I never imagined I’d be calling myself an Evangelist. To me, evangelists were people like Aimee McPherson or Jean Simmons in Elmer Gantry. Long white flowing robes and lots of drama were prerequisites. That was before I learned the 21st Century new media definition of Evangelism.
The first time I heard the phrase was at a tech conference. Nobody looked askance when several of the speakers were introduced with that moniker. When I got home, I googled the term and read the Wikipedia entry. It wasn’t under religion. It was classified as other. “A person who enthusiastically promotes or supports something (e.g. technology evangelist).”
When I attended the Personal Democracy Forum conference several months later to write an article on how women’s issues and concerns could be advanced by the vast array of new technologies, I met numerous people who were creating a new dialogue. One of them was Bobby Fishkin, CEO of Reframe It, Inc. We spoke about how I saw new media as the venue for women to get their ideas out, and as a way to organize, exchange information, and impact the discussion at a grassroots level.
Bobby told me about his new application that he envisioned as a “transparency engine for the Internet.” It allowed users to directly comment on the content of any web page, without the permission of the site. The premise of facilitating an open public discussion about issues, as well as the opportunity to speak back to “misinformation,” struck me as a shot in the arm to those whose voices are not adequately heard or recognized.
I loved that Esther Dyson, new media guru, was on the board of advisors – and had offered the quote, “Your responsibility does not end with complaining. Suggest something better!”
Reframe It has already tapped into the environmental, political, and educational communities. Bobby has graciously offered to give Fem2.0 their own branded group on the Reframe It website. This allows Fem2.0 users to have all their comments identified by the Fem2.0 logo and accompanied by the website link — which will help drive traffic back to the Fem2.0 site.
Now when there is an article, editorial, or group espousing an opinion or disinformation that makes you seethe… you will have a chance to address it.
To get started, download the free Firefox or Internet Explorer Reframe It browser at http://www.reframeit.com. The extension allows you to highlight any content (words, sentences, paragraphs, or images), to which you can respond with a comment. There is a tutorial on the site. You can set up your account so that your comments appear on Twitter and Facebook through an RSS feed. Connect with other Fem2.0 users, so that you can see what they are writing about. The group link is:
In the words of the Reframe It team, “It’s Your Web. Speak up. Give it context.”
See you there!