Monthly Archives: May 2008

links for 2008-05-30

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links for 2008-05-29

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ONE SMALL TWEET FOR MANKIND

Gordon Brown’s much publicised tweet has created some turbulence in coffee thoughts.  On the face of it the tweet can really be seen as a step change.   His minute-by-minute, almost ludicrously detailed commentary of his PM’s agenda, complete with interactive feedback from its audience, represents a monumental shift in how politicians – or at least their staff – communicate with citizens.   So putting aside any cynicism about tweeting being a part of a Brown relaunch it’s a move that has to be applauded at least in spirit of the transparency it could engender in relationships between the governors and the governed.

However, the essential ‘news worthiness of this initiative worries me: why should an official tweet  be so unusual that it makes the news?  The Internet as a force for empowering citizens and conversations with politicians and policy makers has been broadly understood since the 2004 Presidential election.  In this time, a pioneering society should have been able to deploy a myriad of tools and channels to build this dialogue between institutions and citizens.  Yet apart from isolated acts the No10 petition being a notable example the UK has done little to build a true digi-democracy. 

It is easy to see this as either a social failing, a part of Britain’s growing apathy with politics, a reflection on the innate conservatism of Britain’s institutions and dearth of innovation culture.   However, even in the US the tradition behind land of free has led to much greater dialogue but the establishment  of a true digi-democracy seems stunted or a preserve of special interest groups.

For me it noticeable that for the shift to a digi-democracy to gather pace greater integration with existing platforms and better awareness amongst citizens themselves of the potential for real dialogue, is required.  There is clearly a perception gap between what empowered citizens think they can do and the technical ability to deliver a joined up political conversation.

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COLDJABBERWOCKY PART DEUX

I am still rather stung by the vitriol coming from ‘fruit of’s’  comment on my cold jabberwocky.   In particularly as it appears so much at odds with the mood of the moment.    I came across a fascinating technology business the other day imaginatik who have an interesting product called Ideas  Central that allows its users to democratically source ideas and feedback from the online world.  It seems that in this world of mass sourcing ideas that surely some cold jabberwocky will inevitably rise to the surface but to quote a travelling Frenchman from the 19th century to focus on this jabberwocky is to miss the point that “the moral empire of the majority is founded in part on the idea that there is more enlightenment and wisdom in many men united than one.”  Stick that in your whimsical pipe.

In fact the more I think on ‘fo’s’ agenda the more I am worried.  If the pedants such as ‘fo’ get their way and ascend to becoming the influencer and online arbitrator because the shout the loudest and most humorously  then perhaps this majority becomes tyrannous? To quote the more elegant Frenchman: “As long as the majority is doubtful one speaks but when it is irrevocably pronounced everyone becomes silent friends and enemies alike then seem to hitch themselves together to its wagon.”   

Clearly the danger of this tyranny becomes greater when anonymity is allowed to go unchallenged so in the name of all that is good would ‘fruit of’ please reveal his true identity.

Disclosure: Edelman has a commerical relationship with Imaginatik

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links for 2008-05-16

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links for 2008-05-15

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links for 2008-05-14

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links for 2008-05-13

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Pub or Blog?

 

 

So the coffee question that’s been on my mind for the last few quarters:  is the online conversation today the same as the conversation in the pub or even coffee shop?  Well it clearly depends on the company you keep.   But if five years ago you were  to treat the rantings , ruminations and postings on bulletin boards, proto-blogs and use groups as a proxy to views on the broader ‘real’ world then it would have led to some pretty flawed analysis and decisions.   However, today with the scale of the online jawing and the new tools to monitor, analyses, catalogue and cross reference influencers do we now have the luxury of assuming that online and broader word-of-mouth are the same conversations?

A quick dipstick of the blogosphere gives a clear anecdotal answer:  you are going to be making decisions weighted in favour of sandal wearing values.  Let’s face it even housewife technology reviewer is hardly normal of her peer group.   Yet this may not be the relevant point the kitchen-based lap top reviewer may not be a-typical, however, she may be the influencer- the thought starter if you like. 

So back to the pub – slash – coffee shop.  Is n’t  this how conversations always started essentially with the curious or argumentative challenging someone who really knew their onions.   Indeed I am sure sociologists will insist there has always been a conversational hierarchy.   The ManU fan’s opinion on Ronaldo will always be sought as they will have watched him the most and will give the most passionate defence or support.  True we would be foolish to treat this view as objective so then perhaps we consult our drinking partner who played right wing for the pub team as having some expert objectivity in the matter and from there obviously the argument escalates until I reach the conclusion they should still have bought Berbatov to stand a chance of winning the league.  

So now it seems to me that this process is clearly happening in the online world with a dynamic which if it not exactly conversational is pretty to a dialogue.  This still leaves me the questions are the topics the same in both environments?  And then even if is so who are these darn influencers and would you trust and online influencer if you met them in the street to same degree?

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links for 2008-05-08

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