Social networking has brought the power of the rapid response network to the masses. Once the tool of political and business operatives looking for a leg up in the PR wars, the power of rapid response is now available to everyone from activists wanting to rally the troops with an email action alert, to teenagers looking to humiliate an ex-boy or girlfriend with a barrage of MySpace bulletins. Mass rapid response is messy... it's also incredibly democratic.
Tech start-up Collactive has thrown its hat into the rough-and-tumble world of social networking applications, and one of its first offerings, the Worldcoolers desktop, is designed to give people concerned about the climate crisis the means to connect with one another, organize their efforts, and reach out to the larger community. According to the software's website,
WorldCoolers is an online grassroots initiative whose goal is to raise public awareness to climate change. We are working to spread the word, spark fruitful discussions and bring this critical issue to the attention of policymakers and the media. We are looking to bring the work of existing on-going campaigns to online communities and the general public.The product is still in beta, so the flow of information is light as this point. Still, the concept is intriguing: the application works much like Gmail's notifier program, and opens a small window on the lower right of a user's screen when another user sends out a news or action item. Users can read the blurb about the notification, and choose whether to click through to more information, or disregard the message. Currently, users will receive news about the Stern report, a pointer to Grist's "How to Talk to a Climate Change Skeptic" series, and an action alert about Canada's "effective abandonment" of the Kyoto Protocol. The website also contains a small body of useful information, including a map showing the amounts of carbon emissions generated around the world. Take a guess where the biggest red circle is located...
WorldCoolers believes that by tapping in to the power of the Internet we can make a difference both on the personal level and on the global one.
Will it work? No way to tell at this point -- many groups, organizations and businesses are working to organize concerned citizens around these important issues. We're glad that Collactive has joined these groups, though, as we could sure use a "killer app" to leverage the growing desire for a change of course on global warming. ::WorldCoolers.org