Ben Zolno on The UpTake at Netroots Nation 2011 #nn11

Netroots Nation is the home of the online progressive movement. It’s an intense four days of learning, networking, and being wooed by every union and politician around. I’m already on their side, so for me it’s kind of like a rep from Ben and Jerry’s begging me to try their new ice cream. Except the rep could be trying to sell me their new All-Natural Agave Swirl, only later to learn it’d be better described as Nuclear High Fructose Corn Syrup Sludge. They both taste good, so it’s best to look closely, or not look at all.

This is I trying to make sense after being on my feet for 10 hours on 3 hours of sleep, so you may notice me slipping in and out of consciousness. Excellent interview technique by Mike McIntee, who had been interviewing folks all day; I know how taxing that can be, so I am impressed by his focus and thought-provoking line of questioning.


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iStockphoto’s New Promo Offer

As you may know by now, iStock has a pretty decent selection for stock images; it’s really helpful when making a video you need to get out quickly.

Once you sort out the cheesiness and clear the coffee out of your throat from gasping at the hilarity of some of the images it recommends when you type in your search, you can snatch some great finds. Nature photography is plentiful.

This one’s good for 10 free credits, if you buy 26 credits more… iStock’s New Discount Offer

More on real-world stuff soon…

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FlashMobs Get Major Views for Environmental Films

PSOM was written as a “flash mob”, originally, but we didn’t have the resources. But if we did… would it have gotten 1,136,033 views in 20 days? Inspiring…

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Best Massage Therapist in Oakland? Krista Brown

Last night Krista K. Brown of KristaKBrown.net blew my mind — my traps, shoulders, and whatever that impossible-to-reach muscle is underneath my shoulder blades.

Krista was donating her time to Bay Localize‘s 5th Anniversary Fundraiser, offering chair massages and donating the proceeds toward relocalizing the Bay Area. With a bright smile and serious focus, Krista went beyond the routine and really dug down into the nasty knots I let build up over time… apparently a professional massage every two years is too long of a stretch.

If you’re in the Bay Area, I highly recommend checking out Krista for her work, dedication to the future, and all that lactic acid that’s been building up in your overly-stressed trapezius. She may very well be the best massage therapist in Oakland.

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Green Building Fights Fires – Roofwater Harvesting for Fish and People


A no-brainer yet revolutionary idea is sweeping California and other places interested in water security (every place).  This film highlights the pilot project designed by OAEC’s WATER Institute, Prunuske Chatham Inc., Gold Ridge RCD and other. Funding by Gold Ridge RCD, NOAA, the Coastal Conservancy, the 2009 stimulus package, other organizations and the volunteer time of Brock Dolman and many others…

What do you think?

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Change Through Story… the Seminar!

Something about “seminar” adds legitimacy, right? Or a sleazy time-sharey vibe?

This is the free seminar I gave to Marin Community Media Center (public access), in which I do my best to explain how one can effectively change society through media. I worked partially off of my own experience, but also through observation, research and my own made-up opinions.

I meant to go for 45 minutes, but with all the clips and conversation, it went double. Though it appears I know what I’m doing, it’s my first ever attempt at a PowerPoint presentation, and it actually turned out fairly well (in my made-up opinion)!

Comments appreciated. Also, if you’d like me to polish and present to your group, contact me and we’ll chat away.

Ben Zolno

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“Plastic State of Mind” Influencing Young Minds

This is our biggest accomplishment yet… bigger than NBC news piece, bigger than Daily Kos, Ask a Ninja, and being favorited by Story of Stuff.

Here’s a letter written from a teacher in the Bay Area to Jenni Perez, singer in the Plastic State of Mind video.  The piece was intended to open minds, especially young ones, as they can learn new tricks a lot more easily:

I just wanted to touch base with you and update you on our upcoming series of lessons on waste issues and science. A week or so ago, I was able to burn the video onto a DVD. Just today we were able to use our brand new projector and screen and project the video onto the classroom screen. We only need to find the right cord now to get good audio and we’re ready to go!

We are going to start off the whole unit of lessons with the kids’ viewing of your video. Then later, on the 3rd, “campaign” oriented lesson of the series, our students will get to see it again, and we’ll be reading over and discussing the lyrics as a language arts element. Our unit will run three weeks, over the first three weeks of February.

If you are still interested and available for a visit to Dover Elementary, let me pitch this idea to you:
I would like to challenge our classes with the proposition that the classroom that achieves the highest number of students adopting the stainless steel water bottles, and not losing them, and actually using them, will get a visit from you. You are the prize! We have nine 4th, 5th and 6th grade classrooms. All of them will be organizing, monitoring and tracking their own continued use of the steel bottles. We have 3 classes each day, only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Depending on how long you can visit with us, it might even be possible for one class from each grade to “win” a visit with the famous Jenni Perez! I think you will love the kids at this school.

So let me know what you think. Looking forward to working with you.

Best regards!

photo: My nephew Sam, who likes learning.

- Ben Zolno

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Plastic Saves the World

Here’s another example of using what people are searching for, to make a political statement.

In this case, it’s Tila Tequila, myspace superstar, who was tapped to use her sexuality for Burmese awareness. Over 10 million views in 2.5 years.

This non-profit was willing to live on the edge a little to get the word out.  Clearly, it paid off for them, in a big way.  It’s difficult to get approval for riding the taboo line, but if your decision makers are visionary and can think outside the box — into lesser-known boxes with solid track records of success — than you have an opportunity to magnify your message exponentially.

- Ben Zolno

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Using Oprah to Save the World and Sell Books

Here’s a little editing I just did for the Post Carbon Institute; it was the easiest route to an Oprah endorsement. Absurdity is a great draw.

Get yours today!

- Ben Zolno

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Drop what you’re doing and watch/share this video.

This lays out every argument the Yes on 23 side has, knocks it down, and shows you a REAL LIVE HUMAN who has been affected. Wow. If you’re not moved to vote against Prop 23 after watching this, you’ve got a black oil heart. Please share this with everyone you know.

Learn more at http://www.FactsOn23.com/

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