All, I’ve been thinking about this since, well, I started goTenna nearly 5 years ago following Hurricane Sandy, but it feels like it’s a less-niche topic these weeks what with Harvey and Irma… and, hey, the Equifax hack.
I know I’m not alone on Mesh Community in caring and thinking about our society’s fundamental systems’ (ie. communications, energy, finance, transit, food, education. etc.) growing inability to ensure scale, resiliency, and access for the 21st-century unless radically reworked.
Everyone here knows what a mesh network is — which is rad! — but an interest in or an awareness of bottom-up solutions and ideas (like mesh networks) is still too niche given how fundamentally important it should be for everyone.
I’m wondering how we drive mainstream and, critically, sustained mainstream interest in questioning, investigating, and working on these problems. We want more people seriously involved with the “work,” of course, but all efforts will be bolstered by widespread awareness of these issues and questions.
How do we make this more than passing conversations tied to it-bleeds-it-sells news coverage about extraordinary (i.e. not everyday) events? These questions or ideas shouldn’t only come to the forefront for most people during massive disasters or personal first-hand emergencies. Physical and digital infrastructure is crumbling and/or caging us, in visible and invisible ways, and we need to be talking about it on blue-sky days.
I have a background in community organizing so I’m one of those knowledge = power people, so I have plans to hire someone to create a digital magazine (with real journalism: job spec here!), accessible to both expert and lay readers, around what you might call the political economy of bottom-up, people-powered, decentralized ideas, movements, and technology.
So in the broader context — and in the narrower context of this future magazine — how do we get people to understand and care about infrastructure writ-large? I have some ideas (some of which you can read in the linked-above job spec), but to be honest, I’m tired of them and want to hear yours.