W3FI Collaboration with Laleh Mehran
The W3FI is a social movement, a philosophy, a path to responsible connectivity between our online/offline lives and to each other.
Every day we find more and more of our lives integrated in the digital world, no longer able to lead separate lives, one virtual and one real. This means that we have to take control of and responsibility for how others see and relate to us in the digital world. We are proposing a new philosophy, a new strategy for our online interactions. It is called "W3FI," a combination of WiFi, the word "we" and the slang use of the number 3 in place of the letter "e" to reference the digital parts of our lives. Currently people already consider WiFi to be a sort of invisible shared connection that is all around us and shifting it to "We" indicates a new awareness of how interconnected we really are online. The W3FI project is much more than an awareness campaign, it is a movement in social activism to ask a new set of questions for each of us every time we click, text, or share a photo.
Borrowing from a Buddhist path to enlightenment, the project will take the participants through a journey of understanding starting with consideration of how their digital self (we are using the term "S3LF") impacts their everyday lives. Next they see how connected all S3LFs are and therefore how every action affects the S3LF of others; how their S3LF is a part of the W3. The final step is to decide to move from being a passive part of the W3 to being part of the W3FI, the collective of S3LFs who lift up each other by interacting positively, with encouragement, help, sharing, and understanding. In this way we address issues ranging from cyber-bullying to open-source knowledge.
W3FI will exist in real and digital spaces, educating and linking people; online it will be represented by websites, pages and identities in the various social networking realms. Offline we will have a traveling exhibition, where engaged learning allows for introspection about the participant's personal and global roles. Data and social networking information about the region to link the local to the global; tweets, statistics, and past visitor information will all create ever-changing landscapes of image and text on walls.
We believe the power of an activated learning experience offers a pathway for moving forward together in a world where more than 3 billion people carry a possible connection to everyone else.