After the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia, bloggers from India quickly set up The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami blog for news and information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts. This blog's an invaluable coordination effort, and it pointed to the need for a more robust and permanent site for ongoing coordination of bloggers and other online resources in response to other catastrophic situations that might occur in the future. Nick Lewis of the Progressive Blog Alliance is working on such an “Emergency Action Blog” site. We've set up an email list (eab at activist-tech.org) for a collaborative effort to define requirements and taxonomy and produce the site using something like CivicSpace. To subscribe, send a blank email to eab-subscribe at activist-tech.org. This will hopefully be an international collaboration of bloggers and techs, therefore a good early project for those who support the Global Voices intiative.
The Skeleton of Emergency Action Blog has been put up at : http://eab.smartcampaigns.com
Emergency Action Blog: Reviewing Our First Day
I think Jon summed up our goal best as "a go-to resource for blogger coordination when disasters/catastrophic situations occur." In addition,
It’s clear that natural disasters like tsunamis are one of those moments where global voices are critically important. Everyone is looking for a way to understand a disaster of this scale, and the only way we’re able to understand is to hear individuals’ stories. As the New York Times observed yesterday, some of these blogs are serving as “raw material” for more “journalistic” reports on the stories. For a lot of people, though, I think it’s critically important to connect with someone personally affected by the disaster as a way of understanding it better.
It’s been very interesting to see what a community like WorldChanging has been able to do around the disaster – original reporting, analysis, pushing people to relief efforts. The community has greatly benefitted from the fact that a number of the members of the community are in India and have close friends directly affected by the events. I think we can learn a great deal as Global Voices from WC’s experience… there’s a real need for voices like the ones our community represents at a time like this.
Ethan, I agree… however, I’m not so sure I’d go as far as to say that worldchanging is a good model for Global Voices. Though Worldchanging is one of my first reads everyday, I nevertheless think that they may represent an era that is over for civil society bloggers. Closed group blogs featuring heavy-weight visionaries have their place, and might even attract large numbers of readers, however, I feel that the goal of global voices is not to express the views of intelligent people; rather, we are all here because we want to build a new world (though we don’t remind each other of that fact often enough)- So the question suddenly becomes: if the internet in fact has the potential to build a new world, what is the next step in fufilling that potential? My answer: we need to start building more bridges, taking a more experiemental approach to our work (to put it another way, not launching projects because we want them to be successful, but rather launching projects because we’re curious as to what will happen), embracing pockets of low level bloggers that would normally be ignored (you wouldn’t believe how willing many of them are to give hours to a project, if you just bother letting them know that you recognize their work, and appreciate their thoughts.), Taking ourselves less seriously (we’re monkeys with keyboards after all) .And finally instead of asking ourselves “how do we create the movement?” we should be asking ourselves, “how can we discover the movements that aren’t even aware that they are a “movement” yet — and what tools, and strategies can we use to facilate their rise?
However, I’m running on no sleep in the past 24 hours, so if that comment reads loopy, there is a reason. BTW, for the record, I am a creation of Berkman; it was ya’lls work that motivated me to get involved with the Internet last april, and many of your thinkers are responsible for the successes that I’ve had so far.