One Web Day: Making the World a Smaller, Better Place

September 22, 2007

I’m far from the only person to create something for One Web Day; if you haven’t heard it, it’s a day for people to celebrate everything that is positive about the internet, and day to “encourage people to think of themselves as responsible for the internet, and to take good and visible actions on Sept. 22 that (1) celebrate the positive impact of the internet on the world and (2) shed light on the problems of access and information flow.”  People are encouraged to post or create videos honoring the day, and:

“Suggested topics for posts/videos/podcasts include:

+ how the web has changed your life

+ how you’d like the web to change the world in the future

+ highlights of what you’ve seen online the day you make the video

+ your favorite online event ever

+ something you’ve done online with other people in other countries

The internet is made of people, not just machines. It’s up to us to protect it. We can use OneWebDay around the world to raise awareness of the threats to the internet — including censorship, inadequate access, control of various kinds — and to celebrate the positive impact of the internet on human lives.”

See the video about One Web Day from Sir Tim Berners-Lee here.  Here’s another overview-type video.

I’ve already mentioned how the web has changed my life (numerous times, in fact), but in honor of One Web Day, here is a list of sites that contribute to changing other people’s lives.

Donors Choose – I’ve posted about this wonderful organization before – it’s a way for teachers and schools to get funding directly from donors.  To quote them “DonorsChoose.org is a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack. At this not-for-profit web site, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund.”  If you look through the various projects for up for funding and the impact they’ve had to date, and you’ll definitely get a sense of hope for the future (which tends to be lacking in the current climate of media fear-mongering and sensationalism).  Of course, it also makes me a little nostalgiac for all the great public school teachers that I was fortunate enough to have.  Their blog has some heartwarming success stories too. 

Kiva – An organization that lets individual donors (anyone with a credit card or paypal account) participate in microfinancing entrepreneurs from around the globe.  In their own words – “Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, you can “sponsor a business” and help the world’s working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you’ve sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.”  Thanks to the internet, Kiva has been able to cut the overhead costs typically associated with donating/loaning to individuals in the developing world, along with facilitating an interpersonal connection that would be impossible without the web.  They’ve gotten lots of positive press, both online and print, and you can even add Kiva buttons and dynamic banners to your own site (does this make them non-profit 2.0?). 

The Common Language Project – Their slogan is “Positive Reporting Across Borders” and their mission “is to develop and implement innovative multimedia approaches to international and local journalism. We focus on positive, inclusive and humane reporting of stories ignored by the mainstream media.”  This non-profit has a network for reporters who travel around the world, and seek out the often-marginalized people directly affected by the issues they cover, avoiding the bureaucracy and government spin machines.  Again, this is a project that would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, without the web – “The digital age has created new opportunities to connect people around the globe. The CLP believes that this has opened up exciting possibilities for independent media, especially in the realm of international reporting.”  Check out their extraordinary articles and editorials here, and their podcasts here.

These are just a few of the amazing organizations that couldn’t exist without the internet – and access to it being readily available most anywhere.  Feel free to add your favorites in the comments, or if you’re also a blogger or any other kind of web publisher, do a One Web Day post of your own!

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