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Politics, eDemocracy & Public Policy


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Presentation delivered to the Isle of Man's Social Media Club's Third Thursday, 21st May 2009.

Published in: News & Politics, Technology
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Politics, eDemocracy & Public Policy

  1. 1. Politics, Public Policy & eDemocracy? Some thoughts and challenges for the Networked Society
  2. 2. Outline • The State in Crisis?: a view from the academe • Political Campaigning: The Obama Effect • Public Policy 2.0: What works; what doesn’t • Just what is eDemocracy?
  3. 3. The State in Crisis: Manuel Castells  Vertical, hierarchical organisations are collapsing into horizontal networks  Major challenge for parties, governments and states controlling the flow and use of information [power] in networks  Internet, in particular, is driving growth of ‘informational politics’
  4. 4. Peer Production: Yochai Benkler  Commons Based Peer Production: ‚the emergence of a new information environment, in which individuals are free to take a more active role than was possible in the industrial information economy of the twentieth century.”
  5. 5. Political Campaigning: The Obama Effect
  6. 6. US President in 3 easy steps!  Took messages to existing online communities  Empowered individuals to tell the ‘Obama Story’ on their behalf  Understood the network effect and built solid foundations ready to scale accordingly
  7. 7. The Obama Campaign By Numbers
  8. 8. Insight 1. Long-tail Donations  Growing trend of micro-financing political campaigns
  9. 9. Insight 2. Death of the Soundbite  Voters watched campaign content – all the way through  Up to 17 mins per video
  10. 10. Insight 3. Networks vs Campaigns  Network is more powerful than Campaign  Messages can spread much faster and effectively  Networks are resilient, but not nimble  If you have a network of 5,000 bloggers and one says something stupid then it’s not the end of world. However, if you take away the central co-ordinating point they’re not easily corralled  Networks and campaigns can be allies, but they ultimately have cross-purposes  Campaigns share tasks but not authority with their supporters
  11. 11. LabList vs ConHome “Labhome is a community for people to talk to each other - LabList will be a content engine, offering insight, thoughts, news, [about Labour].quot;
  12. 12. Public Policy 2.0 What works; what doesn’t
  13. 13. Guido Speaks... ‚The Wiki idea is a good one for collaborative projects. Politics is not collaborative. The reality is that politics is a clash of ideas and ideology as well as parties. Only a deluded wonk would overlook that non-trivial detail.‛ ‚Miliband does not really care what the quot;citizensquot; think. The Wiki was a PR exercise in sham consultation ...”
  14. 14. Just what is eDemocracy?
  15. 15. eDemocracy: a definition ‚making [democratic] processes more accessible; making citizen participation in public policy decision-making more expansive and direct to enable broader influence in policy outcomes and keeping the government closer to the consent of the governed thereby increasing its political legitimacy.‛
  16. 16. ...but what if...
  17. 17. eDemocracy: an example? - MPs' expenses, by amount, on a map
  18. 18. If you get it, share it... Further reading:  Felix Stalder (2006) Manuel Castells.  Yochai Benkler (2005) The Wealth of Networks.  Dave Briggs  FutureGov  Extended Reach  Digital Gov UK on Delicious
  19. 19. Thank You!
  20. 20. Simon Collister Head of Digital Weber Shandwick 07971 612857