We are looking for people who would like to join in building a network of Information AdvocatesTM in neighborhoods, community centers and churches. This process includes ordinary neighborhood news, but primarily, it will provide personal, one-on-one "real needs" counseling and "match making" of needs to resources to help people find the social supports and material connections needed to make their everyday living more productive and less difficult.
The Information Advocate Network is now in the planning and formation stage. Once functioning, the network will be a new city-wide system serving the Information Advocates who are passionate about helping other people. The network of Advocates will empower each Advocate in his or her provision of services for the community.
We will be holding a City-Wide conference on Information AdvocacyTM on May 25th in the Skyline Room of the Central Branch of the Free Library. Everyone is invited. Please help spread the word. This process calls for people who have the confidence of their community, and sufficient time to listen to people and help them make one-on-one connections with other people in the community for mutual benefit.
We currently run an email list with over 80 participants who have shown some interest in Information Advocacy.
See the email list on the Web here: InfoAdvocates Email List
Or you can write to Stan <email@example.com>
This page and the associated links and materials are collected here as resources that Information Advocates might use in the course of their work. This notebook can also serve as an outline for the further study towards the design and implementation of a network of Information Advocates. The network will need communication tools of its own to compliment existing information resources on the Internet and in existing institutions around the city. Interested people can help by considering how we can assemble a white paper on the effect a network of Information Advocates might have on the social and economic life of the city.
A network of dedicated listeners intelligently connecting resources to requests.
A person who helps their neighbors, community members, or any other group of people learn about the resources, skills and needs of other members of the community and the world. They provide access to social supports and help the community to build social capital by listening to their constituents and converting what they learn into information that can be shared in ways that are appropriate to each person's needs. They help people to conduct research and teach people how to use information and communication tools. Their importance lies in the fact that they are a person who is available to be helpful in using modern technology and knowing who does what in the community. Information Advocates help their community with COMMUNICATIONS, INFORMATION and TRUST.
Information Advocates 1) help people in their community; 2) listen to people; 3) write down what they hear; 4) make it possible for other people to learn what they heard.
Information Advocates may not be the most influential members of their communities, but they should be among the most trusted. Information Advocates maintain confidentiality of those they seek to empower.
Social Support is defined as "help in difficult life situations"
Social support is a concept that is generally understood in an intuitive sense, as the help from other people in a difficult life situation. One of the first definitions was put forward by Cobb (Cobb, 1976). He defined social support as ‘the individual belief that one is cared for and loved, esteemed and valued, and belongs to a network of communication and mutual obligations’. In the MINDFUL project social support is defined as ‘the perceived availability of people whom the individual trusts and who make one feel cared for and valued as a person’ (MINDFUL, 2008).
The above definition is continued here: http://www.euphix.org/object_document/o5479n27411.html
... the central thesis of social capital theory is that 'relationships matter'. The central idea is that 'social networks are a valuable asset'. Interaction enables people to build communities, to commit themselves to each other, and to knit the social fabric. A sense of belonging and the concrete experience of social networks (and the relationships of trust and tolerance that can be involved) can, it is argued, bring great benefits to people.
Trust between individuals thus becomes trust between strangers and trust of a broad fabric of social institutions; ultimately, it becomes a shared set of values, virtues, and expectations within society as a whole. Without this interaction, on the other hand, trust decays; at a certain point, this decay begins to manifest itself in serious social problems… The concept of social capital contends that building or rebuilding community and trust requires face-to-face encounters. (Beem 1999: 20)
The above discussion is taken from this page: http://www.infed.org/biblio/social_capital.htm
I met Jack Scully in 1970. I ran the Everything for Everybody shop on South Street in Philly from June of 1970 to June of 1971. The following year we called ourselves the "Information Store Collective." Alec Claton's experience as revealed in the essay below, happened between three and six years later. Stan 19:06, 19 August 2011 (EDT)
Timebanks are systems that allow people to obtain & offer services without using cash. Learn more about them at the links below. These services offer the ability to keep track of the value of the services that are exchanged.
Philadelphia area timebanks are listed here: Is-Timebank
Resource Exchanges provide ways for people to exchange goods or services, but without providing a method for keeping track of the value of the exchange.
What rules shall be used by a network of Information Advocates? How shall decisions be made? One set of useful ideas is emerging from the practices of the Occupy movement. But some very good thinking about the advantage of cooperation over competition in promoting success in living systems was done in the early 1900s by a man named Kropotkin. This article by David Morris in the Huffington Post highlights Kropotkin's work.
Community members may wish to nominate Information Advocates to be their representative in a regional (city wide) advocate network. Nominations might take the form of a nominating survey style document that will ask the nominators to rate the nominee's virtues. The virtues that an advocate should possess might include: