News Flash: Join the AfroSphere Facebook Group. Membership is momentarily open!

Revised: From the comments made in this entry, there seems to be problems with working and circulating definitions of “AfroSphere” and “AfroSpear.”  Within that definitional problem, there are the six bloggers within this think tank, who identify as the “AfroSpear Circle,” and there are supporters of the efforts to have an action and collaboration component in general who also contribute to discussing issues of the African Diaspora, known as the “AfroSpear Nation.”  All of these participants are included within the greater and larger “AfroSphere,” the general assemblage of bloggers of African descent.  To make this simpler and more accessible, those of us in the Circle will work on creating a “Frequently Asked Questions” page that will include information about what these different groups are and what they mean, and how to join the AfroSphere along with all the codes/links/networks associated with membership.  When the page is created, we will accept any and all criticism for how to rework definitions, updates, and anything related to its creation and upkeep on there.

Also, from the discussions prior to the creation of this think tank, as well as some of the viewpoints articulated after its creation in multiple forms over the past couple of weeks, there is a need for a connecting hub that integrates pockets of already existing frameworks and hubs of bloggers of African descent into one location.  This hub would combine the functions of a discussion space/forum, a feed aggregator, a commentary base, and an activity monitor.  We need to discuss how best to implement a project of this caliber because I think it represents the project a lot of people have been seeking, and it will serve to integrate many of the older and newer resources already available.  Please share your opinions on this idea; all contributions, opinions, and ideas would be greatly appreciated.  The sooner we can get a basic blueprint for something like this hub running, the better.

I don’t think it’s any longer a problem that we don’t know what each other does — everyone seems to have said much about how different things are working and why they’re working that way. The problem seems to be that we don’t understand why others do it that way and how these efforts can (and often do) cooperate with one another.

I will crosspost this to the AfroSpear forum and the Google group as well because it is a discussion we all need to see and to have. Speak wherever suits you. (On the forum, check the “Main Page” for this topic.)

So first, I’ll share what I said in a comment on thefreeslave’s post in response to mark bey on “Organization Presupposes Unity”:

I don’t think this is limited to personality clashes. I think it’s related more to misunderstandings and expectations, which I’ve tried to address in my comment. And the more people respond and say things like this–

I read most of the articles here I just dont comment on all of them so I am very familiar with what is going on. The problem I see going on is 70% personality clashes, 20% miscommunication and ten percent idealogical differences.

–the more I’m convinced that it’s not because people don’t have sunny dispositions. I think I’m getting an overall vibe that this project is new, and it’s not moving fast enough for people who want to take direct action now. But let’s not disguise that as people throwing hissy fits on the situation.

The main problem I’ve recognized — expectation and speed on working on different problems — it seems like a lot of people have written positions on it here and elsewhere. […] But yet the effects of this problem still seem to be hindering all of our efforts — so can we take this on already and stop trying to transform it into a petty squabble? Please? Can we decide how we can reconcile many direct action efforts with many independent brainstorming/discussion efforts? (Though I don’t think they’re independent; the two have been doing work relating to each other — forum and independent bloggers/think tank — for a very short bit of time.)

So first I’ll ask this: does anyone see evidence of what I’m saying, or do you think I’m being full of shit? Do the conversations that take place here seem unwelcoming or out of touch? If so, why? What topics would you like to see take the forefront of discussion in general, and why do you give it such high priority? Do you think the discussion would derive a greater benefit being shared in a particular way? (Meaning, do you think it will generate the most access on one of these new platforms or on your own site or through a different mechanism?)

Secondly, I’ve noticed that a lot of people dislike the readiness with which some members of the AfroSphere have taken positions and/or moved forward with projects related to political positions under the banner of the entire group — the AfroSphere/AfroSpear name. The examples that come immediately to my mind are the health care position statement and the Obama endorsement. That’s where I see them; if there are others, please bring them up. I think we do need to set the building blocks early for taking unified positions and creating a quick process encouraging discussion that does not slight or marginalize members who do not agree with the logistics or the political influences on a position. We need to decide where discussions of that caliber will take place and how to go about coordinating them so something is resolved. If you think this approach misses something or is wildly off the mark, please say so.

Thirdly, we need to figure out whether we want to use this collaboration to mimic other, similar collaborations or create something new by fusing together old and new ideas. There are approaches that will take more time but can incorporate more of everyone’s views, but they require full participation. Since a lot of us are unpaid bloggers with full-time jobs and lives going on offlie, it may be an effort we’re not willing to fully invest right now. But how do we harness the efforts we can invest now to institute changes? Should we work on building a base online, building bases offline, or find connections between them? How do you think we should go about these connections? There have already been suggestions and efforts in the works to do MySpace and Facebook pages for the AfroSphere/AfroSpear, as well as membership drives and initiatives. I think perhaps all the ways of communicating that we have should include a permanent fixture about joining the AfroSphere/AfroSpear, with locations and code readily accessible. If you have any ideas about what you think is simplest or think this is way off base, please share it here.

I don’t want to swamp people with too much shit to think about, so I’ll stop at this point. But if you want to go further, take it further. No one is anyone else’s leader here; no one should be coddling anyone here. So let’s actually talk instead of building fortresses and postponing it to some indefinite date. Everything we bring up may not be solved right away, but that doesn’t mean we should table it until it’s forgotten and it causes new problems. So please, let’s start talking.