23 June 2006

The Next Wave in the 'Net

A new idea is blowing around in the (cold!) wind: A community blog/newpaper for the South Cape region.  Do a quick search on any search-engine of your choice to see what is happening in the South Cape.  Good search terms might include "South Cape", "Garden Route", "Knysna" or "Outeniqua".  The overwhelming majority of links that come back are tourism-related, and almost all of the rest are real-estate advertising.

Almost everything on the 'net about this region is outward-facing; there's next-to-nothing there for local people to find out what is happening where they live.  Caveat: There is a small quantity of inward-facing content in the 'net for South Cap locals, but it is certainly not well placed in the search engines.  Perhaps I should try one of the local (South African) search engines, but they all suck.

My initial concept is more like along the lines of a "community blog" than a conventional newspaper.  It has everything along the lines of bottom-up content, community-driven development and community-managed editing, etc. that I think are good things to foster.  Think along the lines of Slashdot for ordinary people, and with a regional focus.  But, given how limited access is to most people in the area, it makes sense to me to try and find ways to tie the "bits" world (the 'net) back into the "bricks" world where most people live.

It's also a fact that, even people who /do/ have some level of 'net access, also run Real Lives(TM) and don't spend a major amount of their time in the 'net.  Mostly those who do "live in the 'net" are hacker types like me, or retired people with time on their hands (and the money to fund it, and lower levels of real-world energy).  (Note: That's "mostly", not "all".)

I have come to believe that the next wave in the 'net (and most of the real world, or "bricks" world, hasn't yet caught-up with the current wave) will centre around tying the bitworld back into the brick world, and an application of the same bottom-up notions to brickworld.  My startup venture (if it ever flies! :-) is a direct application to test the theory.

The news thingie is a sharper application of the same question: Can we get the real news from ordinary people who "see stuff happen" instead of an "ordained ministry who pre-chew our pap"?  Including those who lack the advantages of decent 'net access!

If we can be modestly successful at that, then, along the way, we will surely make some money, too.

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