Category Archives: community

Floods, community spirit and Australia #qldfloods

Along with most other Australians I have been moved and disturbed by the unfolding flood disaster in northern Australia. The floods are said to cover an area of Australia the size of France and Germany combined. Typical of Australia we also have bushfires in the western part of the country.

Over the past few days as the scale of the tragedy has become apparent I have observed people reaching out to help. Social media has again stepped into the breach in an emergency situation, providing fast breaking news (with occasional misinformation, usually corrected speedily), coordination of assistance, uncovering of scams or shaming bad behaviour, and sharing of needs.

Jason Langenauer’s tweet this morning summed it up for me and made me glad to be a part of this country that pulls together in a crisis and helps out those who are in need:

“The values exposed by this flood – mateship, care for people, altruism – are the complete opposite of the usual values of capitalism.”
Source: Twitter, Jason Langenauer Tweet 12 Jan 2011

There has been an outpouring of support for the flood victims with donations at $32million as of this morning. More information on the QLD government site.

Again Twitter has proved itself to be a great resource in a disaster situation. It has enabled people to easily pool resources and to share information where the traditional media is just to slow or not capable. Some great examples of this include:

Many people tweeted about the Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal ensuring scam sites were not used – official Qld government site #thebigwet #qldfloods Donate to the official flood relief appeal here.

Retailers perceived as seeking to cash in on the #qldfloods were speedily smacked down on Twitter – like this one.

Individuals made offers of help via Twitter like:

” If there are pets in need of housing let us know! We have 5acres #qldfloods #thebigwet #bnefloods #RT”

“Now that we’re safe, this is a 6 bedroom house. There’s beds for 3 and floor space for twenty. Peeps in need – ping me. #qldfloods”

“have space for pets from evacuations if needed. On a hill in brisbane. Please rt. #qldfloods”

“Anyone in New Farm area needing some storage space – our place isn’t in the flood zone. Have LUG and a spare room #qldfloods #bnefloods”

It has been heartening to see that only one politician so far has tried to use this disaster as a political sledge hammer. While, in my opinion, the performance of Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and the Mayors of the affected areas has been excellent under extremely difficult circumstances. One of my favourite comments came from the Ipswich Mayor: “If I find anybody looting in our city they will be used as flood markers” (via @1233newcastle).

Kudos to the organisations who have already made donations of greater than $10,000.

Some resources and ways to help:

Donate to the Queensland Government flood relief appeal

Donations can also be made in person at any branch of the Bank of Queensland, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ, NAB or Suncorp.

Donate to RSPCA Queensland to help animals

Can you offer emergency animal foster care in Brisbane area?

Lifeline phone: 13 11 14

Alerts and updates

Live flood updates
Queensland Police Service
@QPSmedia (Queensland Police)
@consultqld (Queensland Government)

Innovation Bay seeking Startups for Angel Pitches

On Tuesday 21 September 2010 those smart folks over at Innovation Bay will be running another one of their angel dinners.

With these dinners Innovation Bay acts as a broker between “angels” (those with money to invest or advice to give) and “entrepreneurs” those with ideas and talent but not enough money or business advice.

Previously a number of Australian businesses have pitched and it has been reported that about $7m of funding has been raised as a result. This is great news for startups in Australia.

If you have a business and are looking for funding Innovation Bay is interested in hearing from you.

HOW TO APPLY

You need to submit a 90 second video to info@innovationbay.com telling us about the business and why we should select you. Please see some of the posts below for advice and guidelines as to how best to do this.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS 5PM ON TUESDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 2010

More infomation is available on http://www.innovationbay.com/

Social Innovation Sydney

Sydney’s inaugural Social Innovation BarCamp #sibsyd

Sydney’s inaugural Social Innovation BarCamp went well yesterday.

The day kicked off with an opening talk by the Hon. Bob Carr, who kindly gave his time to support this event.

Throughout the day we had some amazing networking and discussion sessions focused on creating sustainable futures and directing innovation towards social good.

We also had a lovely lunch sponsored by Cisco and coffee sponsored by AskHer.

I’m very grateful to everyone who helped out to make this event work, in particular my co-un-organisers  Selena Griffith and Michelle Williams.

There are already some amazing photos up in the Social Innovation BarCamp group on Flickr:

Being real

As a child I read a story where the main character wanted to be a ‘real boy’ and not just a wooden puppet.

And this choice between being a real person – who connects with other people and things in an open and organic way – and being a puppet – driven by fear and striving and struggle – seems to be facing us all today.

Social media is merely speeding up the process.  It is helping the real people find each other and create sustaining communities.  And it is helping the others to find like-minded desperate souls.

We are at a crossroad in the future of our world.  Which group have you chosen to join?

Sydney Knowledge Cafe with Katie Chatfield

At the recent Sydney Knowledge Cafe I managed to catch up with a few buddies & ask them why they were there. Here’s Katie Chatfield explaining why she attended.

The video was taken with the new Flip Mino HD (an extremely nifty gadget).

The format of this event was created by David Gurteen & there is more information here.

some real people for #followfriday

The idea of #followfriday is a nice one – share the names of people worth following on Twitter. However, it’s turned into a bit of a spam fest on Twitter.

I thought it would be nice to share about some of the real life people I follow and a bit about them:

@ceibner – she’s one of my geek heroines, who knows stuff & is fun as well

@fridley – slightly snarky but well informed (especially re Japan) & a nice guy

@frombecca – is the queen of foodie-ness and is teaching me about being a locavore

@franksting – his tweets are of no morally redeeming value but he makes me laugh (& he tweets a lot about football)

@rbuerckner – if you want to get to know the twitter crowd in Canberra start here, this kind hearted tweep knows them all

Blog action day 2009 is coming soon

Goodness me, how quickly time passes. It is Blog Action Day on 15 October 2009.

This year it is about Climate Change.

Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day on their own blogs with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be the largest-ever social change event on the web. One day. One issue. Thousands of voices.

Kind supporters of Cupcake Camp Sydney

A number of organisations have stepped up to offer prizes for Cupcake Camp Sydney. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank them for their generosity, and also to show the prizes that our cupcake makers could win.


The Plantronics has provided one of their Discovery 925 Bluetooth earpiece.

It is a nifty designer headset for both men and women.

“Delivering exceptional audio performance, complemented by bold lines and distinctive finishes, the Plantronics Discovery 925 Bluetooth earpiece embodies technical craftsmanship previously unseen in the mobile accessories category.”


Plantronics has also provided on of their GameCom 367 Closed-Ear Gaming Headsets.

This headset “delivers an immersive audio experience with

50mm stereo speakers and earpods that redistribute pressure for maximum comfort.

The headset features a noise-canceling mic boom which allows you to

Adjust audio levels using in-line volume

and mic-mute controls.”


Altec Lansing have provided one of their Muzx 126 SnugFit noise-isolating earphones.

These are iPhone, MP3 and iPod compatible.

“Sound quality is excellent thanks to the use of wood and other materials to help sound resonate and gold plated plug for superior sound transfer.

The earphones also feature fashion detailing.”


Everyone who makes or buys and brings cupcakes to share is in the running to win one of these prizes. Again, a big thank-you to the donors.

Why cupcakes, why animals?

CupCakeCamp SydneyMy current obsession with cupcakes and supporting the RSPCA results from two things that came together recently.

Last year I was intrigued to hear about the various cupcake camps that were being held around the world. It seemed like a nice thing to do – getting people together for a social occasion and trying to build a bit of community spirit.

I miss the kind of community gathering we used to have when I was a child. People would prepare food at home, with each family bringing a plate of food & everyone would share. We  would all gather, usually in the church hall or grounds – the adults talking & sharing news or stories, while the kids ran around burning off energy.

Also, I really like animals and supporting organisations that help animals. Then, when the RSPCA’s cupcake based campaign came out, it seemed like an opportunity to combine (a) support for a charity that helps animals in need with (b) a real life community building event.

Thus Cupcake Camp Sydney seemed like a very good idea indeed.

What’s not to like? Cupcakes, socialising, and helping animals – it is full of win on many levels.

I really hope people will come along to participate in Cupcake Camp Sydney on Friday 28 August at the offices of CBS Interactive.  We need cupcake makers as well as cupcake consumers – all are welcome.

You can register for free here.