For New Media & Social Change
Meetup.org represents true innovation in new media with a very basic social agenda — to bring people together around their common interests. There is a geographical component to these interactions, setting them distinctly apart from more typical "social software" interactions like those that take place in bulletin boards, blogs, chat rooms, and wikis. The staggering volume of activity on this site attests to its impact on people's lives.
Adbusters is the very hip production of a "new social activist movement" with no lesser aim than to "topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we will live in the 21st century." The Adbusters site is a hard-hitting gallery of counter-media encouraging a shift in the public consciousness about who holds power in the society and who should hold power.
TheyRule.net is developer Josh On's wonky but ingenious Flash-based tool for discovering and examining — and to some degree imagining — interrelationships among the people he and others call America's "ruling class." The tool allows users to browse publicly available data about the boards of top U.S. companies, institutions, and government agencies, and literally draw connections between and among the individuals who sit on those boards. How many oil tycoons sit on advisory committees for the Department of Energy? What university corporations share board members with tech firms or publishing houses? TheyRule.net is a nice visual tool to explore the possiblities and begin to make mental maps of the rich and powerful.