April 23, 2006

Mousetrap - 50

We, the undersigned
PetitionOnline, The Petition Site, iPetitions, Petition Spot, Go Petition, Petition Them
Want changes in public life? Or to raise awareness for a worthy cause and influence opinion? Unhappy about government policy, and it’s too far to the next election? Historically, if you knew (or hoped) that enough people shared your views to make a difference, you would draw up a petition and wear out shoe-leather persuading fellow citizens to sign it. Sites like this one take the process online, not only eliminating the legwork but also widening your base: the WWWorld is your oyster. Most of these sites offer tips on writing petitions, extra tools for activists, and a paid membership option. Some require petitions to be vetted.

Who you are
Interactive Johari Window
Invented in the 50s to map awareness of personality traits, the Johari window asks you to pick the adjectives you think describe you from a fixed list. You then ask friends or colleagues to do likewise (no peeking at your list). Result: a grid that shows you the differences and similarities between your perceptions of yourself and how others think of you, which can be... startlingly. This page webifies the process, letting you point-and-click off a grid, and save your results online. You get a unique URL which you can mail to pals, and after a while (they’ll be so relieved it isn’t you usual dumbass jokes), hey presto, you get your own Johari window.

Who you are (the dark side)
The Nohari Window
Like the previous item, this is a personality awareness mapping tool. But it lists the antonyms of the words from the Johari window. In other words, your failings. Use the same methods – make your choices, get your pals to fill in theirs, compare the results – but you get a list of the negatives instead of the nice-nice stuff. Not recommended if your ego is easily bruised. But, hey, be fair, it gives your pals a chance to get back at you for making them fill out your Johari window.

This Week’s Blog

The world in your window
Global Voices
There’s one thing the Indian blogosphere (or Blogger Pradesh, as I like to call it) has in common with the USA’s: for all its vibrancy, it can be irritatingly insular. For me, Global Voices brings back the reason why I got hooked on blogs in the first place – the views and counterviews across borders, the very personal windows into other worlds. It is “a non-profit global citizens’ media project, sponsored by and launched from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School.” It operates through regional editors and bloggers across the globe who pick and link to the best posts in their areas. Sorted by country (160+ covered) and with over 50 subject tags, there’s loads to read every day, insights, views, reports, issues that you may have never heard otherwise. GV is also expanding the conversation with podcasts and video, and supporting other citizens’ media projects.

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to http://o3.indiatimes.com/mousetrap for past columns, and to comment, or mail inthemousetrap@indiatimes.com. The writer blogs at http://zigzackly.blogspot.com.

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 23rd April, 2006.

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