The nation-state of Sierra Leone crumbled during the 1990s. A decade-long civil war destroyed the state and brutalized the national imaginings. Despite the lack of institutional structure, some members of its society chose to keep the nation alive through discourse on a listserv, an email forum called Leonenet. Using a multi-methodological approach that incorporated content analysis, interviews with cultural informants, ethnography and participant observation, the findings of the study reported in this article indicate that list members had created a virtual nation, defined as any community that communicates in cyberspace, whose collective discourse and/or actions are aimed towards the building, binding, maintenance, rebuilding or rebinding of a nation. Leonenet was a diasporic communicative space where Sierra Leone’s state-related symbols were generated and then held in conceptual escrow, waiting for the institutional structure to return.
Abstract from Robert Tynes’ Nation-building and the diaspora on Leonenet: a case of Sierra Leone in cyberspace from the journal of New Media & Society
“(Online counseling) teaches clients to be aware of what’s coming out of their mouths, what they’re feeling and thinking, their wholeness and whole bodies,” Mankita said. “It’s an exciting and empowering thing that we haven’t done in the past (in person) the way we can with text. Text is really powerful.” Online therapy is particularly suited to sex and relationship work, especially for clients who crave a layer of anonymity we can’t get by going through our insurance companies or driving to an office. And clients can seek matches based on compatibility rather than proximity.
Read this item from WIRED’s Regina Lynn
Links and commentary from MetaFilter
Google has launched an initiative to help charities and other nonprofit groups use maps and satellite images to raise awareness, recruit volunteers and encourage donations. The Google Earth Outreach program, announced late last month, represents a formalization of ad-hoc partnerships with organizations using the free software to publicize their works.
Read this AP item from the Nashua Telegraph. Previously from WNM: Mapping applications used by activists to raise awareness.