by Tania Hanzar
Gauden gave a brief history of http://www.ldb.org/ which Eberhard created in 1998. The site is still preserved as it was on 17 September 2001 as a memorial to the life and work of Eberhard Wenzel. He talked about the increase in use of the web, so that now no one is separated by even one step from anyone else in the globe who has internet access. The web has gone social and Gauden asked 'can health promotion also go social?' We have the tools to blog, edit, discuss, publish, record and socially bookmark together. So if we have the tools why aren't we using them?
The health promotion profession tends to be strongly gated and largely silent in the area of online technology. Gauden questioned why it is that our reputation and reward structures are still based on publication in proprietary journals with no recognition for the efforts of any modern Eberhard? It should be more about encouraging participation not publication, and making collaboration creation possible.
The tools to aggregate, filter, and disseminate information are within the reach of even the most disadvantaged and information can be used as a tool to influence daily living and give people power and a voice. The health promotion community needs to practise what we preach and reach out to the community and share the values of participation and enpowerment.
We have always tended to use information as a simple variable, as knowlwedge or awareness, but the chal;lenge now is to develop a sophisticated model of information and address information and access and use of information by communities as a social determinant. Guaden gave many examples of ways in which the health promotion profession can start adopting the technology. We need to learn how we can harness collaborative tools; how we can use the web to create social capital and ensure that our work in the web is compatible in influencing social determinants.
Gauden finished by challenging health promotion to harness technology in a more systematic fashion! In order to take health promotion forward, we need to become active participants in the virtual world and use information as a tool to engage, empower and give voice to our community!