There’s been a bit of blog attention to Stilgherrian’s project TOTO, and while some people, such as @kcarruthers, have blogged about it, @SilkCharm has pointed out that coverage by Australian bloggers has been a little poor.

This brings me to make a point, and yes I’m pushing my own adgenda here too, lets be clear there.

In Australia we’ve had a robust Community Broadcasting sector since 1975 (and some station’s pre-dating that).  In many respects we can consider the similarities between Community and Social Media, and others have done this before, so I won’t rehash that.

But Australia has the oldest and probably the broadest Communtiy Broadcasting in the world.  In other areas there’s considrably more cross-over with the Public Broadcasting modle, and in the UK fully-licenced Community Broadcasting is still surprisingly new.

Community Media has driven social changes around the world over the past 30 years.  While its not necessarily clear in Australia today, Community Radio has had considerable impact in the past, and no doubt it will continue to do so however it evolves over the next few years.  And it can work that way anywhere.

There are considerable overheads in establishing broadcasting services, and while these exist even in poorer countries (including Tanzania), they’re limited to geographic coverage – whilst it’s participatory media, it’s also heritage media, limited by geography.  Blogs and new Social media are important because of the lower setup costs (though the cost of receivers is probably higher).  We have already seen the way blogs can impact society in the Western world.

The power of what Stil’s done with project TOTO and ActionAid is just in it infancy.  It’s not about communicating for people.  It’s about people communicating with the rest of the world themselves.  There’s considerable power in participatory media, it’s a driver of openness and democracy and provides an exchange of ideas which isn’t available elsewhere.

Get along and read the first of the blogs.  And well done to all involved in the project.

I hope we can all see these blogs have a impact, for the bloggers, for Tanzinia and for us as Westerners.  Here’s to learning more about our fellow humans.

[Or: Question Authority!]

I think this is going to be one of those multi-facited posts, because there’s a couple of trains of thought running through my head, and I’m seeing connections.  You may think I’m crazy by the end of this, but I shall push on non-the-less.

Some of you probably noticed the most recent update to my last post, a link to Stitching Sight on Blind Photographers.  There’s a few more posts there at echo my own thoughts.  So I’m having one of those “I’m not alone in this” moments.  I mean, yeah, its obvious, but its nice to have it confirmed.

At the same time I’m moving on to the next phase of web site planning at work.  Before getting to some more of the meat of the project, I’m updating the orginal report to the board to reflect developments, and creating a slightly more consice version for our own internal reference.  It’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve come from.

The meeting went well, with no major questions.  But without going into huge detail, there’s been a bit of a shift in the way the board are viewing the web site.  It came as a bit of a shock at the time, but having had a week to digest it (while sick with the flu), I’m very supportive of the move.  It simplifies our build, but also bring us into line with more modern expectations.

It’s interesting to watch my perspectives change, from my own mildly depressing moments to ones of optimism.  From trying to get others to view things with an open mind, to having my mind open.

I’ve been known to say that I feel the need to learn somthing new every day.  Perhapps I should change that to needing my perspective challenged every day.