I’ve been commissioned to write Webguide 2, a book for community groups about using Internet and other technology to achieve their goals in the realms of networking, advocacy, communication, promotion, collaboration, and so on. It will follow on from Webguide 1.
The community groups I know tend to be low on funds, and well behind the curve on matters of technology. For many, email and the web is where it’s at, and even that was a long, hard struggle.
In my book I plan to talk about all kinds of ‘new’ services such as Twitter, YouTube, and yes, Second Life. I feel pretty defensive about these things though, as even SMS (texting) seems to be too ‘out there’ for some groups. But recently I’ve found some fabulous examples of how to use this stuff for building community. And after all, isn’t Web 2.0 all about community?
The Jodrell Bank Observatory use Twitter to update followers about their activities. Just the other day they were bouncing poems off the moon. I know because I received all the tweets about it. How cool is that? (So, yes, call me a Twitter convert.)
At the Webstock Mini the other night Leigh Blackall showed us how educationalists are using Second Life to advance their goals, and of course, there’s my Second Life favourite: the idea that in future we can virtually join astronauts on their explorations of space.
Then this morning on YouTube I found Can we do something to stop the spread of teenage affluenza?, a brilliant 5 minute video courtesy of World Vision Australia. This satire explores the misfortunes of a couple of Australian teenagers, forced to spend 20 minutes in the car with mum to get to school, stuck with a measly 1Gb iPod, obliged to carry the groceries all the way from the car to the kitchen. The horror! Gradually, contrasting scenes from other parts of the world filter in. Watch it.
World Vision Australia have a website called Stir Your World (so who was clever enough to spend money on branding then?) — genius! And YouTube has a whole channel for Stir Your World. Way to get the message out!
I haven’t yet explored MySpace, but clearly I should, as there is apparently a huge audience there.
The first principle of communication is to find out who your audience is. I would add to that the need to find out where they are. If they’re all over in Second Life or grabbing YouTube videos on their Apple TV (or iPhone) then that’s where you have to talk to them.
The days of quarterly printed newsletters and telephone trees are long gone. Even those of my friends who are not technologically adept are telling me about YouTube videos. We desperately need to give community groups both decent access to broadband that isn’t cripplingly expensive, and a good shake to get themselves a decent computer, good Internet access and a pal with some know-how.
Uh, oh. I think I just figured out what I need to do with my life …