We are forming a globally Networked.Community to develop solutions to unmitigated societal risks. Our effort started in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic as a way to request and provide support to our local community members. However, as we quickly realized that this epidemic was a symptom rather than a root issue, our mission quickly expanded.
The Global economy is broken, adequate safety nets do not exist, the world is divided by us vs. them, and the chasm between the haves and have-nots exponentially widens.
It’s time to create a new society. It’s time for a Networked.Community.
WHAT IT DOES (so far)
The current pilot city, Battle Creek, Michigan, includes the first features of the project, which includes ways to offer and receive help through various local organizations. The site also includes a community resource guide so folks can look up essential services and resources in their area. Although the site is not meant as a source for news, links to COVID-19 updates are included, including to the WHO, CDC, State, County, and City sites.
HOW WE WILL GROW
The vision for Networked.Community began with the fight against COVID-19, however we quickly came to appreciate our localizable community activism engine has use cases far beyond the present epidemic. COVID-19 is an important catalyst and immediate threat which requires a globally coordinated effort. It is also the canary in a coalmine for significant underlying societal risks for which there are not currently any viable solutions.
The fact that a virus could immediately have such a dramatic negative impact highlights much greater systemic risks. Unfortunately, we understand that relying on government and corporate institutions to solve these problems is not a viable solution, now or in the future. Society as it exists has unintelligently evolved in a manner that is not rewarded for proactively addressing problems such as COVID-19. A society built on quarterly cycles and profit above all else will never prioritize investing in safety nets so desperately needed.
The long-lasting ramifications of COVID-19 are significant. Prior to this epidemic, society was already set on a collision course for the unplanned negative side effects of automation, robotics and intelligent computing; this epidemic will only hasten their arrival. Similarly, adequate solutions do not currently exist to request and provide support and resources to one another, nor does the technical infrastructure to deliver and trade goods. Finally, neither a basic income nor a solution for virtual employment is available for those displaced from the livelihood today and tomorrow.
We have an opportunity for technology to lead to a utopian future in which humanity is connected and collaborating for the greater good. Unfortunately, history has continually proven that it is more efficient to work against, instead of with, one another. However, we have the tools and willpower to shift this paradigm.
For the specific COVID-19, we are engineering the platform to enable non-technically oriented volunteers to easily deploy the application to their local community, whether that be a neighborhood, town, city, country, or other municipality. Community managers will have access to a Content Management System, pre-loaded with globally-relevant resources which can be localized for community-specific needs.
Further, we are actively partnering with complementary initiatives not to reinvent the wheel, but to make an automobile. There is no need to have a monopoly on doing good, so we will continually seek any opportunities to increase the impact of complementary initiatives. As we grow, our success will scale along with our technology partners and their own communities.
The ability to request and provide services to those within our local communities is an ever present need. By focusing on the long-term vision and a broader mission while actively addressing the current epidemic, we are creating a solution that will be immeasurable today and into the future.
The most significant challenge at this time is finding volunteers with the availability to contribute, from developers to organizers and strategists and beyond. We are working on building much more than a website...we are building a movement with the potential to change how humanity operates. And such a movement requires significant time, energy and resources.
As we are in our new and immature state, we need people capable of navigating uncertainty and helping to define and build the future. Right now, we are mostly a blank canvas with a noble goal. As visibility to our mission and vision spreads, we will increase the variety and ease of which volunteers may become involved.
WHY WE NEED THIS
With countless at risk citizens forced to enter harm’s way to acquire necessities and communities ineffectively scrambling to cobble together resources and ways to support one-another, there is an absolute need for a more efficient and effective solution. The best organized communities are relying on email newsletters and convoluted Google Sheets to sign up to support one another. By creating a simple-to-use Content Management System with preloaded, customizable resources, communities will have a complete solution at their fingertips in minutes.
In our pilot community in Battle Creek, Michigan, we rolled out the alpha COVID-19 Response Network, which was immediately adopted by The SHARE Center, a local non profit that feeds the homeless, and received 20 volunteer sign ups within 14 days of its launch, as well as 11 offers of help that are organized by a community manager. Based on the initial usage, our team has been actively working to continuously improve the product and add additional features. Given that this is a marathon and not a sprint, we are building this to be a full-featured solution, accessible on a variety of platforms.
ENSURING QUALITY OF CONTENT
Wikipedia was once widely considered a non-reliable information source, however it is now one of the most frequently used sources globally for people to find information on nearly any topic. The reason Wikipedia is so successful is because of its vast and loyal volunteer community working tirelessly to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information. We plan to take the same approach for our Networked.Community.
We have already implemented a rigorous volunteer vetting process as modeled and shared by the Progressive Coders Network. As we continue to grow and evolve we will combine technical solutions with human intervention to ensure that those contributed directly to the central platform as well as the volunteers helping their local communities meet the highest possible standards.
To volunteer, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to
- Stephen Scapelliti of the Progressive Coders Network for helping advise on different legal and organizational processes.
Try It out
azure, c#, dotnetcore, react