The emerging grassroots movement for ideas and innovations creation and production uses modern tools and methods:
Who are we and what are we up to next? Case studies do illustrate this exciting moment in history, and kickoff a discussion where we take inventory of the diverse, yet overlapping work, creativity, and strategies in the room.
This is an opportunity to proactively define the characteristics that distinguish us, and set the tone for the next phase.
- One trend is the rise in the use of digital storytelling tools within traditionally under-resourced communities -- small emerging businesses, arts and craft people, desingers, content producers, rural operators, youth, immigrant, spiritual, poor, etc.
- This includes the surge in youth produced music and media.
Another important rising tide involves portable devices, namely cell phones, music players, and gaming devices like the Playstation Portable. Unlike the advent of personal computers, these devices are being used by the masses, and in rural areas, poor communities in Eastern Europe and developing countries.
These cheap portable devices couple with the third trend: improved software to enable wireless Internet access. The result is an opportunity to cause a historical shift in the way people and communities participate in democracy and the economy.
The heart of the meeting was hearing about and seeing the work people are doing. This work involved content creation, organizing, and capacity building and ranged from Do It Yourself civil disobedience to multilayered collaborations facilitated by intermediaries.
- Grassroots empowering
- New tools for emerging movements
Case studies and demonstrations ranged from wi-fi access to microradio to Internet television and voter registration tools. Strategy sessions addressed advocacy, partnerships, civil disobedience, media justice training, citizen journalism, popular culture, building a base and building a movement.
There is much work to be done in order to transform our cultural, media, and political climate. However, the younger generation, new entrepreneurs, designers, arts and crafts people, microcompanies, the most diverse generation ever, is poised to lead us into an unprecedented era of participatory media and democracy. I hope we will recognize our own roles in this, and do what we need to make the difference.
- We blog
- We skype
- We interact
- We network
- We do things together
- We produce and distribute knowledge, connections and content over the internet
- We interact
DO WE HAVE A STRATEGY?
When examining the multiple strategies reflected in our network conversations, the question of purpose arose – strategies for what? Some of the answers included strategies for creating a participatory culture and a more democratic media; mobilizing people; making change; raising consciousness; immigrant, youth and prison justice; fighting a guerrilla war against media companies using their tools against them; and facilitating communication.
Many of the strategies expand access to content, technology, and information. The technology of the projects themselves is designed to be easy to manage, translatable, and based on open standards. The tools and content are intended to be affordable or available at no cost.
IS THERE A ROADMAP?
You've gotta ask yourself one question...What are the roads leading to the future of new media development? How good is the roadmap we have created to understand what we are going to meet and face during the journey from start to finnish; whatever that might mean.
- We start to create productive relationships between grassroots activists, media organizations, and policy campaigns, to best serve our shared visions.
- Hop online, take a walk in the sun, or continue the conversations while you eat. Use the media stations to view and post more work, sites, and comments.
- We are talking about podcasting, blogging and videoblogging, To tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself.
THE TOOLS OF THE TRADE
- We interact online about innovative projects from those directly involved, and discuss the circumstances that allow promising new tools to unfold. Voices will include Media Rights, Mobile Podcasting Labs, Narrowcasting, Micromovies and Videocasting.
- In small groups, we will brainstorm the big projects, software, organizations or companies we would love to create – those dream projects that would achieve major breakthroughs in our networking culture, and economy. We will reconvene the big group to share some of the ideas that result.
- This same group has spearheaded much of the activity, as executive directors of non-profits, media producers, inventors, code developers, innovators, advocates and educators.
- Though wildly diverse in approach, these “digital leaders” and their work represent new millennium responses to one familiar theme -- democratic access to art, expression, innovative new products produced in small companies and studios and governance.
Where do Innovations occure? What happens online today?
- One of our goal is to reframe the understanding over new media, its global users and youth deepening our understanding of the role of users from various age groups as producers and contributors to the media culture and, in turn, to the society at large.
- We are showcasing an array of innovative new tools and tactics for promoting democratic participation, civic involvement, and community empowerment.
- A number of new partnerships have spawned from our meeting, which we hope is only the first in a series of conversations over the democratic future of the Internet.
This sparked several questions:
- How does participatory culture drive change, and what media policy is needed to foster this culture?
- How can the policy debate be reframed through activism and civic engagement?
- Which policy fights should be prioritized?
- What are effective organizing strategies outside of the realm of policy?
Another creative tension is between the innovations of ever changing technology and the importance of historical and traditional knowledge and experience.
WHERE DO WE BELONG?
- Making media in a deeply franchised environment
Comments about next steps We envisioned a weekend of sharing, learning and analysis that would, could, should:
- recognize the accomplishments of the participating groups;
- clarify shared values and common goals, while making plenty of room for differences;
- model a participatory community, through open forums for technology demonstrations, case studies, performance and art;
- explore policy work and other effective strategies for the immediate future.
As they connected participatory culture and small businesses they form connections among themselves, seeding collaborations. It seems to be a moment of convergence, and a catalyst for furthering the combined impact of their work.
DOCUMENTATION OF THE PROCEEDINGS
Conference participants contributed through a listserv, and sidebars bring in additional voices. Above all, given that the digital work was the core of the conference, the electronic version of this report, with links, is a critical part of the meeting documentation.
We spoke about the importance of grassroots support. Models of “financing for self determination” included
- social enterprise;
- creative licensing;
- links that allow website visitors to buy DVDs and
- make contributions; and
- sale of independent work to cable on demand and
- subscription channels.