7 tips on how to use the Internet to Change The World…or just your own country

I’m a big fan of Craig NewMark, the guy who created the game changing classifieds site, craigslist. He started it as an informal group email sent by Newmark in 1995 which grew into what is now an internet standard, a template that is used for more than 700 local sites in over 70 countries, with over 20 billion – yes, billion – pageviews per month. So I think he knows what he’s talking about when he gives 7 tips on how to use the Internet to change the world, your country, your neighbourhood…

“Craig Newmark is out to save the world using the Internet. The Craigslist founder believes social networks can help people work together and create change, whether it is tea parties organizing rallies or the Obama campaign recruiting voters.

And while he might not be the right guy for the job – “I’m not smart enough and I’m surely too lazy,” he told Congress.org – he plans to “talk everyone else into saving the world.” Online tools like Facebook and Twitter are the key arsenal in his strategy.

The self-professed nerd doesn’t consider himself an activist, but he does feel a responsibility to the millions of Craigslist users for whom he provides customer service.

“Customer service, if you do it in good conscience, is public service,” he said, adding, “Once you make enough money… it’s more fun to change things.”

So how does an activist use the Internet well?

Newmark offers seven tips:

1. Power comes in numbers. Social networks help advocacy groups because they shift power from elites to the grassroots. They allow activists to expand their base and recruit members, too.

“The key is getting together in social networks, just like the Obama campaign did, just like tea party people do,” Newmark said. “I want people to use these social networking technologies to scale together in the millions to get stuff done.”

2. Be useful to others. As more people use the Internet to communicate, the people who will have the most power will be those who build trust online. The way to do that, Newmark explained, is by writing and sharing information effectively.

“In 20 years, I’d like to see only all of humanity working together in social networks for common good,” he said. “There will be conflict… [but] I’d rather see people fighting with words than guns.”

Newmark does his part by sharing the good works of others on this Twitter feed and blog. His fans, in turn, are more likely to trust that service because he vouched for it. More