Last night I was hanging out at Second Life Library 2.0 talking with some friends about my ideas regarding libraries, networks, copyright, and community. The ever-inspiring Greg immediately asked, "So, what are you going to do with those ideas?" I shuffled my feet and muttered something about how I wasn't feeling very empowered to do anything since I'm not really in a librarian position yet. That was just a disappointing cop out, though. I may not be poised to spearhead some grand initiative, but I can at least take some baby steps.
So, my first idea is to network with some of the student computing groups on campus and try to get a discussion going (or participate in discussions that already exist) about how things like DOPA and net neutrality affect them. I already have a profile on facebook (you'll need an account to view that link), so I can use that to get involved in groups like the Cyborg Support Group, Mac Users, and the Santa Cruz Future Salon. If only I'd known about this in advance!
My friend, Amber, is also thinking about community. Over at her blog she's asking questions about urban design and social life, drawing deeply from Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language. Her investigation of what it takes to make a truly livable and community-fostering outdoor public space has me wondering about a pattern language for community building. While Amber's looking at trees and water features and sitting space, I'm wondering what those physical attributes of outdoor space give us, and how we can transfer that to other types of real and virtual community spaces, or even to networks of people and information. People have created pattern languages for designing HCI, revolutionizing communication and running study groups— what are some of the patterns for successful community building?