Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Human Side of Blogging - Philip Stern

I've known Philip Stern for many years here in Toronto, and was pleasantly surprised to see him in a great human interest story in today's Globe & Mail. Like me, Philip is a consultant in the tech space, and is pretty web savvy. He also has a big heart, and as the story explains, he's struck up a friendship with a homeless man who frequents his local cafe.

Aside from the goodness of this outreach, there's a wonderful tech angle here that should be of interest to anyone reading my blog. Ever the fair-trade entrepreneur, Philip recognized that Tony, his coffee companion, has a lot to say, but lacks a voice to connect with world at large.

So, Philip has recently set up a blog solely for this purpose - They chat, share stories, and Philip puts it up on the blog, allowing Tony to get his thoughts out there. It's a fascinating window on street life, and what it means to be homeless.

Aside from reading about what it's like to be Tony - along with photos from Philip for a visual perspective - the links on the blog page indicate there's a web-based ecosystem out there around the homeless world. There are links there to both support groups dedicated to the needs of the homeless, as well as other homeless people/groups who have found a way to get on the Net.

This really struck me, and from a blogger's perspective, it's a great example of how the Web works in weird and wonderful ways. It's not just about tech or commerce, that's for sure, and this story says a lot of about how blogs can serve a higher purpose, and is a truly democratic medium that gives a voice to those who usually don't have one. And of course, it's all the more profound in the week leading up to XMas.

Well done, Philip - you're setting the bar high here, and hopefully this will inspire others to find similar ways to use technology for the public good.

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