Contact Summit 2011: The Evolution Will Be Social

The net is more than a marketing platform. Connect with the people who are building what comes next, and celebrate the potential of networking to transform commerce, learning, and society.

Who Should Come:


Next decade's net is being conceived and built now by people and organizations you don't know. See the horizon of innovation, learn the priorities of its creators, and leave with a coherent vision of the future.


Come if you need collaborators, funders, advice or inspiration. Or come if you can provide this to others. Demo your work or ideas at the Bazaar and win one of three $10,000 awards. Contact is about you.


Witness and celebrate the reclamation of net by people who see its true potential. You didn't come online to code flash for banner ads; you came for this. If $245 is too much for you, apply for the $99 rate.

Contact happens in three ways:

1. A morning series of provocations by a dozen of the net's brightest minds.
What is gamification? How do alt currencies work? Why does net neutrality matter? Is Facebook doomed or the next Citibank? What's next in location-based devices? Does p2p tech lead to p2p culture? Can privacy concerns derail the social web?

2. Meetings convened by participants.
People with ideas, projects and questions convene breakout meetings to work on solutions and next steps. World-renowned experts show up to offer advice, collaborators join projects, similar efforts converge.

3. The Bazaar
Part marketplace, part science fair. A two-hour expo where any participant or company can share, pitch, and demo its offering or work-in-progress - as well as win one of three $10,000 awards.


All participants are invited to convene meetings about their projects in progress and seek collaborators at the Summit, or do demonstrations at the Bazaar. Some of the projects by participants currently in progress and in discussion include:

Bernal Bucks is an initiative dedicated to strengthening the economic livelihood of the Bernal Heights neighborhood in San Francisco. The Bernal...

The Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility Marketplace is an innovative peer-to-peer mutual credit system embedded within the largest green...

The Digital City Project is building Digital Economy Ecosystems which will be anchored by 100,000's of online multimedia projects which will be...

Stay Connected

Live discussions about participants' projects and ideas. The Forums will also be home to the topics convened by participants at the Summit.

Here's a growing map to the projects being developed by Contact participants and beyond. Explore these initiatives and add your own.

Stay up to date on the latest news from Contact, as well as other noteworthy efforts and ideas from our participants and friends. Sign up for our contact list here.

Contact Meetup Everywhere

Can't make it to New York for Contact? Consider joining or creating a Meetup group in your neighborhood. Head to our Meetup page to find out more.

See a full list of Meetup Everywhere Groups.

Latest Blog Entry

Monday, October 24, 2011 - 13:29

Dear Contacters,

Thanks for making October 20 a great success. Contact was most definitely established, and together we marked a moment in our collective history. As participants, sponsors, facilitators, occupiers, technologists, artists, activists, educators, librarians, students, and more, we came together to declare and release the greater potential of our networks to make a better world. Your collaboration and spirit humbled me greatly.

Of course, Contact was never about itself but about you and your initiatives. So it is with great pleasure that I share with you some of how we and our colleagues are moving forward with the ideas and projects we created together, as well as a little bit more about the Bazaar winners.

Remember, to stay in touch with people please consider joining the GoogleGroup we have set up,

Also, as Contact participants you have the ability to create an IndieGogo campaign for free by using the code “socialweek.” Finally, if you’re particularly interested in “next net” initiatives, the list has been going strong for a few months now.

Here are the four projects we committed to seeing happen, and how to take part:

Upgrading Democracy -Representation is a fundamental concept of our governance, but is encoded in the technology of the 18th century. The modern networked world enables a truer form of representation known variously under the names Dynamic Democracy, Liquid Democracy, and Delegable Proxy voting. This is an effort to use the net to enact these new forms of democracy. If you want to add your name to the email list to receive updates on the progress of this project go to  For the Upgrading Democracy conference in San Francisco spring 2012, contact Micah Daigle at For the Democracy Hackathon in Virginia, April 28 to May 5, 2012, contact Keenan Dakota at Session notes at

Local Foodsharing platform -  Local food systems need tools that can help match needs (land, labor, tools, transportation, and more) to available resources without money acting as a barrier. Many resource-matching tools already exist. The Food MatchIt Project will identify and adapt them to specifically support the food space in a barter context. Join us and help: identify local food matching needs, inventory existing matching tools, and adapt existing tools (or maybe even build some new ones) in coordinated makeathons. To learn more and collaborate, sign up at

“Kick-Stopper” - Crowdsourced Unfunding - Working together in a coordinated debt strike/divestment campaign we can bring the banks back under democratic control and give teeth to the concrete demands that are being hammered out at GA’s and working groups around the country and the world. The goal of this project is to create a mechanism for organizing and coordinating large scale debt strike and divestment campaigns. The project is explained here:

Join or learn more here:

Collaboration Matchmaking Application - A collaboration matchmaking service bringing artists and geeks together with other sectors. This service aims to match one’s needs with the skills of the people who will openly collaborate to provide them. More information is here:  

Online General Assembly - This group, first convened by Dan Sieradski, folded itself into the Upgrade Democracy group. But it has its own mandate: to create an online version of the General Assembly technique for consensus building. Read about the genesis of this idea in this Contact Forum:  To join the effort, email or join the list

Meanwhile, MetaCurrency, Community Forge and other Contact participants re-thinking currency will be leading a Reimagining Money track at Occupy Wall Street today from 10am to 7pm. The Protest Currency Design competition is also completed, and results posted here:

At the end of the day, Reverend Billy officially blessed each of our three Bazaar Award winners as they were announced. The projects each received $10,000 from Pepsi, deposited as the seed money for free campaigns on IndieGogo. Winners were chosen by a team of judges selected from among the participants.

Runners up included: The Library Farm, New Hive, Meshkit, GiftFlow, Commotion, Tether, and Digital City Mechanics. The three winners were:

Fayetteville Free Library Fab Lab

The Fayetteville Free Library aims to be the first library in the United States to build a free, public access Fab Lab. At the foundation of the FFL's Fab Lab will be a MakerBot Thing-o-Matic 3D printer, central to the greater vision of encouraging local innovation, collaboration and education. Lauren Britton Smedley, who has spearheaded this effort, said “the FFL is excited to provide our community with free and open access to this technology.  We are building a replicable model with the hope that other libraries around the country will be able to follow and learn from our experience.  It was such a thrill to participate at the Contact Conference, it was truly an amazing and inspiring day."

Free Network Foundation

The Free Network Foundation is an organization whose purpose is to steward the creation of a censorship-proof, disruption-resistant, global peer-to-peer network which is fully owned and operated by its participants. They managed to get two prototype FreedomTowers up and running in time for Contact - one at Occupy Austin, the other here at Occupy Wall Street in Liberty Square. The towers are providing Internet access to the occupiers, and will be used to establish an occupation-to-occupation Virtual Private Network. Next steps for the FNF, according to its founder, Isaac Wilder, include continuing to build out their burgeoning Wide Area Network, applying to the American Registry for Internet Numbers for status as an Autonomous System, iterating and improving the design of FreedomTowers, and working with the FreedomBox project to build FreedomNode, a mesh-enabled FreedomBox capable of opportunistically engaging in communications that are materially peer-to-peer.

FreedomBox Foundation

FreedomBox is a personal server running a free software operating system and free applications, designed to create and preserve personal privacy by providing a secure platform upon which federated social networks can be constructed. “Free communities require free communication.  Once we have that, no problem is beyond our ability to cooperate toward a solution,” says FreedomBox’s Executive Director, James Vasile.

Watch for links to these projects on IndieGoGo in the next few days.

Thanks from all of us to Pepsi for sponsoring Contact’s Bazaar Awards.

Stay in Contact

Video from some of the morning provocations is being posted to  and photos of the day are going up here:  Please feel free to add your own.

To upload your own media (video clips, audio, and imagery) to our collaborative video editing project (in order to mashup and export your own version of Contact), create a free account on WeVideo, then send an email with your account username to, and she'll add you to the project:

And again, thanks to everyone for choosing make Contact. To stay in touch with Contact - to keep the spirit of that day alive - please stay in touch with each other or one or more of the projects you conceived and developed. Contact was just an initiation. You are it.

All my best,

Douglas Rushkoff