Christopher Lydon’s outstanding public radio show called Open Source is available as a podcast. This morning on my commute I listened to the February 7th show about Craigslist and its implications for generating community on the Internet. Here is a link to the show which you can download and listen on any MP3 player or personal computer.
What struck me was the community generated around sites like Craigslist, there is some discussion on the show of its societal impact. One of the guests, Tom Sander, had this to say:
There are two potential benefits of a site like Craigslist. One is that it actually enables new connections to form, whether it’s a backgammon partner, or a friend with benefits, or a missed connection that becomes a connection. But I think the other value is that … if people have 20 different micro transactions, one who returns their ipod, and a nanny that they hire that seems trustworthy, and a person to meet for sushi on Tuesday night, that all those things together start to change their nature about other people in their community…
Many other Internet technologies are isolating, allowing people to get more done without having to socialize with real people. Craigslist is different – it builds a sense of community and lets people interact. At the end of the show, David Cleaves, a Mandolin player in Lowell, MA played beautifully. The show had placed an ad in the local Craigslist looking for a musician, and found one willing to come in to the studio. Now *that’s* community.