Monday, March 24, 2008

Have you been invited to my Rosebank?

You'll be in good company if you are. Jon Cherry, Matthew Buckland, Mike Stopforth and many other opinion leaders have been. If you are part of the Rosebank community, or have something meaningful to say, leave your email address in the comment field below and we'll be in touch.

The rationales behind the starting of this community are multifaceted.
1) Online social networks
Everywhere and nowhere

This particular article is fascinating for so many reasons. Here's a favorite quadrant of text:
We will look back to 2008 and think it archaic and quaint that we had to go to a destination like Facebook or LinkedIn to be social,” says Charlene Li at Forrester Research, a consultancy. Future social networks, she thinks, “will be like air. They will be anywhere and everywhere we need and want them to be.” No more logging on to Facebook just to see the “news feed” of updates from your friends; instead it will come straight to your e-mail inbox, RSS reader or instant messenger. No need to upload photos to Facebook to show them to friends, since those with privacy permissions in your electronic address book can automatically get them.

...avid internet users often maintain separate accounts on several social networks, instant-messaging services, photo-sharing and blogging sites, and usually cannot even send simple messages from one to the other. They must invite the same friends to each service separately. It is a drag.

Historically, online media tend to start this way. The early services, such as CompuServe, Prodigy or AOL, began as “walled gardens” before they opened up to become websites. The early e-mail services could send messages only within their own walls (rather as Facebook's messaging does today). Instant-messaging, too, started closed, but is gradually opening up. In social networking, this evolution is just beginning.

E-mail in the wider sense is the most important social network,” says David Ascher, who manages Thunderbird, a cutting-edge open-source e-mail application, for the Mozilla Foundation...

2) At a time when we are rather at the mercy of governments and other civil authorities, volunteerism, activism and volunteer networks become not only useful, but essential and vital. We need civilians to aid in our own policing and protection, we need whistle blowers in our communities to alert us to problems with our food, and water and power supply. To the extent that communities develop strong relationships (through regional virtual and real networks) the communities can wrest back control of their own environments from 'administrators'.

In a recent article in The Star (MAKING A DIFFERENCE IS YOUR CHOICE) Mixael de Kock describes the enormous impact of volunteerism on the way society progresses. We have reached a juncture now where volunteerism needs to be resuscitated. In modern times volunteerism has died. The post-war (WW2) period saw its golden age.

Volunteerism asks us to be less self-centred. It asks us to put ourselves in other's hopes, including the flowers, the birds and the bees. What is happening to our water? Wouldn't bicycling to work be better? Mixael writes that we worship the free market, but the free market is a concept, not a human being.

It is now time to be human beings again, and human beings need to start doing what they were born to do: become self aware communities that improve the lives not only of other human beings, but every other life they touch.

3) A wonderful contemporary example of this vital embracing of our own (and other seemingly unrelated communities) is embodied in the Blue Sky Studio flick HORTON HEARS A WHO. 'A person is a person no matter how small' and 'Just because you can't see someone doesn't mean they aren't there...' are epithetis in this film that perfectly fit this ethos of a 'volunteer community'.

This is the human being as gardener and life giver. And it can start right here, with you, and with me.

What better time to start this process than during Easter, when we contemplate new beginnings, birth, in the context of death. This is the basis of all religions, it is merely a matter of semantics.
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