Tuesday, June 28, 2022 |
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Ken Stokes Putting more teeth in community networking Ken Stokes A dot.com’er picked me up hitching out of Kilauea the other day, and enroute to Lihu`e we got to talking about the process of community networking and the general state of community initiatives on Kaua`i.
Having recently cashed out of the over-achiever world and moved to Kaua`i, he expressed a desire to learn how to slow down and maybe get more involved in community stuff. Fancy that.
“What’s the hardest part of community networking?” he asked.
“No more teeth,” I impulsively replied with a gap-filled grin.
I told him my partner’s frequent refrain about “Plenty work, no more job,” and he looked at me quizzically.
I have to be honest. The more involved we become in community work, the more irregular our income gets. Someday this work will be appropriately valued, I tell him, but for now we just do it because it needs doing, and we learn how to live on very little. Which is fine, except when it comes to dental bills.
“Hmmm,” he muses, and then agrees this paucity of payment may be the good news.
“We wouldn’t want our community networking to be overtly shaped by any cash-bound imputations, now would we?” I offer rhetorically.
To be fair, I tell him, the teeth were not the first things to go. But I can live without glasses. And, never mind all those tens of thousands I spent over five decades trying to save my teeth through sundry hopeful schemes. As soon as I stopped spending, the teeth went south. Which is also fine, except south was not where the rest of my body was heading. So it goes.
“OK,” my driver quipped, “so what’s the second hardest part?” “No more teeth,” I replied with a giggle. “We need more teeth in our networking.” “Go on,” said he.
“Sometimes our community networking seems so hit-and-miss, like we’re just batting our gums,” I declared. “We end up sipping soup instead of munching meat.” He chuckled and inquired, “What would make your networking tasks easier?” I told him about the brainstorming sessions just now getting underway on Kaua`i to help all interested websters focus on more effective use of the Internet in our community work.
“We need to achieve a critical mass of attentive citizens who are in the loop via e-mail, and we want to get much more coordinated with all the existing volunteer efforts to help document our community knowledge,” I noted hopefully as we reached my drop-off point in town.
He was all ears.
It seemed his former company specialized in helping e-businesses create a “virtual community” for their customers. We traded e-mail addresses.
“Let’s stay in the loop on this,” he said with a wave.
“Mahalo for your interest and the ride,” I told him, hopping out.
As it turns out, the very next day, some generous donors agreed to help me get dentures. Magic, no? And the day after that, 30 Kauaians from all parts of the island gathered in Waimea to begin a vision process that can catalyze a quantum leap in our own virtual community networking.
I’m posting my gracious driver a copy of this column so he’ll know how the hardest part is already getting easier. As he slows down on Kaua`i, maybe he can help Kauaians speed up our work on that second set of teeth.
Ken Stokes co-hosts Ho`okipa Network’s “virtual taro patch” website and KKCR’s talk show on Kauaian community initiatives. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
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