Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Welcome Neighbors! Time to share your ideas!

I want to start things out by being as inclusive as possible. If anyone has some inspiration, it would sure be appreciated. I'm listing out some of my ideas, but I'm not assuming that I will be a leader or spokesperson as we move forward. I can do that until someone else steps forward, if it is the desire of the group.

I want to emphasize that everything below is just possibilities. I know we each have a different amount of time and energy to pour into something like this, and have a different degree of interest in it. I would be completely content if others took this project away from me and made it their own, but I would also be pleased to continue doing the heavy lifting over the long run. If you have some ideas, please email me or call me and make them known! We can all exchange ideas through a mailing-list format, or even meet in person and make a party out of it.

First of all, let's establish that we exist. If any of us speaks about a group of neighbors in Dawson who want Google Fiber, we don't want to feel like we're sort of making things up or exaggerating. So here we are. And we should all feel independently welcome to talk about the group to people or media. The terms "grass-roots", "group" or "movement" seems fine and honest at this stage. If, in the future, we need to establish formal roles, we can move on to "organization".

I propose we call ourselves the "Dawson Fiberhood" after Google's term for neighborhoods which are candidates for fiber. If this movement goes really well, we could be nucleating a coalition of south side fiberhoods.

It would be highly advantageous to gain recognition from other neighborhood associations and other established groups, and with their approval, describe our fledgeling movement as part of a coalition. There's nothing wrong with borrowing a bit of their good reputation. We're a social group of real people, seeking to improve our quality of life, not a financial venture. At a later stage we might venture into the PAC realm, as it is indeed politics which props up the established industry which Google seeks to free us from. But we need never do that if we don't have the time or energy.

In the pursuit of establishing a web presence, it only seemed natural to choose Blogger, Google+, Gmail and Google Voice. There may be a separate, traditional web site established in the future. Other options include email addresses for each member under the group's "web name" to keep our personal ones from becoming public. This makes it easier for someone like me to filter out spam and viruses. I'm establishing a Google Voice phone number, and if the need or desire arises, I can set up various members as extensions like any small business. Folks will call the main number, dial your extension, and the call will be forwarded to your home phone.

Using this blog, I want to feature a parade of Dawson and South Austin people, businesses, musicians, artists and other organizations, so that they can testify about how Google Fiber will benefit them. It may interest you to know that Dawson Elementary and other schools, libraries and public buildings will get GF for free. GF will not be offered to businesses at first, but they will be able to provide a better experience for their customers who have faster connections. Artists and musicians can transmit their music and images of their work much easier. It's possible to provide a sort of "radio station", with video even, to send live sound and images of neighborhood meetings, live performances or art being constructed, or featured tunes by local musicians. In all honesty, these things are possible now, but gigabit Internet service sweeps away most of the problems which slower connections suffer from.

So in closing, make sure you've visited Google's web page and given them your email address and zip code. If you have more than one email address, fill it out multiple times. Get your family members, neighbors and friends to do this too. Check that box too, to let Google know you're extra serious.

As a movement, I see our first goal being to grab some media attention, then to gain enough momentum that we have a core group of active members. One of their roles could be to keep an eye out for Google Fiber news, and other opportunities, and react with an enthusiastic shout out for our movement. Contact with the Press and even Google staff could be in our future.

Things might seem to slow down for a while after that, until Google starts accepting registration deposits. That will start at the beginning of 2014 -or earlier!-. We'll need to twang on all of our strings again to remind people that it's time to ante up. If our movement is a lone voice in the wild, so be it. But it would be wonderful if we inspire some of our neighboring 'hoods to launch similar promotions.

If anyone would like to know more about me, please visit my website at or reply to this email, or feel free to call me any time. My number is on my website. If our contact info changes in the future, i'll edit this post to reflect it.

Please do not hesitate to comment below. Share your thoughts, constructive criticism, and any other contributions you wish to make. Your comments can be anonymous. Feel free to call or email me any time, too. There's no time like the present to let our presence be known!

Chad Vanderlinden

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