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My quick thoughts, back stage, and rants as I try to Teach kids about the Web while learning how to help others build a better Web.

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Greg McVerry

In talking to @bonstewart I was using the word resilient more in terms of the web and artifacts (https://resilientwebdesign.com), Bonnie meant it more in terms of communities. Maybe is realization that these are not different.

Greg McVerry

@bonstewart @davecomier @sherryedwards @lawrie @katemfd threw down some quick thoughts on what I think the needs (spoiler alert never talked about new tech or networks) https://quickthoughts.jgregorymcverry.com/2019/04/25/seven-steps-to-prosocialweb

Greg McVerry

Seven Steps to #ProSocialWeb

6 min read

1. Begin with You

Ghandi never said "Be the change..." still doesn't mean it ain't great advice. We need to be the web we want to see.1 

In fact in  my recent efforts into (my approach to getting at ) I have focused on the words of another Yogi (correctly attributed) 

Change yourself and you have done your part in the changing the the world. Every individual must change [their] own life if they want to live in a peaceful world. Paramahansa Yogananda

The web is no different. Be pro-social if you want the web to be pro-social.

I also think beginning with you in terms of learning goals strengthens the . When you have shared goals with others in your network people learn. Humanity always worked this way.

The web is no different. Constantly model learning and reflection. Ask for help when needed and offer when asked.


YOU! flickr photo by Marcy Leigh shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

2. Create Innovation Systems

Recently I have focused my efforts on the idea of innovation systems. I remixed this concept remixed from those who take an ecological viewpoint of sociotechnical systems

According to Freeman (1987) Innovation Systems are “networks of institutions, public or private, whose activities and interactions initiate, import, modify, and diffuse new technologies.” This is usually towards a shared goal.

Massive corporate powers have quickly created market-based systems. I am not one to think these goals are diametrically opposed to (but some do) yet they are different. The goal of a corporation is the stock price. In fact in the United States it is a legal obligation for corporations to focus on profits. Sometimes, often, people suffer.

The web is no different. We need to focus on change but this change occurs at the system level only after a swelling at the agent level.


Climate Change flickr photo by garlandcannon shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

3. Use What You Build

The will only thrive when you have your own space online that you control, preferably from your own domain. The silos built for the masses and the web suffered.

I'd rather have a tent in the fields I own than rent a room is a Castle with someone else's rules....where I toil all day for someone else to profit.

Also something happens when you write from your own place. Folks are not as willing to write graffiti on their own house or shout profanities from their door step. But is more than that. People find an immersive joy in owning and shaping their own truth.

The web is no different. These tools and ways of being exist. Step one in a web is to build out your personal cyberinfrastructure. 

You will never know all the tech and we should never expect people to do the same. Instead, we want folks to know what they do not know and then how to go out and ask the right people to learn it. What Castells and Cardoza called "self programmable learners"

The web is no different. You have a goal and want to learn something just get a website or blog and start documenting the journey.

If you need help just ask us.


workshop flickr photo by martingautron.com shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

4. Keep it Purpose Driven

Find your niche and you can find your community. For many of us we hang in academic spaces or creative writing spaces ike and . Our crew, our people, our tribe.

A shared purpose unites us and this aligns with our personal goals. 

The web is no different. Network around ideas and not people.


2010113-purpose flickr photo by Chris Piascik shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

5. Focus on Diversity and Inclusion

Many find controlling and owning your space online to beyond their means "in financial cost, ability, time, and confidence."

This has always been the case with literacy. I consider literacy to be one of the great equalizers in society (up there with birth control, suffrage, expanding markets, and open borders). We need to fight for basic web literacy as a human right. A means not building FOR the most vulnerable but building WITH everyone to ensure we do not recreate the past.

Silos provide both a haven and a hell for marginalized people. When the web was born people did their identity work building the web. Now, this identity work gets sold back to us.

When we claim we can not "do tech" in communities of color or expectations of owning your content do not recognize historical inequities we end up reinforcing these equities.  

We simply can not name the problem. We must actively work to solve the issue.

Yet even today the Open Source community is the whitest and most male of the tech sector. We can not fix this in the board room or through outreach. Efforts must begin in the classroom and the community. This is where always developed

The web is no different. Make the "Community the Curriculum." We must focus on web literacy across the globe. The time is now. 

This why I think the is more local than decentralized. I keep putting in grants to bring and to local schools and libraries....where we always taught literacy.


Rainbow flickr photo by Michael M Stokes shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

6 Go gLocal

Not sure where @wiobyrne got the idea or who he lifted the meaning from but the has strong local nodes (like Antogonish) and these Local networks connect to a much bigger global one. Either with direct relationships or as allies. Go gLocal Ian says.

Creative Commons is trying this approach right now. Mozilla tried with Clubs but looked for VC like growth overnight, their more successful Reps programs and Firefox contributors, in general, reflect a gLocal approach. IndieWeb has been running camps for nine years with minimal funding.

EdCamps, as an innovation system may represent the best model. 100s of camps occur each year and 1,000s of teachers get connected

The Web is no different. Build strong local groups connected to a global movement. 


It's our world too... flickr photo by tim ellis shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

7. Post Positive 

We all struggle with what to write. The tyranny of the blank screen can drive many into the welcoming arms of social silos. Yet the simplest way to support a is to Post Positive

Be a good person. Say nice things. Document the good you and others do. The lesson we learned in preschool can still teach us much.

The web is no different.


A Balance of Healthy Words flickr photo by Carol (vanhookc) shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

1. h/t to Tantek for pointing out the misattribution of Ghandi and sending me into a months long rabbit hole into famous misquotes.

2 To read more check out the hashtags , , and  .

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Greg McVerry

@bonstewart and @davecormier for me this message from @dsearls https://twitter.com/dsearls/status/1121121327195119616 resonates with we don't need new service to replace the silos just need to embrace our social nature in places we control

Greg McVerry

@jgmac1106 While the focus of would be on focus of practice and if folks do need any technical help setting up personal websites we run virtual and f2f Homebrew Website Clubs all over the globe every two weeks or simply send them my way and I can help

Greg McVerry

how will you increase the quality of your contribution, how do we "open" in way to make web better? Open isn't inclusive, how do we fix? Role of institutions? just turn your session into quick prompts. Encourage folks to tag and share with tag

Greg McVerry

@bonstewart I was thinking we just take your session from and make it an easy blogging challenge (because is 3 ways you contribute to the web, is the social web good or bad, how will you bring your values to the web,....

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

Ursula Franklin writes about importance of friction in holistic tech.... The difficulty leads to unique art. The push for friction free is path to conformity.

Social media silos no different

Greg McVerry

This also goes back to growth measures of silos. They wanted friction free to boost numbers.

Truth and writing never come without friction. It's usually a slow ride down a sandpaper slide.

Writing is hard. The Web is hard. Do the work.

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