Since entering the world of networked journalism (and the larger world of Web 2.0) I have noticed one word repeated over and over again.
A Two sentence explanation: When the web first became part of our daily lives it was viewed as another publishing medium, a space to simply modify content and stick it online. With Web 2.0 we have found that the true power of the Internet is connecting people socially despite geographic limitations, allowing like minded people to work/socialize together.
"Community" is a quick word to represent that togetherness.
Creating a community atmosphere requires the right tools (software) as well as the right tone. Communities don't spring up overnight. They need to be cared for, managed, and constantly groomed. It is a skill.
I've also heard calls for new journalism heroes.
So, just for fun, I've decided to create my own Community Dream Team -- people who I look up to as heroes in community building. I've cast a wide net. I might revisit this one day and cast a smaller net, limiting it to journalim heroes. But I think right now, it's better to include people that might not be traditional "journalists" -- the job discription is changing anyways.
In the room where I grew up there is a poster of the 1992 Olympic basketball team. the first time that professional basketball players represented the United States in the Olympics. They were the "Dream Team." The motivation on the part of commissioner David Stern was in part to expand the audience of basketball, but it was also a moment of national pride. They were our basketball heroes. I'm going to draw on that first Dream Team as inspiration for my Community Dream Team. Who would be on your Community Dream Team? I left one space open on the team for your suggestions. Who is your community hero?
Basketball Dream Team: Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen is the most underrated player of all time. If there were no Michael Jordan the Bulls would still have been major comeptitors because Scottie Pippen was also one of the best 50 players of all time. But with his association to Michael Jordan he was always viewed as a second man, a Robin to his Batman. Scottie Pippen, however, could have easily been the first man on any other team. He was undeniably a great basketball player and an asset to any team.
Community Dream Team: Craig Newmark
By now everyone knows what Craigslist is (it probably helped you find the apartment or some furniture in your home). The community on Craigslist was even a place of gathering during the Katrina disaster as my friend Keith Axline reported. But for the majority of users the man behind Craigslist goes unnoticed. What's important to realize is that Craig isn't just the founder of Craigslist, he is head of customer service. Always has been and he says he always will. And that's no joke either, he really does do customer service, responding to emails and complaints. And he must be darn good at it to quell all the possible flame wars that could go down. In addition to his 9-5 job Craig is a champion of Web 2.0 projects that seek to empower the crowd, donating everything from time and money to projects like the NewAssignment.Net, the Sunlight Foundation, etc.
(More after the break)