Photo: Ben Goldstein
Micki Krimmel (right), 30, plays on a Roller Derby team in Los Angeles and sports a vivid Picasso-esque tattoo that occupies most of her upper right arm. A Web 2.0 consultant, she has a video blog, The Mickipedia Show, with a huge following, and she easily references the jargon of the techno-age, such as "wiki" (a collection of webpages that allows anyone to contribute or modify the content; the word means "fast" in Hawaiian). An early devotee of recycling (and president of her grade-school ecology club), she now plans to fuse her love of technology and her passion for the environment with an online community for sharing goods, modeled after the idea of neighborly borrowing. "It's partly the consumer cycle that's gotten us into the environmental mess," Krimmel says. "If you need, say, a power drill, you'll be able to find one here, rather than purchasing a new one."
Although Mildred C. Crump (left), 69, has never heard of a wiki and is wary of technology, one conversation with Krimmel convinces her of its value. Crump is not one to evade a challenge. This is a woman who as a teenager got the highest score in Detroit history on a district-wide high school placement test but was told that the prestigious school of her choice already had its "Negro quota." Nevertheless, she went on to become the president of the Newark, New Jersey, city council and created a program to mentor high school girls living in housing projects: They spend time in motivational workshops and connect with what Crump calls women of purpose, developing tools to make good decisions in their lives.
Crump is always looking for better ways to stay in touch with her community, so Krimmel introduces her to Twitter (online messaging between people for whom e-mails and blog posts just aren't enough). "It's as easy as writing a letter," Krimmel assures, offering to add Crump to Twitter right then and there from her phone. Crump just smiles in a way that means, "Let me get used to this idea." "Baby steps, I guess," says Krimmel.