In 2003, my friend Kai Degner had an amazing (and amazingly simple) idea for promoting and encouraging civil discourse. It’s called Orangeband. It involves wearing or displaying a strip of orange fabric that serves as an invitation for respectful conversation about the issues you care about.
I absolutely love the idea of Orangeband. It’s a way to cut through the insane, polarized, and politicized discourse (if you can even call it that) that currently dominates our mainstream media landscape and Facebook walls. A simple strip of orange fabric carves out a safe place to discuss genuinely huge and challenging problems facing our world in a respectful and civil manner.
I’m happy that Kai is resurrecting the project and I hope it catches fire in a big way. I love the tangible and lo-fi nature of the orange band, but naturally as someone who makes digital things I can’t help but ponder how Orangeband might be helped by digital tools. My initial thought is that an Orangeband app would function similar to Grindr, where you’d be alerted if someone who’s interested in the issues you care about is in the area. Maybe you can get together and grab coffee and a have meaningful conversation. Just spitballin’ here.
Anyways, if you’re tired of the lack of civil discourse in our society and want to see things move in the right direction, I’d follow Kai’s advice and check out the National Coalition for Dialogue and Discourse, and make sure to sign up for Orangeband updates.