Monday, December 26, 2005

CIVIL DISCOURSE: Connecting with a different kind of conversation

A new blog and a radical web site offer connection to a different kind of conversationFor some time now my friend (and encouraging mentor) Colin Rule has been a contributing blogger at ODR News Blog, part of the web site for the Center for Information Technology and Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Recently Colin began publishing a blog of his own hosted at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. Colin’s blog offers perspective and commentary on conflict resolution, civil discourse, politics, international relations, and, yes, technology and the Internet. You can join Colin's conversation by clicking here.

Speaking of conversation, conflict resolution of course is all about promoting dialogue. One of Colin’s recent posts led me to a happy discovery: ChangeThis, a web site born of a radical and hopeful idealism: to virally transmit ideas through a culture medium of community, respect, and dialogue.

Recognizing that “the best discussions in science, medicine, business and politics have always been the civil ones”, ChangeThis publishes what it calls manifestos—proposals for change which serve as “a reasoned, rational call to action, supported by logic and facts”. The goal is to provide a forum for “the rational and thoughtful arguments that help people change their minds to a more productive point of view.” In the egalitarian spirit with which ChangeThis was founded, anyone is welcome to submit ideas for a manifesto.

Among the manifestos you will find at ChangeThis are "The Life Cycle of the Creative Soul", "How to speak a teen’s language, even if you’re not one", "Community Greens: Green Infrastructure and Community Revitalization", and "Why Smart People Defend Bad Ideas". And bloggers who are having trouble finding meaning in what they do should read "Going Home", a manifesto which envisions bloggers as part of something revolutionary and global--as mediators of Internet conversation and connection:

At the center of conversation is the blog. At the heart of the blog is the authentic voice…Our voice is so strong that it can be heard around the entire globe. We are amazed to find others far away who can hear us and who have the same tone…Community begins to form…

(Looking for more connection through the medium of the web? Visit this post of mine from earlier this year.)