I attended a Planetwork Seattle meeting on Sunday, and it was a mind- and spirit-boggling experience. Eileen sent me an announcement for the Planetwork Networking forum on Saturday, which invited "anyone who is either working on developing software which could be used for social networking or in other ways to address the world's problems, OR who is using any form of digital media or communication technology to work for ecological and/or social benefit." The forum offered 6-minute presentation slots, which seemed like a luxury after my 3-minute presentation at the Northwest Entrepreneur Network Pub Night on Thursday. I submitted a proposal which was accepted a short time later, and really enjoyed the opportunity to present a little bit about proactive displays, which were motivated by a desire to create social benefits [in a conference context], to truly kindred spirits and gain valuable feedback, encouragement and contacts that will help me push forward.
As much as I enjoy talking about my own work, I was really blown away by the other presentations (and discussions) about the ways they were designing and implementing network technologies and infrastructures to support collective and collaborative actions that will benefit local communities. The event was organized by Kaliya Hamlin, Bill Aal and Jon Ramer, and included a number of other presentations:
- Eric Magnuson, who talked about the Interra Project, which was created to "develop a new model of economic democracy and exchange based upon values... The principal tool for this re-empowerment is a payment card and transaction platform, that rewards customers for purchasing from locally owned and sustainable businesses, donates automatically to community organizations and facilitates connections to like minded members in a self organizing manner" [to wit, an economy of kindred spirits], and their need for distributed inter-organizational collaboration tools
[aside: I remembered meeting Eric before, but couldn't remember where ... googling for Eric's home page just now revealed that I'd blogged about him (and others) after I attended the CHAC screening of "End of Suburbia" last August ... Blogging + Google = a memory prosthesis :-) ]
- Jon Ramer, who provided additional background on Interra and filled us in on an online course called "Toward a Literacy of Cooperation" taught by Howard Rheingold at Stanford University
- Drummond Reed, who talked about the Identity Commons, a framework for trusted electronic communications and transactions (about which a new paper will be posted on the Planetwork Journal sometime this week). [Update, 9-July-2005: the aforementioned paper can be found here: http://journal.planetwork.net/article.php?lab=reed0704; and there is more on the ID Commons at Planetwork]
I've already talked about the level of passion -- and inspiration -- I felt during the NWEN Pub Night on Thursday. Pound for pound (or person for person), I felt even more impassioned and inspired by the visions for technology-enhanced communities -- and the actions planned or taken to implement these visions -- articulated by the presenters and other attendees at this meeting. The next PlaNetwork Networking (PlaNetworking?) meeting is tentatively planned for Thursday, February 24, from 6-10pm at the Community Living Room. I'll be there!