February 26, 2010 By Todd Sander, Director of Digital Communities
There's something about the American spirit that causes us to need heroes. Perhaps it's the legacy of self-determination passed on to us -- along with democracy -- from the ancient Greeks. Those guys loved a good hero.
Throughout history, we have looked to military men and women, explorers, scientists, astronauts and even an occasional politician to help us believe that anything is possible. More recently, our most popular heroes have come from the ranks of professional sports.
Only a few years ago, when Michael Jordan epitomized the pinnacle of professional basketball, media campaigns for products like underwear and sports drinks were telling us to "Be like Mike!" And we wanted to be.
More recently, advertisers encouraged us to "Be a Tiger." For a while that looked pretty good. Now, not really.
I've been thinking about what kind of hero I should have, and I've decided that I want to "Be like broadband." I think it's the perfect choice.
Broadband certainly is popular. The recent federal Broadband Technical Opportunities Program grants prove that, and it's hardly surprising. Everybody loves broadband. Even people who don't really know what they'll do with it if they get it are sure they must have it. And why not? Broadband promises to make all things possible. It connects us to one another and to the world around us. It will make our government more efficient, communities safer, businesses more prosperous, tax rolls fatter, entertainment more entertaining and children smarter. What's not to love?
Broadband brings us hope for a better tomorrow.
So if you're in the market for a new hero, like I am, I suggest you try to be like broadband: full of optimism and promise, available whenever needed, and ready to deliver to organizations and communities.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.