Internet is often called the most democratic medium. Al Gore stated in his book The Assault on Reason more or less that it is our only hope for democracy. I’m not sure whether he’s overreacting or not, but I do know that the Internet has the potential to mobilize like-minded people to support a certain cause. Just look at the attacks on the Church of Scientology last week. A small group of activists managed to get a large cult into trouble. But can we also use the Internet to get some people together and start helping those who are starving and fighting for their lives, as we speak? The people from Goodcircle.org certainly think so.
This service offers people the possible to connect in a ‘circle’ and fight for a common cause by using ‘the power of commerce’. This may sound rather abstract, yet it’s easy to explain. People in circles can sell goods on eBay or start their own store, the benefits go to the causes in which they believe. Goodcircle helps them to get attention, by showing random circles in the sidebar. It not only looks pretty, but it also makes the service interesting to visit.
The site is still in beta, but already some circles have earned money. ‘Ride for the Son‘ for example, a circle created by the Christian Motorcylists Association, has already collected 200 dollars for causes like ‘focus on the family’ and ‘promise keepers’. The ‘Support Hungry Families‘ circle managed to collect 10 dollars, but hey, it’s a start.
The team behind Goodcircle is based in New York City. It was pretty hard to find info about them on the site, so I’ve emailed them. Turns out that Goodcircle was created by Charlie Carlson and friends, who ‘wanted to take all they had learned about technology, commerce and philanthropy, and create a new kind of community, and a new kind of marketplace, that brings together and empowers individuals, groups and organizations, for the mutual benefit of all of us’.
Carlson: “To us, there’s this wonderful, new, revolutionary spirit out there. People aren’t just speaking out, they want to take control and support what they believe in their own way, everyday, in their own voice. That’s Goodcircle.” Let’s hope that the spirit Carlson describes will actually pay off and became a major force in the charity field.