Communities aren’t simply some amorphous mass – they have their own, sometimes complex, internal structures.They are usually arranged in a concentric fashion – for one, in terms of their values.At the centre are a set of core values and beliefs: you can’t be a football fan without liking football; you can’t be religious without believing in a god of some form.Derived from these are a range of key principles, which you should adhere to but may be able to ignore from time to time.Yet further out is a larger collection of shared, communal knowledge – the better versed in it you are, the better a community member will you be seen to be, but you don’t have to know all of this to be accepted.
What follows from this is that there are more central and more marginal community members, too:Community leaders will embody the values and principles of the community almost perfectly, and will be well versed in its shared knowledge.More general members will subscribe to the core values, but may not always follow all the rules, and may have a more limited understanding of community knowledge.Marginal members are marginal because they have limited knowledge (or dispute agreed facts), break the rules more often, and may not even subscribe to the community’s core beliefs.
That’s just a very quick introduction to social media communities, of course. We provide more information – and strategies for how to engage with communities through social media – in our two reports for the CRC.More information, and contact details, are here…
Towards Distributed Citizen Participation: Lessons from WikiLeaks and the Queensland Floods Assoc. Prof. Axel Bruns Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia email@example.com – http://snurb.info/ –@snurb_dot_info
e-Democracy? Active participation of citizens in the public discussion and deliberation of matters of public concern and policy the organisation of communal activities and initiatives to address such matters through the use of online media Depends on the sustained presence of a substantial community of users
How Communities Work Communities are concentric – in values: Shared knowledge Key principles Core values and beliefs 3
How Communities Work Communities are concentric – in membership: Marginal members General members Community leaders 4
Strong e-Democracy Communities? What models? g2c c2c g4c2c? Civic Commons, Civic Commons 2.0? ‘Roll your own’ vs. pre-existing platforms and communities Coleman & Blumler (2009): a space of intersecting networks, pulled together through the agency of a democratically connecting institution
e-Democracy during Acute Events Online responses to acute events: Bypassing administrative hurdles Fasttracking community development and structuration Self-organisation around shared concerns Rapid prototyping, testing of tools and platforms e-Democracy? Can we learn from this? Can we tap into it? What principles of citizen participation can we observe?
The 2011 Queensland Floods Chronology: December 2010 to January 2011: unprecedented rainfall Emergency declared for more than 50% of Queensland Wivenhoe dam reaches 180% capacity December 2010: Flooding in northern Queensland January 2011: Floods in southeast Queensland 10 January 2011: flash flooding in Toowoomba 10 January 2011: ‘inland tsunami’ in the Lockyer Valley 11 January 2011: flooding begins in Ipswich 12-16 January 2011: major flooding in Brisbane
Social Media during the Floods Various platforms: Facebook, Twitter – updates and information YouTube, Flickr, Twitpic – first-hand video and photos Google Maps, Ushahidi – map-based information mashups
Different tools for different purposes
Various levels of maturity: Uses and use practices still developing Different demographic reach Technological differences: e.g. Facebook: built around personal networks; semi-private; discussion threads e.g. Twitter: open, flat network; public #hashtag conversations; update stream
#qldfloodsTweets 10 Jan 2011 11 Jan 2011 12 Jan 2011 13 Jan 2011 14 Jan 2011 15 Jan 2011
10 Jan 2011 11 Jan 2011 12 Jan 2011 13 Jan 2011 14 Jan 2011 15 Jan 2011 #qldfloods from Toowoomba to Brisbane
#qldfloods @replies authorities mainstream media
#qldfloods Network Map – Most Active Accounts Only(Degree >= 15 / Node size: indegree / node colour: outdegree) (See http://mappingonlinepublics.net/)
The Queensland Floods Community Self-organisation: Rapid establishment of #qldfloodshashtag Ad hoc development of community structures Highlighting of leading accounts, vigilant against disruption Suspension of petty squabbles (e.g. state politics) Innovation and rapid prototyping: Adjunct hashtags (#Mythbuster, #bakedrelief) Sharing and gathering of online resources Additional tools (Google Maps, Ushahidi Maps) Emergency services rapidly adopting social media tools (despite lack of established strategies) ‘Go where they are’ rather than ‘build it and they will come’
WikiLeaks as Acute Event ‘Cablegate’: Leaked US diplomatic cables published from late 2010 Collaborations with The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, El País Allegations against Julian Assange: Arrest and extradition hearings since 8 Dec. 2010 WikiLeaks controversy: Withdrawal of services by EasyDNS, Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, Amazon Web Services, ... DDoS attacks against perceived ‘enemies’ of WikiLeaks Involvement of ‘Anonymous’ hacker group A continuing (orchestrated?) series of acute events
A WikiLeaks Community? Various communal efforts: #wikileaks community on Twitter, Facebook groups Support and protest groups, loosely affiliated Political support – e.g. Pirate Parties Activist and hacker groups Celebrity supporters (Geoffrey Robertson, Michael Moore) Media organisations collaborating with WikiLeaks Developers of additional tools building on WikiLeaks data
Distributed Citizen Participation WikiLeaks as c2c: Successful mobilisation of broad coalition of supporters Sustained engagement with political questions Parallels with filesharing networks: Forced into increasingly sophisticated sharing mechanisms Gradual decentralisation of activities Assange and WikiLeaks HQ becoming less central Disconnect between government responses and popular opinion Taps into overall disenchantment with established politics and media
WikiLeaks as a distributed community:
“the world’s first stateless news organization” (Jay Rosen) But is it out of control? How can the enthusiasm of its supporters be harnessed for e-democracy?
Lessons from WikiLeaks and the Floods Key observations for e-democracy initiatives: Low hurdles to participation Make it as easy as possible for people to participate meaningfully Distribute across multiple platforms Find people where they are, harness the specific strengths of different platforms Generate a sense of community Let people define for themselves what they are working towards (or against) Allow community development Follow and aid the structures developed by the community, don’t impose structures on them Earn social capital Be useful, and engage in good spirit – and the community will reward you Conceptualise community engagement as a series of acute events, to focus and encourage participation?
More Information Social Media Reports: 1 – State of the Art (http://snurb.info/socialmedia-vol1) 2 – User Engagement Strategies (http://snurb.info/socialmedia-vol2) Axel Bruns Associate Professor ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, Australia Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @snurb_dot_info Blog: http://snurb.info/ Produsage: http://produsage.org/ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/snurb Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond:From Production to Produsage(Peter Lang, 2008) 29