Beyond the echo chamber

June 22, 2009 | Leave a comment

It’s exciting to see some of the big names in the Silicon Valley web scene shift gears from evangelizing about the power of the social web to explaining how it can be used to the outside world. For example, Robert Scoble, sometime Microsoft videoblogger and latter day net celeb has started Building 43:

A few people here and there are trying. I watch what Chris Messina, David Recordon, Marc Canter, Joseph Smarr, Kaliya Hamlin, and a group of others are trying to do by pushing a more open web. Those are the kinds of efforts that inspire me and are inspiring Building43. Can we build on what they are trying to do and take it to main street?

Marc Canter is taking it a step further and moving to Cleveland, Ohio, in order to start a new company that helps create Digital Cities:

Where workforce development, content production and local foods meet in the valley of health care, medical digitizing and the history polymers.  Add to that some Seniors interviews, green jobs knowledge bases and authorized venues, community services and common constructs – and you have our project!  Oh yah – and a business directory of……

In both cases, they’re taking the ideas that the web community has created – open, democratic platforms for content agnostic collaboration – and bringing them to communities and people who might not have been exposed to them but could benefit in real, tangible ways. The message I’m getting is that the theory has gained momentum and is rolling into something great; now it’s time to bring it to the world.

And me? I’m in Washington DC this morning, talking with the AAC&U about how these ideas can be used in education.