William R Collier Jr.The American Freedomist Network www.freedomist.org
*Do you want to transform your world? *
Let’s start with the basics. What does it mean to transform?
According to Merriam-Webster online, transform means:
1 a: to change in composition or structure b: to change the outward form or appearance of c: to change in character or condition :*There is a plan, a master plan, you can follow but that plan has to conform to some semblance of proven LAWS and principles. **
Where can you find those laws and principles, written in plain English, in an easy to read format that is not hard on the eyes? here it is, what you have been looking for, Ralph Benko’s book, The Websters’ Dictionary. (This is not an error, Mr. Benko has informed me that his hope, and now mine as well, that he may be the first of many “Websters”, people who know and teach ways to use the web as a people connecting tool that have a cultural impact that is real and felt and positive)
Ralph Benko is a strange fellow, and I mean that in warm sincerity, who comes across in person as a cross between Jimmy Dean and a Nerd God, a really cool guy who can also do your homework for you. If understanding the web, how it works, and how to connect with people using the web’s tools and technologies, is your assignment then consider this very tough homework assignment to be taken care of by “The Webster”.
I have rarely met as accomplished a man who was both humble and absolutely self assured, at much at home I suppose in the rarified air of the best places in Washington DC with all the power brokers as with common folks out in fly over country, and his book is consistent with this character trait: it is clearly written by one who knows but it has been made accessible to almost anyone who has a few hours of time (you can read it on about 2 to 4 hours, which would mean about half a month if you took 15 minutes a day and read slowly).
If I have been described as a “networker”, indeed I have even been described as a somewhat influential networker using internet resources to connect people and ideas for action, reading this book has opened my mind up to new possibilities.
Here are some things I felt were most revelatory about the book:
*For starters, the book makes no apologizes about what is needed, and what is not. *
If, for instance, you don’t have the necessary people and funds, don’t try and be the next RedState or MoveOn but BEGIN ANYWHERE to get where you want to go. If all you have is a $7 server (quoting from Patrick Ruffini) and the ability to write, START THERE.
Ultimately, you will wish to deploy a team of 2-5 savvy web networkers (and a bit of technology) to create and sustain a web-based community. That is what it takes to support 50,000 to 1 million members. That community will provide resources to pay for the team. But if you don’t have the money to hire a team on Day One, just BEGIN ANYWHERE (the Webster’s 10th Law!) with what you have now.
Second, and this is important kids, stop trying to tell your community what to do, start finding out what THEY want to do and giving the space, the tools, and the resources to DO IT.
The question arises, “if I just listen to my community, how can I pursue my own agenda or vision?” My answer is simple: choose people who FIT your vision and they will generally not only follow it but improve upon it greatly.
*Third, don’t try and use ALL the latest tools and gadgets* and don’t try to be everything to everyone. It is better to use tools that work, and work well, and that you know how to use and it is better to focus more narrowly on a key area, such as vote fraud or foreign events, then to try and cover every issue or cause when you have limited resources, funds, and people.
Frederick the Great, who defeated 4 major armies with one army that was not bigger than any of the 4 he faced, once said “he who tries to HOLD everything loses everything.”
Ralph urges his clients (including pro bono clients) to go to Ning.com and set up their own free private social network. I set up two today, they take just a few minutes each! and are incredibly versatile It’s addictive. Come see: and join www.freecongress.ning.com and http://57thstate.ning.com/! Then go to Ning.com and start your own!
Sometimes your big plans have to be reduced to bare necessities, but this is not by any means the end of your story, it is only the beginning: *BEGIN ANYWHERE! **Fourth, read this book, not once, but over and over until you have digested it from your head to your heart. *
Why? Because the common sense, sometimes brutally honest, truths and principles contained therein will stop the shaking ground beneath your feet, calm the waves, and clear the skies giving you a high pinnacle to stand firmly on above everything else, a pinnacle from which to see exactly the types of things you need to do, the right moves, to get to where you want to be.
For me, it helped immensely that I have had the pleasure of meeting many of the people on the “right” whom Benko describes in the book and lifts up as examples. These people include Eric Odom, Erick Erickson, and Eric Telford (I call them the three Erics, they should start a club), Patrick Ruffini, and a score of others. The accuracy of his assessment is beyond a doubt truthful and USEFUL to those of us who wish to follow in their foot steps!
*I am impressed with the way the book is set up, *with the way it makes seemingly complicated matters interesting and easily understandable, and especially with Benko’s tendency to know exactly what is IMPORTANT and what is not. The book will not bore you and you will literally be a better, more effective person for having invested some time in reading it.
If you read this book, whether you get the FREE version at www.thewebstersdictionary.com or get the printed version (so you can keep it with you and spend some time with it) you will have what the Germans call Fingerspitzegefuhl, finger tip feeling, for that which is necessary to survive and thrive on the web.
NOTE: By having a print copy on hand you can more easily reference it, mark it with your own notes, and have it to show others in your company or your organization as you attempt, valiantly, to make them see how much the web can be our friend if we use it properly and how it can be our deadly foe if we choose to pretend that it does not matter.
I believe, if I may go on a bit here, that Ralph has the advantage of being a more experienced man who instinctively knows that “the web” is not mysterious at all, it is not “technological” so much as it is a people-connecting medium. Ralph is not in love with technology for the sake of technology, he has not been SEDUCED by “gadgets”, like some kid bragging about how HE has the latest version of this or that, but he is savvy as to what the latest, most useful, most affordable technology is and continues to do our homework for us.
The Webster emailed me to make sure people know they can get the e-version of the book for FREE…
You can get a complete version for free as an eBook by downloading it from www.thewebstersdictionary.com first AND, if you like it you can ALSO buy a deadtreeware version at Amazon, at a nice discount, and at fine bookstores everywhere. The Webster added, “Also, when people get the free version … they sign up for the 2.0 411 bulletin (from which they can unsubscribe with a click). And to get the free eBook, people have to take The Websters’ Oath: I will use my powers only for Good.”
You can listen to The Webster lay down some serious “secret knowledge” for aspiring “websters” here:
The Internet, to repeat, is not merely a technology people use, it is PEOPLE using technology to CONNECT in meaningful ways with each other and if you understand it this way, using Ralph’s tome to guide you, it is possible that you and your $7 shared server (OR Free Ning.com site!) may indeed “transform the world”!