This is an edited version of the invitation to the first "First Thursday" meeting of 2014, on January 2nd at http://etherpad.openstewardship.net/January-2014-First-Thursday (More information at First Thursday Meeting Updates )
Focus - hopes and challenges
It's the first meeting of 2014 so let's take the long view. What are our hopes and challenges for the year ahead? Do we have overlapping interests? How might we help each other?
A possible glitch
There has been a technical problem which we hope will be sorted by tomorrow, but if you do have problems connecting don't keep trying. Instead, you could use the time to send me an email of your hopes, challenges and interests for 2014, and I'll pass them on.
My hopes, challenges and interests
To kick off (and to save time during the meeting)I'll share my hopes, challenges and interests now. I hope to bring various things together this year - and I hope that First Thursdays will play a part.
As you may know, I'm interested in 21st century lifestyles, learning and livelihoods. "21st century lifestyles" means I'm interested in how the internet affects us and how it can help us. My learning interest is mainly about our self-directed learning journeys, i.e. how we learn by doing and by finding out what others know rather than going on formal taught courses. Livelihoods and lifestyles is about making our way in life - not just finding a paid job, but doing things that add value in other ways, and also doing things in new ways (or by rediscovering old ways) - appropriate technology, permaculture etc.
Using First Thursday
I'm interested to see how we can best use "First Thursdays" meetings to learn from each other.
I think that the etherpads are the best place to meet because all that is needed is the url. The challenges include making the most of our time together and capturing the information that we share.
"Usual way of doing things"
At the moment I only invite a handful of people each time because we are still developing our "usual way of doing things" - i.e. if you have a large screen then chat in the chat box and put key facts on the main panel. If you are using a phone and so have a small screen then ask others to help you capture your key facts.
I would like to develop ways of archiving the information that we collect. Effective archiving is a mixture of finding the best way to do it, and finding people (or a person) willing to help.
More flexible meeting times
There are benefits in having a regular set time to meet, but that time is not the best time for everyone. I would like to explore additional ways of meeting and sharing information that would complement the First Thursday meetings. It would be easier to link different meetings if we had a good way of achieving/sharing what happened.
A "First Thursday Group"
If I was to make a list of all the people who have joined me at First Thursdays over the years, and all the things we've discussed (and all that I, for one, have learned) it would be a wonderful rich mixture. So thank you everyone who has joined me.
The list could become even richer during 21014.
For a start I hope there will be an increasing overlap between First Thursdays and the GlobalNet21 Africa group (which hosted a meeting with John Dada last November - see Dadamac Day 2013 - The video).
I would like "First Thursdays" to spill over from "an event" that only happens for one hour on the First Thursday of the month, and spread out to become a loosely connected "online group" of people who share interests with each other at other times too.
During 2014 I would like to explore additional ways that we can learn from each other, encourage each other, and generally benefit from opportunities to rub minds and see things from various perspectives.
Please come and share your hopes, challenges and interests for 2014 with me, and whoever else joins us, in the First Thursday Group on January 2nd http://etherpad.openstewardship.net/January-2014-First-Thursday
Happy New Year