Phillip Smith

The Day After: What's Next?

I'm going to guess that I'm not the only person who's ever taken a nine-month hiatus from their blog. (Though you can correct me, or chastise me, if I'm wrong.) And, today -- November 5th -- I'm happy to report that I'm back from said hiatus, and excited to have more than nine-months worth of experiences to blog about. Read on for the highlights, sad moments, and the lowdown on what's next...

Highlights

  • As you might have guessed from the date of this post, the majority of my time this last year has been invested in working on a US election project. The project had highs, and lows, and -- after a suitable amount of down time -- I might just write about them one day. For now, let's just say that I'm happy to be back to the work that I hold near-and-dear: working with independent, progressive, and radical media organizations.

  • Although that US work took up most of my time, I'm happy to announce that I was able to find enough time to produce what is probably my favourite project of the year: the New Internationalist Blog network, http://blog.newint.org. The NI Blog is home to a growing list of topic-driven blogs that bring to life the people, the ideas and the action in the fight for global justice. Check it out; subscribe; comment; and send me your ideas on how to improve it.

  • I'm also happy that I was able to help the International Freedom of Expression Exchange get off-and-running with their new technology partner and will be excited to see their new portal highlighting freedom of expression violations launching early next year.

Sad to report

When I embarked on the journey that consumed most of this year, there were -- inevitably -- some sacrifices. If I could have cloned myself -- and done everything that I really, really, regret not being able to engage with -- I would have aspired to:

... And that's probably just scratching the surface.

It's hard to look back and compare one experience to all of the other opportunities that life presents. Or to fully understand the opportunity cost of taking one path vs. another at the fork in the road. Thankfully, I move forward knowing that every time I've had to make a hard decision in the past, the road ahead only became clearer and more understandable.

Where it goes from here

And, the biggest announcement of all:

  • Moving to Argentina for 2009: Yep, that's right. As of February 2009, Melanie and I will be living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We are off in search of adventure, and are looking forward to lots of visits from friends, learning Spanish, and some serious tango dancing. The move was inspired by a variety of factors, but the most significant was: Simplicity. Packing up our "stuff," putting it all into storage, and just living for a year -- a quest to underscore the important things in life: family, friends, and meaningful social engagement. (More on this as time permits ... and let me know if you have any suggestions!)

  • Finally, over the coming months and into 2009, I'll be working more and more with the New Internationalist -- helping to expand their audience in North America, and continuing to evolve what's turned in to a 24/7 global technology operation. Working with Adam, Charlie, Simon, and the whole NI team, we're going to embark on: A re-launch of the http://www.newint.org Web property; A re-launch for NI's four online shops on a new e-commerce platform; The release of a number of little "bits and bobs" that we've developed over the years; And -- most exciting -- a new technology blog to document the ideas behind the work. Keep your eyes peeled.

And, frankly, I have only just begun to let myself think about the next few months, and the possibilities ahead... If I had to take a shot at what it all looks like, it would be something like this:

  • A couple months to catch my breath
  • A year to reflect on five years of Community Bandwidth
  • A year to plan for the year after (sure to be the most exciting yet!)
  • A year to make some new friends in the South America
  • A year to scheme with colleagues in the media reform movement
  • A year to catch-up on all the ways I've wanted to contribute to the Bricolage community

Feel free to add your suggestions to the list! :-)

Over and out for now. More soon...

About

Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.

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