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Seeking Testers for New Tools for Civic Discourse

NCDD member Jerry Michalski passed us a message about two tech entrepreneurs who have developed tools useful for civic discourse. Mark Smith is the founder of www.mikons.com, which lets people create personal icons or logos. While at first blush this doesn’t seem to have that much to do with discourse, he has been pursuing ways to use the icons as seeds for conversations. BJ Fogg’s startup, http://yackpack.com/, offers a novel way to hold audio conversations. Jerry participated in a two-week Yack with a small group, which was apparently was really interesting and quite different from using forums or a mailing list. BJ Fogg is looking specifically to help groups doing discourse that crosses age-group boundaries, like seniors talking to teens. If you are interested in testing these tools or integrating them into your D&D practice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with their creators, via the websites listed above.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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  1. Mark Smith says:

    Thanks for the mention of mikons. Indeed mikons are intended to be a gateway for communication and connection much like the ancients used symbols to communicate (think cave paintings and petroglyphs).

    There is a magic dance of individuality and unity. Our mission is to be apart of the movement for people to be aware of that relationship and join in that dance. As we recognize our individual gifts, callings, and experiences, we awaken to the awareness that they are to be shared for the purpose of common unity (community).

    BTW – I would like to connect with BJ Fogg. The YackPack is a natural extention for mikons as we begin to include groups and other community features.

    Many Thanks and Kindest Regards.
    Mark Smith

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