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An event series sponsored by Lunch.com with promotional support from SF New Tech and Social Media Club

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Is engaging online a gateway drug for civic engagement?

  • Sep 25, 2009
  • by
Encouraging respectful and engaging online conversations

Yesterday I attended Lunch for Good an event that explored the idea of responsible online engagement and participation. The group was inspired to discuss how we can dramatically improve the online conversation and drive more people to contribute their well-thought out opinions.

I personally believe that online conversations dramatically improve when people are encouraged to use their real names and be authentic online. This helps the reader understand the context of the opinion and brings deeper understanding for both people. There are obvious personal safety exceptions, but a general move toward accountability and away from anonymity causes online communities to flourish.

David Cohn, director for Spot.us, led his small group's discussion and reported on their opinions in the video. Spot.us is a community funded reporting project where the public can commission journalists to do investigations on important and perhaps overlooked stories.

Highlights from the video:
1. People feel empowered when they contribute
2. Easy to find like-minded people online, but also need to find opposing points of view
3. Online engagement is the gateway drug to civic engagement

How do you think we can drive more thoughtful and respectful conversations both online and offline?

What did you think of this review?

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September 26, 2009
This concept of getting involved online as being the gateway drug toward being involved offline was awesome. it's so easy today become part of something larger than anything that just one person can do on their own and it is incredibly empowering. The more we can people to engage and feel that empowerment, the better we will all be. Nice write up Travis... and great user name too! i follow the real name approach as well.
September 25, 2009
Great summary of this meeting. Really wish I could have been there. Lunch has enormous potential in this regard. I look forward to the addition of lots more people to this site. I definitely agree that using real names greatly increases the chances that the discussions will remain civil.
More Lunch for Good reviews
review by . October 26, 2009
Organizational Psychologist (aka: Human Connector Conduit)  in the room. It was, after all, a media driven lunch. But much to my surprise, I was very pleased to find out that it wasn't that at all. (I love being surprised)  At first, I thought it would be a whole bunch of people I didn't know (which was true except Cathy Brooks, whom invited me there- thank you Cathy!) talking about things I didn't know, but then after sitting at the table and hearing six passionate people, …
review by . September 25, 2009
Lunch For Good #3 - "Finding Common Ground"      Remember the show The A-Team?  If you fast forward to the end of every episode when Mr. T and the rest of the crew either solved the crime or rescued the damsel in distress, lead character John "Hannibal" Smith always closed the show with his famous quote, "I love it when a plan comes together".   And to be honest, that's how I felt as we wrapped up another amazing Lunch For Good event …
review by . September 28, 2009
*I'd still strongly suggest a Lunch for Good alumni group on Linked In. We can delve more into each other's backgrounds there (without grilling people) and come up with other points of connection. There might be an easy link back to this community site, but I think an LI group would enhance this group's growth.      An excellent way to meet with people from non-profit and for profit sectors and brainstorm how one can increase the quantity of online participation and the …
Quick Tip by . October 28, 2009
Lunch For Good just keeps getting better and better!
Quick Tip by . October 23, 2009
Feeling inspired by some excellent Critical Thought and totally stoked for the November event. The best is yet to come with Lunch for Good!
Quick Tip by . October 23, 2009
FANTASTIC event! Very important discussion that has continued for me into my podcast and personal life. Worth every second of my time!
Quick Tip by . October 21, 2009
Inspiring conversation at the first event, and looking forward to being further challenged at the second.
Quick Tip by . October 06, 2009
I enjoyed Lunch for Good, met a number of interesting & tech-connected people, and look forward to the next one.
Quick Tip by . September 28, 2009
Key success factors there: people, topics and food! Live grokking underscores that there is no substitute for incarnate interaction.
Quick Tip by . September 28, 2009
really impressed with the awesome group that attended! can't wait for next month's event.
About the reviewer
Travis Murdock ()
Ranked #153
I love to review favorite restaurants and movies. I'm also a gadget geek and enjoy learning about new music. I work for the public relations firm Edelman.
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Lunch for Good is a three-part event series bringing together innovators and engaged citizens in the tech and Internet space to discuss the evolution of how people participate and interact online — and most importantly, how that progress can also coalesce to make the world a better place.

The goal is to connect our industry’s thought leaders for an ongoing, dynamic dialogue about how to improve online engagement so that it can have a positive social impact. Our themes will cover “Responsible Participation,” “Critical Thought,” and “Common Ground” respectively each month.

Over lunch, we’ll explore how we can foster better quality communities and contribution online, by focusing on a collaborated set of universal values. The outcome will cultivate a more positive, tolerant, and thoughtful culture in social media, working toward the greater good of our society as a whole.

Thursday, September 24 – Responsible Participation
Wednesday, October 22 – Critical Thought
Wednesday, November 18 – Common Ground

Lunch for Good is sponsored by Lunch.com with promotional support from SF New Tech and Social Media Club.

Check out the Lunch for Good blog!

Video Highlights from Lunch Fod Good #2 - October 22, 2009


Thoughts on Critical Thinking - Lunch for Good #2 from Lunch For Good on Vimeo.


Hiren Patel - Lunch For Good #2: Sparking Critical ...

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Location: San Francisco, CA
Date(s): September 24, 2009
Organization: Lunch.com, Social Media Club, SF New Tech
Venue: Orson

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