008, New York - In June, as part of our Civics Project, we reached out to city employees requesting that they suggest domain names that might be set aside to help city government better perform its multitude of tasks.

This fall we are setting aside an important layer of names to aide the city’s vital civic sector. Variously identified as community, civic, block, resident, neighborhood, youth, and senior associations, groups, or organizations, they connect residents with one another to address local needs, and they connect to government when necessary.

Over the past weeks we’ve communicated with the city’s 59 community boards and the borough presidents asking for their help identifying this civic sector and the names of neighborhoods, parks, monuments, principle streets, squares, historic sites or other geographic areas, parades, and events with the intention of setting aside matching .nyc domain names. Our Civic Names page links to these civic resources by community district.

Many of the civic sector organizations already have domain names, some of them good ones - i.e, short, descriptive, and memorable, and we do not expect them to switch to .nyc names. What we want to accomplish most immediately is to set aside appropriate domain names so that, should a civic organization or resource need a reflective .nyc name,  it will be available to them. 

Beyond these name set-asides, our Civics Project seeks to help those without an existing web presence establish  appropriate spaces within the .nyc Top Level Domain. In 2009 we will facilitate mentoring and other relationships to assist the civic sector in these areas. Updated October 5, 2008. (Commons photo courtesy of Jebb.)

Learn about and contribute to The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed September 27th, 2008 under social network, Domain Names, Civics, Education, City Agency

­social-network-graph.jpgAugust 8, 2008, New York - I attended a conference on social networks here in New York City yesterday. Social networks are the latest “can’t miss” technology flooding the Internet world with services such as Facebook, Flicker, MySpace, and Twitter the recent headliners. There are more than a hundred of these companies seeking ways to connect like-mined people. According to Wikipedia:

A social network service focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others.

So where does this fit with our mission? Here’s a summary of my presentation during a conference session entitled City-TLDs: Ripe for Social Networking? (Note: The meeting was held at the offices of Sun Microsystems, the “we power the internet” people. No Internet access was available ( ! ) so I had to ditch my planned presentation and wing it.)

By way of background I explained that city-TLDs will arrive in 2010 with their focus on the local. In our case, New York City has 1/10th of 1% of the world’s population living on 400 square miles of the good old earth. And while additional domain names, identity (”made in New York”), and the tourist portals are the obvious features the TLD will offer, the real advantages we hope to achieve will arrive with improved local communication. I backgounded on Connecting.nyc Inc.’s origin at a community board, revealed the sorry state of civic communication, and concluded my intro with, “What would fill the existing local communications gap is what people at this conference call social networks.”

I provided one simple example of a “social network” we here at Connecting.nyc Inc. (CnI) have been considering, the Voter Project. It begins by setting aside domain names for registered voters, e.g., using a name-set such as www.your-name.voter.nyc, and providing residents who choose to participate with tools to better locate one another so as to address opportunities and problems before the community.

At the conclusion I challenged participants to uncover the networking opportunities city-TLD’s will make available using neighborhood names (Astoria.nyc, Bensonhurst.nyc, SoHo.nyc) and issues (e.g., save-the-trees.nyc, help-us-reduce-traffic.nyc) as examples.

As my goal was to get people thinking about city-TLDs as mashable parts for creating social networks, I’d judge by the participants questions and enthusiasm that my presentation should be chalked up as a success. If you’re one of those who sat in on the session, do you agree? (Commons photo courtesy of greenem.)

See more on our social network efforts here.   Learn more about The Campaign on our wiki pages.

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