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Time Banks: Collaborative Capacity Building, Web 2.0-Style
Adrian Muller, 21 Aug 07
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Time banks, a mechanism that relies on mutual collaboration to promote sustainability and cohesiveness in communities, can leverage the use of new communication tools to lead deprived communities towards prosperity and heal the gaping omissions in public services.

Time banks effectively use people’s time and talents as currency for exchanges of value. It's been effectively used across the world to tackle explicit local issues, such as childcare provision or urban regeneration. It's also been used to reach those from socially excluded groups who have unmet needs, such as minority groups, single parents, and the unemployed. Time banks have been successful in delivering small but important local results because they excel at building networks of reciprocal social relations, trust, civic participation and community solidarity.

In fact, a drive towards greater community involvement is taking place in the face of dwindling participation by women, the traditional providers of unpaid community services, and the emergence of communication tools that facilitate collaboration among individuals. In the last year we have witnessed the proliferation of online social networks centered on sustainability causes, and the growth of a highly participative online communities eager to help build a better world. The synergies shared by online and real life social networks can be used to enhance the time bank model.

For example, one of the biggest challenge the social web faces is developing reputation mechanisms that help people identify who or what to trust for a wide range of activities, from shopping online to priorizing user-generated content. Progress in this arena could also be applied to time banking, especially in those activities that involve socially dependant citizens, such as child and elder care.

Likewise, time banks rely on directories of activities and participants to track the variety and availability of services offered. Often, knowing in advance when we will have free time to spare is difficult to anticipate. That is why a service like Twitter Mobile can be used to update in real time the supply and demand for time banking services, allowing people to participate on a short term notice.

As we know, mobile phones enable developing communities to leapfrog into progress through the adoption of modern systems without having to invest in landline infrastructure. By a means of one-to-one communication, mobile phones have enabled deprived communities to access a wide range of services, such as medical care, educational tutoring and remittances services. Again, services like Twitter [And like Speakeasy -- Ed.] can be used to transform mobile phones into broadcasting devices to coordinate complex collaborative DIY projects launched by time banks and benefit from collective exchange of information in real time, such as monitoring prevailing prices of a particular good in several nearby markets.

Finally, time banks have traditionally focused on involving participants from marginalized communities to help themselves. Today, with an online community eager to get involved, and with the emergence of tools that facilitate collaboration, time banks shouldn’t limit their sourcing to local resources, but instead take advantage of the "global brain" (in projects that would benefit from this type of input) to solve community problems and improve social cohesiveness. Time banks complemented by effective communication tools offer a great model to bridge local community participation with external resources, creating strong local communities that branch outward.


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Comments

http://solairworld.blogspot.com/


Posted by: sanny on 22 Aug 07

http://solairworld.blogspot.com/


Posted by: sanny on 22 Aug 07

http://solairworld.blogspot.com/


Posted by: sanny on 22 Aug 07

http://solairworld.blogspot.com/


Posted by: sanny on 22 Aug 07

This is a very confusing article, laced with tech jargon that makes it difficult for the person unfamiliar with "time banks" to understand. After reading, I still am left with the feeling that such a phenomenon is nebulus, unattainable, and too localized within the mind of its creator to positively affect the rest of the world. I'm happy to learn more about "time banks," but please make the learning process easier by limiting or eliminating the high-falutin' language.


Posted by: Allen Regar on 23 Aug 07

This is a very confusing article, laced with tech jargon that makes it difficult for the person unfamiliar with "time banks" to understand. After reading, I still am left with the feeling that such a phenomenon is nebulus, unattainable, and too localized within the mind of its creator to positively affect the rest of the world. I'm happy to learn more about "time banks," but please make the learning process easier by limiting or eliminating the high-falutin' language.


Posted by: Allen Regar on 23 Aug 07



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