Since its inception in December 2004, GV published a huge amount of material on a variety of topics, countries and languages. To date, just the GV English sites alone total over 75,000 posts long and many more have been published on each of the localized sites. Those archives are an important historical and cultural treasure and deserve broader dissemination, thus advancing GV’s mission of fostering “voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media.”
We should take advantage of the themes we’ve already covered, re-packaging and re-proposing our archived multimedia content, after a proper search of relevant posts/materials across countries, topics, languages. We could create electronic books, dossier and topic publications in a variety of formats (pdf, html, epub, mobipocket, etc.), containing a collection of the best posts/material, preceded by an ad-hoc introduction or short essay(s) to provide the proper context. In time we can build a unique catalog focused on citizen and social media material to be distributed/used on many occasions and in many venues. For example, we could create right away a “Global Voices 2011” or an “Arab Spring Voices” ebook including best posts on these topics already published on GV, enriching and adapting them accordingly.
All GV authors and Lingua teams could be directly involved in this operation, thus further advancing and strengthening our community. This could also attract new people interested in sharing their multimedia content (videos, pics, audio, etc.), on our platform instead of YouTube, Flickr, AllVoices, etc., thus helping to create a free-for all, citizen-media database for future usage. All interested GVers could propose e-book titles and series; select, translate, and edit posts; preparing multimedia files; proofreading, beta-testing, etc. GVers could also develop other publishing projects directly on our platform, such as pop-up galleries for different regions and cities, creating a kit with captions and materials that can be sent anywhere digitally as a GV photo show, working on print-on-demand productions, and more. Each online project will also have its own space and tools for open discussion, social sharing, and community development.
These e-publications and other outcomes will be DRM-free, downloadable online and/or electronically delivered, formatted for several desktop and mobile devices (PC, smartphone, tablet, kindle, e-readers, apps, etc.), and released under a Creative Commons license. They could also be used as an incentive for fundraising campaigns on GV English and Lingua sites, put up for sale on Amazon and similar sites (maybe for special projects that could generate small revenues), extensively promoted on other websites. We can also activate partnerships with mainstream news sites, non-profit organizations and other citizen media outlets or carry out commissioned jobs.
This innovate project will provide great visibility and new opportunities for the GV community, will advance and refine its internal processes and expand its overall mission and goals. It also has a very good chance of being realized, based on our current experience in online publishing and requires only a coordinator and a small team of volunteers.
The money grant will be used to set up a new web platform (domain, web-hosting, technical help & admin), for a part-time developer and graphic designer (for online media & tools, e-publications, multimedia projects, etc.), one coordinator (yep, me) and maybe for editors/translators on specific jobs. And of course any GVers is invited to get involved! After the first six months or one year, the project should be able to support itself by a combination of means: selling for cheap some e-publications, partnerships and commissioned jobs, fundraising, ad-hoc sponsors and grants, etc.
Last but not least, some GVers from the Italian team and I produced a couple of e-books based on the above-described strategy: “Tunisia: 70 km. dall’Italia” (250 pages, 2MB, 75 pages covering history and background by a Tunisian student, 20 GV posts in Italian) and “Wired Africa” (108 pages, 1MB, short intro, 10 posts in Italian from the Technology for Transparency Network). They are sold for a few euros each on Pingtheworld.it, a series launched in early December (Here is a pdf doc with more info in English ). The little income should be enough to cover basic expenses with (hopefully) some left-over for our Association “Voci Globali“. For the same series, we are translating “Social Media Uprising in the Chinese-speaking World”, an essay collection produced by a local team which also includes GVers Portnoy and Lam Oi-Wan, and currently sold on Amazon.
Anyway, I think that this idea can enhance the way we currently work and has great potential for expanding the GV community and enriching the broader social media sphere. Or at least, it can lead to some good talk and discussion. Thanks for reading, guys, and please don’t hesitate to throw (virtual) eggs or tomatoes…. 😉