Technologies for acquiring and disseminating news and information are changing rapidly. Emerging media have become amazing forces for enabling people to connect. But their full potential is not yet realized in the service of geographic communities, the physical places where people live and work.
It is a moment of technological opportunity. Experiments in social communication abound. The advent of the Internet and the proliferation of mobile media are unleashing a torrent of innovation in the creation and distribution of information. Those who possess and know how to use sophisticated computing devices interact ever more seamlessly with a global information network both at home and in public.
At this juncture, muddled strategies and bad choices will result in missed opportunities for society. Mistakes can reinforce existing inequalities and worsen second-class status for people who lack the resources, skills or understanding required in the digital age. Clear strategies and smart choices can produce a revolution in civic engagement, government openness and accountability, and economic prosperity.