Government Technology

The Dimensions of a Digital Community

January 7, 2007 By

Just what is a digital community? That is a question we have been discussing for more than a year.

There are of course glib, easy answers -- ones we've used to explain what the Digital Communities program is all about. We have said that, in a digital community, people are connected 24/7 -- anytime, anywhere -- which brings wireless Internet technologies to the fore. This, we have noted, would dramatically change how people live, work and play.

We have also repeated a common assertion that ubiquitous wireless Internet connectivity, along with a convergence of media, would bring forth a host of new applications that are not yet on the radar screen.

And although these are both certainly true enough, neither actually defines the digital community in terms that give communities an inkling of the road map ahead -- at least not one that extends much beyond basic wireless connectivity with a few mobile worker and public safety applications.

Yet having at least a partial road map seems rather prudent for initiatives that involve building out community- oriented wireless infrastructure or investing public money in applications and services designed to improve the efficiency of the government work force, as well as encourage digital inclusion and economic development.

A good definition of a digital community should provide a vision for the reinvention of our communities for the 21st century. And it should certainly embrace much more than anywhere, anytime connectivity or improved efficiencies for mobile workers.

If digital communities are the communities of the future, if technology is being harnessed to deliver its full potential in a community context, then the obvious goal must be the improved health, vitality, prosperity and sustainability of our communities.

At its core, the vision of digital communities should be about: reinvigorating communities that falter; healing comviewpoint munities that are troubled or in turmoil; fostering involvement rather than alienation or cynicism; making communities safer; and extending the ability and right of all citizens to participate in economic, political and social activities that are increasingly tied to the Internet.

Much of this boils down to access to 21st-century communication tools, yet it is more than that. As many have observed, digital inclusion programs aren't just about Internet access, but also what one can do with it.

In recent years we have begun to talk about digital literacy. This goes beyond the traditional ability to read and write, and now includes a set of new core competencies, including the ability to find needed information and critically evaluate what is found in cyber-space.

Digital literacy is just one of many factors that constitute a true digital community. In many ways, the question of what a digital community embodies is, as much as anything, about what emerging technologies can do for a community. Certainly there are economic, educational and social elements to this, as well as great efficiencies to be gained by anywhere, anytime connectivity. But if we step back and take a broader view, drilling down to the very fundamental notions of community and sustainability, we also get a slightly different take on all this.

The Essence of Community

Once we thought of communities largely as location based. Today we talk about virtual communities and communities of interest that span the globe. But no matter its raison d'

| More


Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Fresh Ideas In Online Security for Public Safety Organizations
Lesley Carhart, Senior Information Security Specialist at Motorola Solutions, knows that online and computer security are more challenging than ever. Personal smartphones, removable devices like USB storage drives, and social media have a significant impact on security. In “Fresh Ideas in Online Security for Public Safely Organizations,” Lesley provides recommendations to improve your online security against threats from social networks, removable devices, weak passwords and digital photos.
Meeting Constituents Where They Are With Dynamic, Real-Time Mobile Engagement
Leveraging the proven and open Kofax Mobile Capture Platform, organizations can rapidly integrate powerful mobile engagement solutions across the spectrum of mobile image capture, mobile data capture and complete mobile process integration. Kofax differentiates itself by extending capture to mobility, supporting multiple points of constituent engagement. Kofax solutions dynamically orchestrate the user’s mobile experience from a single platform—reducing time to market, improving process perf
Public Safety 2019
Motorola conducted an industry survey on the latest trends in public safety communications. The results provide an outlook of what technology is in store for your agency in the next five years. Download the results to gain this valuable insight.
View All

Featured Papers