Creating Community for a Lifetime

Big Picture, continued

CCFL New Year’s Resolution: Check Out Blogs on Aging

One increasingly effective way to follow current dialogue on aging issues is by tracking a few relevant blogs. “Blog” is short for “web log” and refers to a web site that contains dated journal entries – the most recent first – usually about a particular topic. Entries contain commentary and links to other web sites; some invite feedback and comments from visitors.

Although many of the 18 million blogs on the Web consist of personal trivia and communal diatribes, increasingly these online journals contain serious analysis and discussion in a timely, “real-time” fashion. For example, Civic Ventures, Inc. sponsors the blog, Age of Innovation: Realizing the Experience Dividend. Blogger David Bank, director of the Civic Ventures Institute, comments weekly on issues ranging from media coverage of the boomers to his recent thought-provoking coverage of the White House Conference on Aging.

In one entry, Bank shares his experience attending two conference work sessions in the same day. Delegates in the first session, focused on developing an emergency response plan for older Americans, “seemed to have little appreciation for the role older adults might play in leading disaster-preparation and disaster-response efforts,” he reports. And in the afternoon session, focused on promoting civic engagement among older adults, delegates “didn't seem to consider disaster preparedness or response as one possible such activity.”

Neither group seemed to be aware, Bank laments, “that the Corporation for National and Community Service had a day earlier, at the same White House conference, announced $4 million in grants to a half-dozen organizations that plan to involve 72,000 volunteers in post-hurricane reconstruction.”

In other entries, Bank chronicles the tension between conference delegates, leaders, and the Bush administration; details the recommendations related to social and civic engagement; and describes serious process issues raised in several conference settings. This is definitely not the stuff of official conference press releases.