Using networks for good

May 4, 2007

One of the things I’m known to natter on about are the potentials for confluences of social science research, the internet, and do-gooder activists to impose more transparency on state and corporate dealings.

Boing-Boing has a neat article on the winner of the Sunlight Foundation’s mashup contest, a little something calledUnfluence. This gets me all excited because it’s a really simple principle that brings together all these things and makes use of existing information to present it in a easy to grasp format. It’s kinda of like a new They Rule but with campaign finance instead of corporate.

I’ve been saying for a while that it’s not (always) the information you don’t have access to that screws you, but also the stuff that’s dumped out there in such great volume most people can’t be bothered to look at it. Using social networking these two people have pulled together bits of information that most politicians would rather you don’t assemble since you can get an idea of not just the people in their influence networks but exactly how much financial influence they hold over a given politician.

Using technology for informational freedom allows for near-instant and widespread information dispersal and is one of our best weapons.

One Response to “Using networks for good”

  1. (-) Says:

    For a useful theorization of network thinking as a way to rebuild a political project, see also: Y. Rumpala, “Knowledge and praxis of networks as a political project”, Twenty-First Century Society, Volume 4, Issue 3, November 2009 (an older version is available at:

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