The big story from the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, which got under way in New York today, may have been host Bill Clinton reuniting with Al Gore (even though Clinton failed to mention the Emmy Gore picked up for Current TV to go with his Oscar from An Inconvenient Truth). But for NewTeeVee, it was the announcement of a program by Pure Digital to distribute up to a million of the company’s inexpensive Flip Video cameras to qualifying non-profit organizations.
The Flip Video Spotlight Program, due to kick off in December, will offer qualifying organizations and donors a buy-one, get-one-free offer for the Flip Video camera. The cameras will come as a kit that includes “all the necessary tools to begin using video technology effectively,” according to the release from Pure Digital.
While it may be easy to edit and upload video from the camera to YouTube and MySpace, there’s much more to using online video effectively than that.
The digital divide isn’t just about hardware, after all, but encompasses everything from language and education barriers to Internet connectivity. While certainly a laudable effort, it will be interesting to see if Pure Digital will be willing and able to provide the kind of support to truly make the company’s effort effective. It’s one thing to send video cameras to the developing world, it’s another thing entirely to get that footage back to audiences where it can make an impact.
The project would seem to dovetail nicely with the One Laptop Per Child project (where a similar matching program will go into effect in November). A million young people armed with a camera, a laptop and access to the web (and the skills to use them) would make for one hell of a citizen media army!
As with everything from business models to the environment, even the best-intentioned of video projects don’t address the fundamental problems facing particular organizations and communities as well as the global village at large. But hey, if one child can broaden her horizons by finding empathy from others online or reach out for help to transcend the vagaries of day-to-day poverty, it’s certainly a start.