Friday, September 03, 2010

10 sites for soulful web surfing

In his latest book Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age, Clay Shirky laments, "Digital media have made creating and disseminating text, sound, and images cheap, easy and global. The bulk of publicly available media is now created by people who understand little of the professional standards and practices for media.  Instead, these amateurs produce endless streams of mediocrity, eroding cultural norms about quality and acceptability, and leading to increasingly alarmed predictions of incipient chaos and intellectual collapse."

While the Internet does offer us nearly limitless potential for our cognitive surplus, or free time, here are ten sites that Shirky suggests are worth a diversionary visit:

  • Fans of pop singer Josh Groban raise money for underfunded charities
  • Admirers of DBSK used the Korean boy band's site to protest imports of American beef
  • Lenders who want to finance entrepreneurs across the globe to fight poverty
  • Citizens interested in promoting a green lifestyle, in addition to human rights concerns
  • African activists who track political violence in Kenya, Congo, and elsewhere
  • NGO activists and supporters looking to team up with like-minded neighbors
  • Residents offering a night's stay to complete strangers, including intrepid travelers
  • Philanthropy-minded individuals looking to help students in need
  • Commuters dedicated to the improvement of the carpooling system
  • A project of Action Without Borders that connects volunteers with organizations
To his list I would add:
  • the Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions is a nonprofit think tank and catalyst for action that works across sectors and diseases to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the medical research enterprise
  • committed to advancing human rights and alleviating unnecessary human suffering. Creating a world in which every man, woman, and child has the opportunity to enjoy good health and live in peace.

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