Networking Best Practices and Global Citizenship:
A Knowledge Management Trend Report
Increasing Recognition of the Value of Knowledge Management Skills
Definitions for “community networking”are continually changing as our perceptions of Internet collaborative best practices grow. In response to the initial question “What’s in it for me?” we’re learning that there are successively greater benefits from sharing information as the tools and our collaboration skills evolve. As more people elevate their perceptions and ability to exercise collaborative best practices sharing information; the overall benefits to everyone involved grows exponentially. Globally, we’re seeing the simultaneous realization that fundamentally important points need to be continually revisited regarding motivating and training citizens in the use of Internet collaborative tools and their best applications.
Addressing Motivation by Identifying Clear Benefits
Globally, the necessity of local grassroots champions to inspire and train locals in best practices is becoming clearer as is the need to share success stories across cultures and conceptual boundaries. At the recent Asian Pacific Economic Council conference, it was stated that the next billion people due to come onto the Internet are likely to be those living in poverty. A presentation from Chinese Taipei shared the story that the government was concerned about an indigenous tribe who preferred a type of loincloth to wearing pants, and sent a truckload of pants without asking the villagers if they wanted to wear pants (they did not.) The same is true with broadband; governments too often assume that everyone understand the benefits of broadband when they do not.
Note: Even in most developed countries broadband “take-up” is 25-40% with entertainment, not ecommerce, as the dominant application.
Nortel has Information Technology Instructional videos
http://learnit.org A wonderful example of “show me the benefits.”
An Alaskan Native Video Blog example http://alaskaruralbroadband.blogspot.com/ Video self-publishing from the remotest of villages
Providing Appropriate Motivational Training and Tools
At issue is what specific training on which specific tools will provide the greatest benefits for specific needs. We’re at a point in human history where social engineering methodologies and global citizenship awareness-raising best practices are co-emerging simultaneously. New tools such as Blogs, Video Blogs (Vlogs), Really Simple Syndication (RSS), wikis, content management systems, and the use of distance learning free tools like www.moodle.org create the opportunity for anyone, anywhere to empower both themselves and countless others, worldwide.
What Is the American Mission for Broadband?
The CTC VISTA project deals directly with how low-income Americans can learn to empower themselves through smart adoption of Internet knowledge-access, collaboration, and self-publishing tools and skills. The quality of technical assistance CTC VISTAS bring to their client communities is unprecedented across the history of Americorps programs.
The future of America’s communities and neighborhoods rest on our abilities to become lifelong self-directed learners, global entrepreneurs, and our ability to tell our stories effectively and digitally. The “Strengthening America’s Communities Initiative” states that our competitiveness in the global economy depends on our ability to stimulate ongoing education and innovation among our citizenry at all levels.” http://lone-eagles.com/saci.htm
Governmental Championing of the Sustainability of Local Champions
The extensibility of positive impact that one individual or a small group can make worldwide through sharing new tools, training resources, and/or open knowledge curriculum is just beginning to be appreciated. One such example is that of grassroots champions with the Canadian CAP/CTC program as their lessons learned regarding sustainability relate directly to similar lessons learned from the CTC VISTA project.
Outstanding Canadian Community Networking Innovations
Over the past decade, the Canadian government established 8800 community access points (CAPs) serving as community technology centers. Since funding ended March 2006, half of the CAP sites have shut down. Champion burnout has been cited as an emergent problem. The issue of sustainable centers and champions has come to the forefront as the basis for a national strategy.
Canadian Community Networking Innovations
Note the outstanding BC Networking Forum Report, the dozens of advocacy organizations in the BC Network Inventory, and listings of hundreds of rural community networks and exceptional examples of indigenous community networks such as www.oldcrow.ca from the Yukon Territories.
Sustaining Champions Requires a Fee-based Model and Governmental Support
The CTC VISTA project is certainly on the cutting edge of demonstrating new technologies and citizen engagement methodologies, led by volunteer grassroots champions. But the sustainability of both the community technology centers (CTCs) and the ongoing services of the champions will depend on developing an economic model. An ideal case would be for champions to develop portfolios of successful skills outcomes resulting from their volunteered training as the basis for creating a sustainable fee-based entrepreneurial self-employment business. The role of top-down governments at all levels as a necessary partner for supporting and sustaining the necessary bottom-up training activities is becoming clearer as a major global issue related directly to community, regional, and national economic sustainability.
Essay on Sustainable Mentoring
Communities, regions and nations are beginning to appreciate the new collaborative opportunities for globally sharing best practices and world-class expertise regarding designing local, regional, and national ICT (information and communications technologies) adoption strategies
The recent Canadian Telecommunications Policy Review Report states eloquently, and at length (400+ pages), that (a) Canadians MUST learn to use broadband technologies well to build social and economic capacity to be competitive and productive. This report www.telecomreview.ca emphasizes that (b) ubiquitous broadband and a National ICT Adoption Strategy are paramount. (c) Rural Ecommerce is likely to emerge as a new national priority but in question is how can the government partner effectively with grassroots champions in every community such that the top-down goals meet the bottom-up needs? (The executive summary and chapters 7 and 8 are highly recommended.)
Recent Canadian documents detailing the benefits of community networking for aboriginal/indigenous peoples are
Fully Integrated Technology (FIT) Communities http://lone-eagles.com/FIT.pdf (A two page flyer summarizing the vision for all communities)
Aboriginal Voice - From Digital Divide to Digital Opportunity
(The last three pages is a summary for this 33 page paper)
Peer-to-Peer Social Networking – The Next Big Thing
Dramatic evidence has already proven that wonderful collaborations are indeed made possible by the increasing numbers of people with Internet access and the proliferation of free Web tools. A few examples: www.wikipedia.org has over one million donated articles submitted by volunteers and is larger than the Encyclopedia Britannica. eBay (www.ebay.com) has 181 million users which would make it the ninth largest country on the planet- and having just purchased Skype, which now offers free video conferencing in addition to free VOIP, will continue to grow at an astounding rate. The implications for collaborative International trade are overwhelmingly obvious. Moveon.org http://moveon.org is an example of effective political activism and Amnesty International is an example of effective transnational activism www.amnesty.org/
Case Study: An Alaska Peer Mentoring Project:
The Rural Alaskan Village Ecommerce Network (E-RAVEN ) Project http://lone-eagles.com/e-raven.htm is establishing a peer Ecommerce support system for marketing Alaska Native Art by engaging local champions and local community networks. With a mandate to create a comprehensive stateside Ecommerce support network there are many challenges and they are more socio-cultural than technical or economic. In process is consultation on culturally appropriate ways to establish an entrepreneurial culture within an established culture where everything is shared and focused on community. An elders’ conference in June in Koyukuk will discuss how and whether cultural entrepreneurship holds the hope for teaching others about Athabascan culture while economically sustaining villages, or risks producing less positive outcomes. The Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership www.ak-mep.org is working with the Alaska Native Arts Federation to market Alaska Native Art on the web. 722 artists have registered and sales last year hit $450,000.
The Power of One, Or Two…Imaginations
We’ve entered an age where we’re limited only by our imaginations.
Craig’s List, www.craigslist.com is an example of the impact of one individual. Dozens of communities use Craig’s model and he recently sold his invention to Yahoo for $250 million. Skype and Google have made a global impact as a result of two individuals each. The original eBay site was created by one individual over a three day weekend.
We’re Limited Only by Our Imaginations?
While many in rural and urban communities struggle to grow their imaginations, more and more people are recognizing the librating realities for taking purposeful action as global citizens to create the type of world that allows us all to make a life while making a living by contributing meaningfully.
The Internet is Changing Worldviews and Creating a Global Citizenry
The Internet is transforming our definitions of community, individual and cultural identity as we’re learning to collaborate beyond historical boundaries of time and space. As more people become global citizens, their worldview changes. Tolerance for diversity of the worldviews of others is perhaps the single most significant insight that education, and global connectivity, offer as a hope for the sustained future of us all.
The day is coming when the majority of the global population will become global citizens with the Eagle Eye overview perspective that embraces our diversity as a celebration of our commonalities and joint human spirit. Indisputable truths will become widely recognized as we grow our understanding that as one human family; If we all share what we’re learning, we’ll all have access to all our knowledge.
Pray for Peace, and Take Action Locally and Globally.
Lone Eagle Ecommerce, K12, and Community Network Open Knowledge Resources http://lone-eagles.com/future-proofing.htm
Authors Presentations Schedule and Descriptions: http://lone-eagles.com/new.htm