This is a site that I’ve seen a few places, including digg. For me, this really represents the power that computers and the internet bring to communication. Hometown Baghdad is a film project started by a New York-based company (Chat The Planet), following the lives of young, 20-something Iraqis. When the city became too dangerous for the Americans, the Iraqis began filming themselves.
If you haven’t seen it, please check it out. The result is often very compelling. In an instant, with the click of a mouse, I can have a glimpse into another person’s life — across thousands of miles and inside of a combat zone. Not only that, but the technology required to do so becomes cheaper and easier to use every day. The result is the rise of user-created content, which may not adhere to the same journalistic standards as the New York Times, but can provide a truly unique perspective. The stories on this site are intensely personal, which might be their real strength. Technology gives individuals, kids even, the opportunity to help create the discourse surrounding current events, as the news is breaking. Today, Ann Frank would have kept a blog.
Every now and then, something on the internet really fills me with hope. It is so easy to look at computers as gadgets, but they have augmented our communication abilities like nothing else. In less time than it takes to walk to the fridge I can experience life thousands of miles away. It’s an amazing time to be alive.
I’ll end my optimistic rant, but I’ll re-post a couple videos from Hometown Baghdad.