My– *Our* BoingBoing Future

Okay, then. Going 'meta' on the participatory thing, I'm making an open appeal for people to participate in the process through [which] I attempt to produce some participatory media.

Now that I've got a toe in the door at BoingBoing, I'm going to pitch them hard on a longer-term relationship. The regular bloggers' positions are pretty well filled, but there are some opportunities for a bit of engaged cultural critique and collective problem solving – especially as BoingBoing expands into BBTV, IRC, and other forms of media.

I know what I'm hoping to accomplish. Here's a snip from my first pitch email to Xeni:

Interactive, interpersonal meadia can not only expose the artificial nature of the entities currently in control of the social and economic landscape – they can restore human agency, create the right conversations, connect people, and fight fear with fun.

Happy mutants are not unaware of the problems plaguing mankind, but they are committed to confronting them through collective, uninhibited, engineered transformation (mutation) and light-hearted, kind, and amused interactions (happiness).

So, I want to create pieces that initiate the conversations and behaviors that engage people in these processes. Each one would be the beginning of a discussion, and part of an expanding wiki of resources, supporting material, and user-generated content. A piece on "local currency" would branch out to embrace the local currency efforts, discussions, and tools out there. How *does* a person create a currency for his or her town? And where are the other people interested in doing this? Who has the best solar solutions, the most interesting way of organizing labor, the best free local Wi-Max network? Let's talk to the CEO's of GE and BP about their green efforts, and whether they believe their own hype. How about urban planning? Bike lanes? Ads on school buses and Coke machines in the cafeteria? What's in those textbooks, anyway?

This isn't pure 60's or Whole Earth radicalism and self-sufficiency (though it's certainly related) but a 21st Century, cyberpunk reclamation of all technologies and social contracts as essentially open source, up for discussion, and open to modification. It's an application of the hacker ethic and net collectivism to everything, done in the spirit of fun and adventure.

The question is, which medium? Instinctually, I'm drawn towards radio, which would enable interviews and live call-in. Is this hopelessly old fashioned, or is it a reflection of the bias of radio compared with TV? Is there a way to do video that's as interactive as voice? Or should interaction be kept on the margins of something more produced and standalone? More importantly, what sort of resource or engagement would you prefer (if any)? This is for you, after all.


(Douglas Rushkoff is a guestblogger)