Scattered thoughts about the commons, rivers and wells

I’m trying to find the right metaphor for a presentation I’m doing next week. The subject under consideration is broadband and the model/metaphor I currently have is that of a river and a village well. Which almost but doesn’t quite work, I think. What I’m trying to get at is the difference between viewing the internet as an outward journey to find things (video, wikipedia, fantasy baseball, etc.) which you then “bring home”, or things you take from home to launch “out there” (videos, pics, etc) as opposed to/ or complimentary to using the bandwidth locally to engage others in your community around issues of local import. The river and the village well.

These two uses are not exclusive of each other, but rather build on each other – the connection out into the broader world allows for the infusion of new ideas and information which can then be brought to consideration locally. Or perhaps not even overt consideration but an in-flowing of the exterior. ( And yes, bad things can come in too but that is an other conversation).

And the commons – as I was thinking about this today a number of things came up, such as why do we pay so much for internet access at home but again thats a whole other conversation, which I tried to focus down to some consideration about the nature of the online commons (or internet as commons). Some of the conclusion depends upon your orientation- is the internet a for profit venture, a megamart online with preferred services and all that that implies or is the net a common good, open and self replenishing, a market of ideas and communication? For profit implies a limited resource, gatekeepers, tollbooths, checkout counters (virtually) – an economic relationship. A common good implies other values ( and this had me sidetracked a bit on speculation on how few common goods we actually have any more) such as accessibility openness, etc…

So ones orientation towards the net is an aspect of ones political orientation- it exposes or at least points at economic relations, intellectual relations and activities and so on. This is not a news flash but has implications on the provision of service, equal access, open access which, I think, should be articulated clearly and more prevalently that is current. This also implies a stance towards education which is well worth looking at, re-enforcing and bring from a virtual to an embodied position.

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Scattered thoughts about the commons, rivers and wells by ptreadwell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

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