web 2.0 for development

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Internet: everybody’s new Media

Internet is the future of communication. I’m deeply convinced that this is the innovation which will characterize the next decades if not the next century. I’m also convinced that, even if the word “Internet” is on everybody’s mouth, just a bunch of people understood its real nature, meaning and perspective*.

My feeling is based on many different inputs but something happened this year which made me reflect more than ever before. Two events hit my imagination: the protests after the Iranian Elections, in June 2009, and the No Berlusconi Day, last November. Both of them were political manifestations. Both were born among the Net citizens. Both were very dramatic. Both were strictly connected with online communication. They were so connected that probably they would have never happened without the Net, at least not with the same dimensions.

I can testify what I perceived taking part to the No Berlusconi Day. Obviously I’m not referring to the political aspects, which are subjective, but only to the communication ones. Taking part to something like that, I realised that:

  • I joined the manifestation mainly because it was organized by Web-citizens (5 italian bloggers),
  • I took my decision to join it only two hours in advance as I was able to gain information about it in a minute, thanks to facebook,
  • This was the first time I met a vast majority of young boys and girls on the roads to express their difficulties.

This was possible because the Web offers a new line of communication: the bottom-to-bottom channel. The organizers were not “well-known” persons. They were just someone of my same social level, and they were able to communicate with me without difficulties, barriers, filters, obstacles, prejudices. I think this is astonishing. It is almost unbelievable if, just to say one, we think that only 20 years ago there was no chance to know what was happening behind the Berlin Wall.

So, the communication revolution is really at our disposal. We can now communicate with the rest of the world and whenever our message is powerful, the receivers won’t miss it. They won’t let it go without adding their part. Virtually, everyone can communicate with everyone else. From Gutemberg’s press to the Internet, the circle is now closed. What a big revolution!

While reflecting on this, I’m reading Wired which proposes Internet for Nobel Prize. Rebus sic stantibus, I think this the idea to be quite stimulating. Director Riccardo Luna, in his introduction, talks about the Web as “the arm of massive building“, he says that using the Internet we can “build bridges and not walls” and concludes urging “Give Peace a Web”. Evocative sentences with their precise meanings if read in the Web perspective.

So let’s conclude this difficult year with a good note and an expression of optimism, being sure that if these are positive assumptions, 2010 can’t be anything less of what we just lived!

Happy New year everyone!

*Luckily I have the pleasure to know and have been working with two of them! 🙂

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Cars and feelings in Liberia

Here is what I saw while spending few days in Monrovia, Liberia:

Obviously, I did not shot them all: UNESCO, WFP, UN, etc are also there, around the country.

At the end of my trip, many questions kept on running in my mind: are we, UN, too many? Are our efforts bringing as much results as hoped? Are there other powers opposing to us? Could Liberian people enjoy a better life after what they suffered?

I’d really like our efforts could produce better results for the people we work for.