Broadband- A tool for civic engagement and sustainability?

Powerpoint hot off the virtual presses! Click the link to dl/open the pptbroadband-civic-engagement-and-sustainability

High speed internet access can be a powerful tool for communities. During this webinar we will explore some of the practical and potential uses of broadband in addressing issues of civic engagement,sustainability and economic growth. Any discussion of this topic must, however, look at ways to bridge the “digital divide”. In light of that fact, we’ll also look at Issues of access and digital literacy How creative can we be in creating inclusive engaging opportunities that make use of the potential of broadband technology? During this session we’ll have ample opportunity for dialog and discussion.

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.

Broadband presentation, and let’s play a game…..

I’m off, in about 20 minutes, to do an exciting presentation on broadband and it’s benefits for a group of county clerks. I’ve produced the shortest powerpoint in my life, yet, coming in at 12 pages…9 if you discount the title, links and contact pages. When I started thinking about this presentation I started nodding off…..not another 32 page powerpoint about minicipal wi-fi, mesh networks, et al. I’m bored giving boring presentations so I began to wonder about better ways to do things and remember the planning games over at usefulgames, so we’re doing a short powerpoint, some questions and then into a planning game.

I’m looking forward to this, to see how the process works with the hope of being able to make this another tool I have available. For now, here’s the powerpoint. Later my reflections on the presentation.