In my final project I will seek to show that via the infrastructure of available technology, it is possible to build human connections and support the growth of local communities. My work will strive to demonstrate that knowledge/skills are the most powerful toolsets to sustain and develop growth within these communities. If we just make some relatively small changes to how we use the Internet and the networks therein, is it possible to make a large-scale impact?
Taking inspiration from a current project I am assisting in called yoga.review.it, my project will take the form of a website proposal. The website is a peer-review listing site, similar to something like tripadvisor or yelp. However, my site (tentatively called ‘Youview’) will focus on the reviews of local community athletic businesses.
For every review that people write, the site would donate $1. This money would then be put towards teaching key individuals within the local community of that area a craft/skill set. Via teaching these skills, these individuals would be able to teach others and build business for themselves, thus elevating the local economy. In addition, these donations would make reviewers feel they were doing something beneficial (via the ease of technology), and would bolster the number of reviews (thus bringing more people to use the site for the accurate information). The $1 funds would come from the money traditionally spent on marketing and promotion.
There is also another element to this review site. When people let one of these reviewed businesses know they are coming due to Youview, the business would donate $1 to Youview. Youview would take this money to create promotional material to be sold within the athletic businesses themselves. Materials would include yoga mat bags, headbands, etc. These items would be made from discarded athletic wear fabrics. The people re-purposing these items would be local community members. All proceeds from sales of these items would provide salaries to these formerly unemployed individuals, while also creating local-scale advertising for Youview.
Theoretically, my website proposal will touch on a number of topics we have discussed in class; local/global scale, technology, sustainability, education, and human connections. It is possible to imagine that if all Internet sites worked towards community activism, we could see a global difference. The site would be an example of repurposing technology and ideas such as 1,000 Villages and freerice.com to create an innovation. As our society grows in population, it is necessary to not just create products, but to give people the access to skills that they can then mold into their own vision of a more sustainable and economically viable community.