So, what is "Voices of the Past?"

By Jeff Guin

Excellent question! And the answer is evolving with the web. For now, let’s just say it started as a dream–literally and figuratively.

We’ve been hearing about Web 2.0 for a couple of years now. Like a lot of folks, I sat on the sidelines to see if it really had legs. Spectating led to genuine interest, which led to experimentation and ultimately realization of the empowering nature of the social web. And the opportunity each person now has to find his or her own voice.

It got me thinking: how has the heritage community conducted outreach to this point? By putting out yet another newsletter to tell a few thousand folks how good it is?  Or contracting another sparsely updated website packed with pdfs and technical explanations?

Those questions led to another one: what would happen if we sought to inspire connections to heritage values through direct engagement rather than controlling information or telling people what to think? Without regard to education or experience. A place that virtually shouts “If you value heritage, you’re welcome here.”

The social web is about real interaction. To give people the opportunity to feel like they are a part of the conversation, rather than excluded from it. Of course, the best thing about this new world is that it’s easy to engage in and practically free.

All it requires is an open mind and a little curiosity. Which was my state of mind waking up one morning in late June with the idea of a netcast that ties together heritage values and social media. It wasn’t easy to get to this point! But too many magical things have fallen into place for me to believe I was wasting my time. But this is just a launch pad. Without your participation, it’s all for naught.

How to participate? The first thing you can do is use this site’s interactive capabilities. Comment on the news and blogs. Suggest future story ideas. You can also take high-quality photos and video of your events and preservation projects and then share them using the great social media tools out there. Use the tag “preservationtoday” on your content if you would like to share it with the rest of the community and possibly get it reported on the netcast.

So, what is Voices of the Past? I’ve answered as much as I can. The rest is up to you.

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