Another potential area to consider ... How might social networking media help link the creativity of citizens in small towns and rural communities to positively shape and transform their communities? Creative community development is not just an urban issue. What ideas do you have for how this might happen?
[Fall 2008 - World Policy Journal] Check out "The Middle East's Generation Facebook" article by Mona Eltahawy, who writes in this piece:
"In 2005, activists breached not just laws against public demonstrations, but taboos of protesting against Mubarak himself, with street protests that focused on Egypt and its internal discontents. But that movement was perhaps too early to rally the masses and was criticized for being out of touch with the needs of ordinary Egyptians. The recent Internet-inspired activism has flipped the script -- the needs of the masses have sparked a wave of unprecedented activism among young Egyptians. Bloggers have been instrumental in the conviction of police officers for torture and in getting neglected stories into the headlines. The Internet has given young people like Shahi a space that does not exist in the 'real world.' They're using it to create grassroots groups and communities that will eventually translate into a real presence in society, and this bodes well for their ability to influence the futures of their respective countries. Generation Facebook might not be able to change their regimes today, but in building communities and support groups online, they are creating the much-needed middle ground that countries like Egypt desperately require. And, sadly, it is surely in recognition of that nascent power that regimes as aging, paranoid, and powerful as Egypt's Mubarak now arrest, imprison, and harangue bloggers and online activists. ... As Generation Facebook grows older and more assured in its ability to organize and unite, it will be confronting a potentially inexperienced leader in the form of Gamal Mubarak with potentially tragic and unforeseen consequences. ... I am confident that Generation Facebook is planting the seeds of an opposition movement that gives Egyptians, and by extension the whole region, an alternative to the state and the mosque. In 2033, I will be 66 years old. Nothing would make me happier than to see Shahi, Ibrahim, and Maha make my dream come true." More (PDF)