I’m really happy I met Bruno Ayres (Portal do Voluntário) at Volunet. Besides hearing his speech on Friday morning, I had the luck to speak with him for almost a couple of hours during Saturday morning about his new project V2V.
Humble as he was, he told me the Portal do Voluntário was a complete success… unless you were not happy with what it had become. The portal was a clearing house (a matching place) for volunteering opportunities, and it worked good, but it was too much institution-centered and volunteers (as individuals) had no flexibility at all to go on with their own projects. Quite bad if this is just what you were having in mind when setting up the platform.
What he (his organization) really wanted was something where the person, not the organization, was the center, and the project, again not the organization, was the fuel that would make things move.
This is something I talked about back in December when I wrote about Pekka Himanen’s book The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the Information Age and what I thought it could be called the sourceforgization of the online volunteering community (in fact, I guess I didn’t gave it this name “officially” since now ;) Thus, I was really excited when Bruno Ayres told me he thought he had found a pretty good solution.
And it is.
The solution is as “simple” as really interesting (think of a KISS!). It is a portal based on social software such as Orkut or Friendster. Its main added value is that the question is not knowing people and “interests” (as vague as this might sound), but knowing people that runs projects and knowing projects run by people. And subcribing to them. And take part in them. And recommend them. And discuse them. Etc. Quite difficult to explain here, you’d better pay them a visit.
For now, the site is only in Portuguese, but they’re planning to make a new community in Spanish and, later on, link both communities somehow (surely through the “person”). If they succeed in doing it, other language/country communities will appear and thus create a greatest community of online volunteers.
I’m thrilled at the very thought of it! :))
If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:
Peña-López, I. (2005) “Volunteer 2 Volunteer Technology (Volunet report Pt. 3)” In ICTlogy,
#19, April 2005. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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