Introduction: Video

Multimedia Writing, Project 1 from Matt Penniman on Vimeo.

This video covers some of the questions "Who I Am", "What I Do", "Where I'm Going", and "What I'll Do There", making reference to the models linked below. Additional material on "Who I Am" can be found here and here.

Who They Are and What They Do There

Posted by Matt Penniman on September 24, 2009

At the intersection of community media, non-profit work, and rhetoric & writing, I hope to find a number of like-minded people, who may be approaching this subject from a number of directions. Some will be steeped in community work, with deep knowledge of community needs and capacities. Some will be technically savvy, with experience coding and hacking. Others may have a strong visual instinct for graphic design, photography, and video production. I've met some of these people already: Guiseppe Getto, Jeana-Dee Allen, Zachary Church, Laleah Fernandez, Jessica Rivait, Gary Andrews, and many more.

These people are engaged in a number of projects, some of which happen on the web. The models (at right) show some of what's possible; the chief instinct seems to be one of engagement, bringing in participation to the work of community building. This is an instinct I share.

What Needs To Be Done and What I Need to Be Ready

Posted by Matt Penniman on September 24, 2009
A chinese dragon

The projects that are in place are good -- but not perfect. In particular, there's a constant difficulty in lowering the barriers to participation. We have a fantasy that it's possible to reach people wholesale through online communication, but in fact it's difficult to persuade ordinary folks, people who don't live their lives online, to use an online tool without some face-to-face communication. I aim to do that kind of direct, in-person advocacy that can lead to more effective online tools. To be ready, I need to practice explaining those online tools to many different audiences, at many different levels of competence and comfort, while at the same time maintaining and expanding my own skills in building and maintaining attractive, stable, usable websites.

What They Need to Do To Be Ready For Me

Posted by Matt Penniman on September 24, 2009

"They" need to be open to generalists like me, and to be ready to dream big about what's possible. The struggle for community engagement is long and arduous, but it's not impossible. "They" need to be ready for success.

... How I Know All This

Random foliage

The models linked below represent the kinds of work I'd like to do. The first two, Pulp Fiction in Motion Graphics and Prosodic Font, are embedded in the video and exemplify the project I present there: to incorporate the expressive characteristics of speech (prosody) into written texts. The others represent community-based websites that both inform local communities and invite their participation. I was involved in the research and construction of Our Michigan Ave, while the others represent ideals for what can be done. I'm particularly impressed with the degree of participation that Project for Public Spaces has achieved through their Facebook page, and with the platform that Livable Streets has constructed for local community groups to use for their own projects.