I got a brainstorm after having lunch with Bobson Wong, a cool web designer / activist guy. We were talking about the need for more public awareness and involvement in what is happening at the United Nations and on internet governance issues. Today it hit me: the UN needs a community blog.
Ok, there already is a blog, called the “UN Dispatch” run out of the UN Foundation and edited by noted political commentator Peter Daou. But it mostly features cut-and-pastes of statements by the Secretary General and media stories from other news outlets.
That is all well and good. It’s nice having all that news in one RSS feed. But where is the funny, edgy, opinionated stuff that makes the blogosphere so interesting?
I am thinking that it would be cool to start a community blog space where anyone working in the UN system, whether they be a UN staffer, an NGO activist, or a junior diplomat, could post wise, witty and weird stories about what actually happens down these grey hallways. Just from my own limited experience I know that there are lots of funny and moving incidents that will never get reported in major media and only recounted over drinks after some UN conference. But maybe we need a place to make those stories reach a wider audience?
There are of course lots of ways this thing could go. It could be come a place for disgruntled staff to bitch about the horrible bureaucracy, nepotism and corruption in the system. It could be a place where conjecture and kant take the place of solid information and news.
On the other hand, a UN community blog might be a fresh window into the tiny dramas and comedies that make the UN such an interesting place to work. It might show that there are real human stories, heated debates, and strange juxtapositions that I know are there, hidden behind the security fences.
I am convinced that there are millions of people who care about these issues that the UN debates and tries to resolve every day. Maybe if we can show that there are real human beings who work on this stuff, reflecting on their crazy lives, making odd observations and telling their stories, we can help build more of a public constituency for the UN.
It might be fun to try, anyway.
I am thinking of calling it www.blackhelicopter.net.