Three beliefs to challenge
Kiosks = information = empowerment
Electronic soapbox = democracy
Locality - or volorgs = community
PS - but being able to meet and build on existing networks really helps
What people need is information relevant to their problems and interests. This may come from email messages as much as Web. That means personal use, not just official Web pages on kiosks.
Just because we can technically enable people to have a say by posting messages on a Web site doesnít mean they will ñ any more than people (apart from a few) will jump on a soapbox in front of a crowd they donít know. Good discussion takes a lot of prepa
Just because people live in the same place doesnít mean they have shared interests beyond the basics. Think communities of interest and of practice. Recognise the Internet extends peopleís reach. Local communities are a mass of different communities.
While community and voluntary organisations are very important as sources of information and help, they are not ëthe communityí. They are hard-pressed and may not be the greatest champions of IT in the community. You will have to look for individuals ñ no
At the same time recognise that meeting face to face and building on existing networks helps enormously to create online communities. Reach is great - but often we need a home base too. Real and virtual communities are not either-orÖ best if ëbothí.