Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Supporting Project 3. StimNet

Project Overview
  • Internet based mentoring program linking computer learners in developing countries with computer learners in developing countries with computer experts globally
  • Provide, exchange, and generate new ideas
  • Empower visionary thinkers and social entrepreneurs
  • Foster communities that transcend geographic boundaries
  • Promote peace and learning by harnessing the good will of people around the globe

Philosophy: Through helping others we help ourselves. Humanity's knowledge is the most powerful tool and each individual possesses the ability create ideas of great value to others. Our goal is to re-establish a meritocracy of ideas through giving voice and opportunity to inspire to each individual who chooses to make StimNet part of their lifestyle.

In the same spirit as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner and democratically elected leader of Burma, who said "Please use your liberty to promote ours." we believe that sharing knowledge not only enriches each of us, but is also critical to addressing the growing needs of our global communities.

Main concepts:

  • Increasing amount & access to information is making more it more difficult for people to find, identify, sort through information.
  • Rise in social networking/users
  • Moving toward one global economy-increasingly interdependent economies.
    Yet we aren't connecting in meaningful ways to one another and are failing to bridge cultural, economic and social differences. Without bridges to/for "understanding" these online communities aren't achieving any measurable results in isolation geographic, cultural, generational gaps.
  • Rise in online capabilities have done little to address isolationism, xenophobia, and extremist behaviour (e.g. it's not being utilized "for good". (study?) (Wired magazine, reference to US govt utilizing web to show connection/understanding of jihadists).

Back to the basics

Made popular by the sites like mySpace, Facebook, Orkut, LinkedIn, (etc.....) the concept of social networking has gained social, economic, and political currency (and legitimacy) in recent years. Yet, the concept of social networks was introduced in the early 1950s by sociologist J. A. Barnes who coined the term "social networks" to describe the personal connections that span traditional professional, family, ethnic, or socioeconomic groupings. Moeover, while social networks have achieved a new social, political, and economic status in recent years, the concept is the same: seeking advice and sharing thoughts/ideas with "friends".

The exponential growth of social networking sites demonstrates the overwhelming desire for people to make connections. With the number of users increasing by ____/day (Wikipedia), statistics attest to the "phenomenon" of people connecting to, drawing strength from, each other. (Josh Bernoff, co-author, The Groundswell effect,)

However, as the popularity of social networking quickly wanes and the number of active users (vs total users) reflects, people are not completely satisfied by their experience. Furthermore, as more companies try to leverage the power of the websites, they still find that Word of mouth is cited as the number-one influence on business purchase decisions. More importantly, the vast majority of these word-of-mouth interactions are happening offline. (Istudy2 of U.S. and U.K. executives conducted by the Keller Fay Group)

According to one industry analyst, perhaps a more critical line of questioning is how to become a meaningful part of the existing relationships of trust and advice-seeking through which target individuals examine ideas, evaluate existing offerings, and make decisions.

Moving in a direction of one economy
We live in a world that is increasingly interdependent.

Broad-based appeal

Ideally, we would like to think that the virtue of doing good by helping people (which in turn makes people feel good) would be enough to draw people back to the site. However, given a growing number of options and a finite number of hours in each day, hedonism alone is not enough.

What will draw people back to StimNet will be a combination of factors, depending largely on the interest of our various groups of users. (**need to outline the profile of our users*).

  • the depth and range of valuable information available
  • the opportunity to be part of a community that is having an impact the chance to be mentored
  • evolving statistics/data: what are issues needing answers? Where are they coming from? Where are the answers coming from?

    the draw to a site where you can be measured by the quality of your ideas
Point of Contact: Tim Hillman - tim@timhillman.com

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