Homelessness and technological literacy: the Tenderloin Technology Lab


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Back in the mid-1990s when Internet cafes were springing up, I was part of a public access site that did training for homeless and anyone else who came in the door. It was called Virtually Wired and was located near Downtown Crossing in Boston.

Virtually Wired was a magic place where a disparate group of people came together to do something creative and generous because they saw a possibility for something better. I taught everyone from half-crazy street people to the former publisher of the Atlantic Monthly how to navigate online. Others taught people job search and basic computer skills. It was great while it lasted and some of those folks are still around. We would get together from time to time although Virtually Wired closed long, long ago.

Three times in my life I’ve felt that magic: the beginning of the local agriculture movement, the 1970s alternative energy bubble, and the Internet boom. In all of them, things just seemed to fall together because the time was right and the people all had the same vision. Maybe I’ll get to experience it again someday.

Typo in your title

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