NetSquared, year 2 begins

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As I write this, Irene Weiser from Stop Family Violence is on stage at NetSquared, telling the story of how she discovered e-activism seven years ago, in a campaign that sent more than 164,000 messages to Congress and triggered the reauthorization of the Family Violence Act. Her story is electrifying... and hers is only one of 21 amazing projects that will present this morning.

They include:

Those projects are vying for a share of a large chunk of prize money that could make a substantial difference in their ability to press their stories forward. But it's already becoming clear that the prize probably means less than the opportunity to meet people with complementary capacities, ideas and assets – not to mention a certain number of funders and venture capitalists in the audience.

It's a pleasure to see those connections develop, and to play a small role in helping to make a few happen. But it's an even greater pleasure to hear all of these stories.

It's so very easy to get caught up in the technical minutiae of modules, configuration settings, clever design tweaks and nifty new features. But the important thing, as this morning is reminding me, is what the technology we work with can enable. And for me, the big prize is what our work allows non-profits and socially-minded businesses and governments to accomplish, in close collaboration with their supporters, clients and publics.

If you feel the same way, why not check out the 21 featured projects? And then have a look at the other 130 projects that entered the NetSquared 2007 process. Find one, two or several that resonate with you... and then get in touch, and ask how you can help. Whether it's with a financial donation, technological expertise or time, maybe you'll find an opportunity to make a difference, and tell a story of your own.

(Want to see it live? Check out Beth Kanter's video stream.)

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