A new website has added an arrow to the quiver of individuals who want to organize a cause, a campaign, a social event, even a music gig. Yesterday, Dan Gillmor drew his reader's attention to Pledgebank which is a way to "aggregate pledges into a critical mass that makes a difference." Says Gillmor, "It's brilliant, bottom-up and potentially a world-changing effort." The basic idea is that anyone who wants to do something about something, but is afraid to do it alone, posts a pledge that he or she will undertake the action if a specific number of people 'pledge' to join. Current pledges for Canada include this one . . . "Andrea Wiggins will donate $10 to Kyle & Rebecca's New Orleans archive reclamation project but only if 49 other people will too. (25 days left, 25 more signatures needed)."
Here are two successful pledges from Canada that hint at the reasons we should pay attention . . .
- "Disillusioned kid will blog about the situation in Uzbekistan, supporting call for sanctions on Uzbek cotton on September 1st but only if 20 other people will too. Target met, pledge over."
- Or this rather humble effort aimed at a technology giant . . . "Mike will slowly transition into linux or unix and stop giving microsoft all of my money but only if 10 other computer users will too. Target met, pledge still open for 4 days."
A short audio introduction to the concept by Tom Steinberg -- head of the organization MySociety which builds community-oriented web sites -- can be downloaded at Pledgebank.