We've never met you and I. Chances are if you leave a civil [no swear word] comment I will reply. Chances are someone will pick that up and do similar.
Therein is the beginings of a social society. You probably have a social society members card with lots of people you meet online, and through a process of refinement have become friends. I have many myself.
Many people watch television, but they're not neccesarily part of your club even though TV is a global village and you all might just be cheering for the same person on American Top Idol.
My next door neighbours happen to be very good friends, but further down there is little contact. It's a long street. You can't pick your neighbours, though at some point you may have had some influence on your neighbourhod.
Sadly, the lack of any community activity leaves social cohesion moribund. We know little of each other.
The perception of my neighbours further down is shaped by fleeting assumptions and it's not enough.
"Well go over and talk to them", some of you are saying.
"I need a pretext"?
"What do you need a pretext for, just go over a say hi".
Many of us moving to new neighbourhoods have done so. On smaller streets there have been gifts: "Welcome to the neighbourhood", but this act of friendship is not universal, particularly in places where there are dynamic changes and in cases you think, "er I'm not sure here, they've got five mean looking dogs".
No, no, no dog lovers, owning a dog does not make you a paraiah. When I lived in Ghana we had 6 dogs. This is all about perception again.
So what's my whole point here? That there is something in the web culture which could be massaged into TV-Neighbourhood land. And it resides in Community TV, broadband TV.
Storybridge.TV is a strong example of the future - and there should be many, many more of these. Local TV, Local Issues. This was also the DNA of Channel One TV - a station in the UK modelled on New Yorks' cable news programme NY1
Here's an example of a typical Channel One TV story, Social Network Justice . Here a housewife furious at the road humps on her street mounts a successful campaign with friends to have them removed by the council. She says she was influenced by Marje Simpson. For what it's worth social web 2.0 is at least 8 years away with this broadcast.
National TV is getting in on the local act, but the underlying philosophy is skewed. It's as if the federal government came to your neghbourhood, put out a long table with some food, and the men in suits said: "Ok guys lets have a conversation. We wanna tell you what we can do for you".
Local TV is bottom up. There has to be an affinity with local people. Parachuting in will yield no where near the same benefits as the micro model.
It is TV about the community, giving the means for people to talk about issues and through the visual language find common interests. National TV could never do this, only as a generic gesture.
There is a park nearby. Like an ecosystem through the seasons it is changing, sometimes despairingly. As I walked across it, an elderly woman with three young children was stooping. She was picking up shards of glass from the playing field.
I walked by craning my neck, stopped and doubled back. We had a fruitful conversation. We'd found a common cause.
"Would she be interested in joining a group going to see the council about this?"
She kindly declined. There are, I suspect, many other people like her and me. So I have asked the small group talking to the council if I can make a film about what they're doing. And the film I believe will in its small way, when online, help foster more of an understanding of who we are. It is news, not reactionary, but educational, which in our increasingly ignorant world we need the world of media to do more of.
Local TV, via the net has the unqiue chance of us getting to know each other and not just online.