After our kids, what do we care about the most? I think it is where we live. Not just as it is now but many of us wonder what it was like before. In shoe boxes, old albums in the attic, in the stacks of the libraries hide our history. Many of us don't even know who the people are in the photos or the history of the place. But others might. But how could you share what you have with those who might know?
Most of our history, and so the meaning, is lost. We have the data but it has no context and so no value.
One of my fave stations is WOSU in Columbus. They started their social media journey a little differently than many. Rather than rush into tools and whiz bang, they asked the community for help. Over the last 3 years, they have sunk deep roots into the community and can draw on large resources as a result.
One of the outcomes is a series of documentaries made about Columbus with a great deal of community help. Another is the Underground that uses the network to explore the micro local local news of the City. This is the work of Walker Evans one of Columbus' leader Bloggers and good friend of WOSU
But I think that Columbus Neighborhoods may be the breakthrough.
For it uses the idea of the Wisdom of Crowds - to build a context for the City, street by street, house by house, person by person. It is an area where we can all be the expert. You may have a picture of my old house and I have the story. We can go back in time together to see how our street or neighborhood evolved.
I suspect that such a tool will enable us to get reconnected. Generations can talk to generations. Communities can come together and find their common history. There are business reasons to do this too - now your bookshop can have its fan club.
Finally this is a product of an important partnership - that between a public TV/Radio station and the Public Library system of the City. I think that libraries and pub media are natural allies - they share the same values and they complement each other.
This is going to grow and grow! Our cities will never be the same: