Rising Voices is a fantastic website/blog that is designed to help global populations join the social network. It’s main goal is to help bring “new voices from new communities to the global conversation by providing resources and funding to local groups, reaching out to the underrepresented communities”. The website is full of projects occurring all around the world. All these projects are meant to bring communities to the blogosphere and to the rest of the social mediated world. People in remote areas now have access to computers and the internet because of the efforts of this website and the people taking part in these projects. It is an amazing concept that has made a real difference for many people.
It a great site and one that I think relates directly to main ideas of citizen media and participatory media. It provides example after example of blogging and other social networks being used to give people a voice and get there story heard and thats what it is all about. I like this website so much that I honestly think it should be used in citizen media classes. It gives people a good idea of what is really going on around the world. These are not stories from the media, they are real people, telling real stories. This site is very important and this is why I have decided to look at two important projects that are occurring because the work and support of Rising Voices.
The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project is a fantastic cause that was created by faculty members of MIT. This project has began to receive international media coverage as it attempts to equip every student in the world with a laptop computer. Giving these students laptops, who normally could not afford or even get access to one will have a tremendous positive affect on their life. Imagine the the possibilities and opportunities that are opened to these children with a laptop and the ability to use the internet and gain knowledge. Young children who once had no hope for a good future can now have hope because of what the internet provides for them. With a laptop and the internet the possibilities seem endless, especially for a young child. I think the projects mission statement says it the best:
“To create educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected lap with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self- empowered learning. When children have access to this type of tool they get engaged in their own education. They learn, share, create, and collaborate. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future.”
Lets face it, the vast majority of children in these poor developing nations will grow up being poor because they do not have the resources to better themselves. That is until now, this project can give these children access to the vast amount of information and knowledge that the internet has to offer. It is incredible to think that children in poor remote areas will have a laptop and be connected to the rest of the world. It is really cool to see the blog posts and comments that these children create with their own laptops. There is something so real and authentic about what they write. What better way to get insight of ones culture and life then take part in this blogosphere.
Project 2 - Iran Inside Out
This is the first project and program dedicated to promoting the development and distribution of online film and video in Iran. This project is all about getting beyond the mainstream news and showing the real side of Iranian life, history, culture, and society. I thought this project had a very important message to show the rest of the world. A message showing that Iran is much different then how the mass media has portrayed them in recent years. The mass media only shows the negative side of Iran and this program with its film makers are trying to show the world, that Iran is much more then that. For years these people have been misrepresented and this project can help change that. For me this is exactly what citizen media is all about, getting exposure in the social world.
The Rising Voices website does a great job and helping facilitate the Iran Inside Out project. They have posted many of their videos and blog posts to help encourage people to visit the (http://iraninsideout.com/) website to see what they are working on next. The website itself is great at providing Iranians with information of up coming film events, culture, history, politics, and religion. This project and website has done a lot at getting people aware and involved in the making of Iranian films. Not only does it get people in Iran informed, but also around the world. It is vital for the stories of struggle and hardship to come out. A short video clip created in Vancouver called “Iran: a nation of bloggers” is a cool video that shows hows blogging is affecting the Iranian people. It is a perfect way to get people aware of what people are dealing with and facing day to day. It just goes to show that blogging and participatory media is making a difference for may people around the world.