The Message is the Medium

951978_keyboardThe RAIC Alberta Chapter has taken an important step forward in strengthening the voice of architects in Alberta and across the country.

Since its inception in 2006, the Chapter has maintained a website utilizing volunteer resources. In an effort to enhance the long-term viability of the chapter, the website and other online collaboration tools have been successfully upgraded and transferred to the RAIC National Office where a staff of web administrators will now be responsible for keeping everything up and running.

The most visible results of this change are a new look, a new website address – www.raic.org/alberta – and a new general email address – alberta@raic.org. The former website name and email address will forward to the new locations through February of 2010.

The RAIC National Office will ensure the continuity of web technology from one volunteer committee to the next. This empowers the Alberta Chapter to concentrate on providing content for the site, which has been structured to require a minimal amount of technical skill. A series of online training videos has been created by the Alberta Chapter specifically to help new committee members get involved.

Chad Oberg, the Chapter’s outgoing Communications Executive responsible for the creation and maintenance of the website to date, notes that “like the blogging movement in general, this initiative represents an effort to democratize the process of web publishing and move it directly into the hands of architects.”

An Intern Architect himself, Oberg also emphasizes the “tremendous opportunity to reach out and participate in vibrant online communities that exist on sites like facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Wikipedia. We need to go to where the people are, as opposed to sitting back and hoping they’ll stumble upon our little corner of the internet.”

This priority is shared by Kevin Mullin, the Chapter’s current Communications Executive, who will help shape the future of raic.org/alberta as the base for this type of online advocacy.

Perhaps most importantly, with these new resources the RAIC National Office has expressed an interest in utilizing both the technology and training videos of the Alberta Chapter as a template for new provincial chapters as they begin to emerge.