Wednesday, October 12, 2005

focusing on the endgame

friendster, myspace, facebook, spaces, blogger, typepad, etc. we have all these ways of interacting, communicating, and connecting online, but do we actually accomplish anything? There's a lot of talk about this stuff nowadays -- the latest story being Yahoo adding blogs to their news search..but so what?

I had a meeting last night to talk about the role of civic engagement, loosely tied to technology. It was interesting that the notion of face to face meetings came up and that those there seemed to value these encounters more. The thinking behind this was that they seem more scarce and out of the norm. In other words, the simplicity of connecting with people, online, through email, blogs etc makes the actual f2f gatherings *more* important because it's not as common, and in some ways, more difficult to control. Indeed, think about how many IM conversations a person can have at once, contrasted with the same number of f2f meetings at the same time. It doesn't really work so well.

Why is this relevant? I think in light of the shock (snicker) of some regarding teen use and technology, ypulse has it right. Tech is a tool. It's a means to an end, and not a means unto itself.

Tieing this all back to the whole notion of more choices of tools, what do we really want to accomplish with the tech? We can communicate to lots of people much easier than ever before, but if there is nothing to say, what's the point? Me, I want to get more people involved locally. If that means using a blog, myspace, dodgeball or whatever to get people more informed, motivated and active...all the better.

Oh, for a real life example of how to use "tech" for specific goals, check out this event by the Puget Sound Business Journal. Brilliant!

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