The Origins of REALNEO
Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Happy 2nd B-Day, REALNEO
Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 10/26/2006 - 02:22.
Two weeks ago saw the second birthday of REALNEO. I started REALNEO in October, 2004, to provide “Regional Economic Action Links for North East Ohio” and implement for the region some exciting open source social networking technology. While the outcomes have not been entirely what I expected, and these years have in ways been rough, I've been thrilled to help drive and support some great developments in the community.
One thing that has been particularly exciting has been to watch REALNEO bring together 1,000s of people, and 1,000s of postings and comments with incredible value and insight, and maintain that in a consistent place and way that has resulted in 1,000,000s of hits from around the world. For example, it's 2 AM on a Wednesday morning and there are 11 guests on line from wherever, reading content about whatever. Many, many people contributed to that accomplishment, and deserve appreciation. Props, REALNEO community!
Among those REALNEO people, an evolving core development team played key roles in driving deployment of the underlying social computing technology in important contexts in the region... like for the search for the new CEO for the Cleveland Municipal School District and for the virtual community of the City of East Cleveland. We also played key roles in driving the use of the technology by Voices and Choices and Green City Blue Lake, among many portals. Congratulations to the core REALNEO development team, in many variations over the years, for being leading social networking technology innovators in the region and world!
But, most important, having REALNEO in place has changed dialog in NEO, among REALNEO members and beyond. Among members, we have explored issues, made each other and others more informed on important insight, and helped the world know what is important to a large segment of the NEO community. That has impacted other media and other dialogs in powerful ways, as have similar dialogs around the region - on Brewed Fresh Daily, in particular... props George Nemeth. I am thrilled to see the level of dialog across the region increase and rise above what is enabled by the powers that were and the Main Stream Media, which are controlled by large corporations and so often act against public interest. In this respect, NEO as a community has been especially innovative and successful.
From my personal experience posting to REALNEO, where I am just one of 100s of members of a community, I have been able to manage my important content (it is a content management system) and share that with the world, for world-benefit. I've met and built relationships with people I wouldn't have otherwise know. And, most important to me, I've placed on REALNEO what I feel is some of the most impactful content in the world about issues involving lead poisoning, about which I have personal interest... doing that empowered me to explore this public health crisis with both the Mayor of East Cleveland and the law firm of Motley Rice, helping drive to Ohio litigation against key defendants in the paint industry, which each year will help save the minds and lives of 1,000s of children in our community, and so our economy.
I have also used REALNEO to further regional thought on open source computing and the digital divide, and content about that always has huge traffic. On the creative side, REALNEO has given me a place to post and share my “creative writing” and photographs with the world. And, it has given me a tool to plan my life better, as the calendar capabilities are exceptional. So much more... it has changed my life for the better in many ways, which is the point of the underlying open source technology in the first place. I hope it has been of comparable value to others.
From my experience reading REALNEO, I have learned about important issues, especially involving social equity, ecology and philosophy. And, in the past two years, I've seen content throughout the community grow stronger, and I feel part of a new knowledge economy here that is quite separate from anything that existed before.
I started REALNEO because I thought the region could use social networking technology to communicate better, and we could become world leaders with that, and, after two years of driving this platform, I've seen great progress in how the community uses social computing. I still hope those who want to dialog in this way will eventually come together to push the envelop of virtual community in bleeding-edge ways, with globally dominant social computing technology we develop here in NEO, as a distinctive competency of the region, but, for the time being, I'm happy to see new lines of communication in place here, bringing together an ad hoc but dynamic new social network that did not exist before.
So, over the past two years, what have evolved, with REALNEO as part of a larger whole, are very exciting, strong regional economic action links for Northeast Ohio that were grown from the grass roots up, and I appreciate being part of all that. I look forward to the next year of fighting the good fights, with the good people of NEO, whomever and wherever we may be.