Thursday, March 31, 2005

Another upcoming blog-related project: The September Project 2005

Decided to skip lunch to post this (well, I always skip lunch so...):

The first time I learnt about The September Project was in late August last year, from a forwarded listserv message. I was excited at how libraries could play a role in reinforcing social awareness and promoting discussions. At that time, I was also exploring how blogs could enhance the library's service to public and it struck me that 9-11 was a good opportunity to test some ideas and concepts regarding blogs.

With other colleagues who helped provided ideas and some content, we put this up within 3 or 4 days. Now that's fast, but something I've sort of taken for granted now. You can read about what we did in 2004, and what we're planning to do this year from this post.

We learnt a few things from the experiment. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the comments when we asked people to let us know what they thought about "September 11". Boy, did they tell it to us. They were frank but all very civil. Nothing was deleted or edited. In fact, a colleague of mine asked if we faked the comments because there were no grammatical or spelling errors. We didn't, I assure you.

Another point learnt was that blogging works. I was prepared to take some flak from my bosses 'cos I went ahead to do the blog on my own. Looking back, it was a calculated risk which turned out quite well.

Past few days, I've been exchanging emails with David Silver and Sara Washburn (the Project Directors for the project) . Have not met them in person but have been so encouraging and constructive in our (email) conversations. Really nice people.

David was curious about why I used the digital element in the event. He asked if had to do with an objective to reach an audience outside of Singapore, or from an inability to have such events in physical, non-virtual spaces?

I replied that in essence, the larger objective was turn this into a truly International Dialogue. I believe very strongly that to truly change minds and perspectives, we have to introduce external perspectives, beyond national and geographical boundaries. The digital element is an enabler, as most bloggers know. I mean, how many people can travel outside their country and meet with "X" no. of people in their lifetime? To use a favourite term within NLB-circles, we have to break away from thinking in silos.

The tagline that ThinkAbout911 is adopting is "It's about Community, not Geography". I wish I was smart enough to coin the phrase, but I didn't. Discovered it from a related "9-11" blog. I believe it was coined by this fella named Rob Salzman (his site is now defunct, unfortunately).

If you have ideas or thoughts to share, I would appreciate if you email me, or post your comments here.

Tag: the September project 2005

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