A Craigslist for activists

You sold some tires on Craigslist. You bought a guitar.

Now, the Craigslist Foundation wants you to use a similar system to tell the world how your neighborhood fought graffiti or to find out how somebody in Portland started a community garden.

The foundation this week launched LikeMinded, an online project aimed at sharing community success stories. It’s still in beta, but the folks who created it are eager to have you load both projects you’ve worked on and resources you think might help others.

For example, I loaded three of our Ground Level topic pages, so if you search the site’s resources for “Minnesota” you’ll get our guides to local food, cities in crisis and broadband access.

Conversely, when I typed in “graffiti” up popped, among other entries, a short description of how a group of volunteers is trying to tackle graffiti in their West Seattle neighborhood.

“It’s for people who care about their local community and like to use online services with an eye to being active,” said Arthur Coddington, director of online programs for the foundation. Whereas Craigslist connects people to make a transaction, LikeMinded wants to connect people to trade information.

It’s geared directly at local action, and ultimately Coddington says he’ll measure success largely by how many organizations are using it as a platform, pulling a LikeMinded feed of projects and resources onto their own sites. So, for example, a local-food organization could pull onto its site all food-related LikeMinded projects and resources from around the country.

The site isn’t trying to be a social network for those folks. Facebook already exists, Coddington points out. There are some “lightweight” means of connecting with somebody whose idea you like, but the site is less about networking than it is about spurring people to action with a good idea.

It’s also not like Jumo, for example, which tries to connect people with organizations they might like to contribute to or know more about.

The foundation initially met with a variety of activists, non-profits, local government officials and others to plan the site, but Coddington likes to think of it from the point of view of a “beginner,” somebody who has nothing more than a concern and a yen to do something.

The site’s creators are eager for ideas on how it can be made more useful, so jump in. They do curate what comes in, making sure the resources and projects that people suggest are about actions more than organizations. And users can flag things they think are veering toward spam.

Craig Newmark blogs about LikeMinded here. The Knight Foundation, which is supporting the effort blogs here.

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