This is a short post with a big link: www.citizenrelay.net
Maybe I'll add to the post in the coming days, but for now I'm just glad to have been part of this project to trace the London 2012 Olympic Torch as it travelled around Scotland. I spent Wednesday 13 June covering a patch of central/south Edinburgh and speaking to people about what they were doing, what the Olympics and the Torch mean to them and generally soaking up the atmosphere. I have as many issues with the Olympics as the next events-focused academic (have a look at Games Monitor for more perhaps), but you don't find many bigger foci for media coverage, popular engagement and community involvement across an entire country. There's a powerful argument that says the Torch Relay is the only direct contact most of the biggest Olympic sponsors (you and me) will get with the event. By getting out into Scottish communities, from Glasgow to Tomintoul to Stonehaven, Citizen Relay has given those people a voice and a chance to share their experiences.
As a model for community and citizen journalism this is an engaging, exciting and sustainable* way of using free media tools and the hardware that many of us carry around with us. You can do a heck of a lot with a mobile phone these days, then get it out into the world far quicker than the mainstream media. Where will this go next? Who will take up the idea and run with it?
*Sustainable up to the point where those driving the minibus around the country begin to doubt their own ability to continue!
Here's a video that I filmed and @Kat_P edited: