Journey By Internet
The text below represents my thoughts on how the Journey web site should develop. It is a revised version of a short article which will shortly appear in printed form.
The Journey web site was set up when the Journey materials were published. Here at http://journeycourse.org.uk you can find an overview of the course and the key ideas behind it, as well as some basic information and contact details. There is a small sample of the material from the course. The site also has publicity for current events, although these are not always as up to date as they should be, mainly because organisers don’t always think to e-mail them to us.
As the Journey continues the web could have and increasing role, being used
· Publish new materials
· Share experience
· Suggest and offer opportunities
· Keep people in contact
The web site could become central to the development of the Journey, but to do so it will have to change. Ashram has so far only dipped a cautious toe into the digital flux, not even using e-mail for its communications.
The web currently offers the opportunity of virtually free communication to a worldwide audience, many participating through shared community resources. It enables publishing in a decentralised manner, using either page description formats such as Adobe Acrobat or simpler word-processing formats, so that material can be printed and accurately reproduced anywhere a computer and printer exist. Printed publications - such as this example - have lost their raison d'être and you are reading a relic of a past age.
Publishing online brings many advantages. Instead of being fixed at the time of proof-reading, corrections can be made at any time and new material added immediately as appropriate. Greater flexibility means that special editions could be easily produced for special purposes. Large print is available for those who need it at the touch of a mouse (and software could read pages for the blind.) Costs are largely shifted from the producer to the consumer, making it possible to supply materials without charge.
Online communities exist in many fields connecting those with similar interests through mailing lists, online conferencing, Internet chat and other similar systems. Running and moderation of these requires an investment of time and expertise I currently don't have, but perhaps someone will offer.
The defining characteristic of the web is the hyperlink. Our link page on the Journey site is currently under populated, but should be a powerful way to link with the sites of other similar projects, groups and individuals around the world. Please get in touch with suitable links.
The Internet also enables new people to meet 'The Journey' and perhaps also at least to start on their own personal odyssey as well as connecting to others to share it with. We should be thinking and working on Journey materials specifically designed for use on line, and making what we have already more freely available.