Thursday, February 21, 2008

NetSquared Mashup Challenge: How Do You Combine Data for Social Change?

As some of you know, part of my work is being the Community Builder for NetSquared, a project of Tech Soup that facilitates the adoption of social web tools by nonprofits and NGOs.

We're hosting a contest called the NetSquared Mashup Challenge that I wanted to let you know about, and am hoping that you'll pass on to social changemakers and web innovators in your community. You don't need to have tech expertise to submit a project to the Challenge, just an idea for a change you want to make that could be facilitated by a mashup.

Wikipedia defines a mashup as, "a web application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool." So, for example, brings together campaign contribution data and legislators' voting records to raise awareness about the connection between money and politics.

Another example is ilovemountains' new mashup for their "What's My Connection?" campaign. The What's My Connection tool combines 6 types of data so that when you punch in your zip code , you can see how you are paying for mountaintop removal. When I enter my zip code, I can see that my electricity provider, Pacific Gas Electric Co, buys coal from companies engaged in mountaintop removal, and the connection is represented visually on Google Maps and Google Earth.

If you have an idea for a way to combine data that could raise awareness around an issue, submit it to the NetSquared Mashup Challenge by March 14, 2008 5 PM PST for a chance to win cash prizes.

The top 20 mashups will be selected by the NetSquared community and the winners will be invited to attend this year’s NetSquared Conference (N2Y3) in San Jose, CA May 27-28, 2008. Each of the top 20 mashups will get an allowance for travel (including airfare to and from the Conference, along with a hotel room for two nights).

At the Conference, project teams will have an opportunity to display and discuss their mashups, and attendees will vote to select the top three. All twenty projects at the Conference will receive a share of $100,000 in prize money. The share will be determined by voting at the Conference.

You may know the winner of the Challenge, but without your help they'll never know to enter the contest!

Here are a few tools to help you spread the word on your blog, community list servs, or just by emailing your friends.

NetSquared badges to put on your blog, web site or email signature.
• A YouTube video about the Challenge.
• An informational postcard to pass out at local events.

If you want the latest news about the NetSquared Mashup Challenge, subscribe to the NetSquared Newsletter (sign up on the home page), NetSquared Blog and NetSquared Twitter feed, and join the NetSquared Facebook group.

Thanks for helping to spread the word, and add a comment to this post if you enter!


  1. Anonymous8:37 PM

    Very cool! I love when research and data helps to generate creative thinking, and I was unaware about these current mash-ups. I especially like the local ones.

    Thanks for the tip!

  2. Hi Social Butterfly,

    Please spread the word to folks who you think might want to join the Challenge.



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