Thinking about using the social web to do democratic things…..

Birmingham maptastic

This is a slightly belated write up from the NHS Citizen event in Birmingham (details here) and is just intended to capture my reflections on the mapping exercise. Sometimes its good to let these things sit for a bit and so here are my observations: We can’t map everything. Both of the mapping sessions we have done really illustrate the richness and complexity of the relationships within the NHS system but outside...

Social Council getting its groove

I had a great couple of days in Solihull this week with the Social Council team and others and while I have a huge pile of notes and actions to write up I wanted to capture my immediate reflections/observations using the famous @danslee 20 point blog post method (yes – I know there are 22 points but its a guide only!!). It is working? Its great to see the project taking on its own energy – while it is...

Surveillance or Participation?

This is going to be one of those annoying posts which strays between research stuff and more practical things. I’m writing it to tease out an inconsistency in my thinking around both the thesis and also our design work for Citizenscape. It really is thinking in public so please feel free to look away and leave me quietly muttering to myself…… I am just neurotically tweaking (with heroic help from the...

Civic architecture in cyberspace

My thesis is (currently but persistently) titled “Civic Architecture in Cyberspace” and this post is an attempt to explain what I mean by this. Be warned that this also a draft for a section in the final document so may be a little slow…. When William Mitchell described his ‘City of Bits‘ in 1996 he recreated the physical city with retail, educational civic and commercial elements. He was...

Brunswick community meeting and the promise of cake

Last night we held our second community meeting for We Live Here in the lovely Electika Cafe on Western Road (yes – that was a plug – it is lovely and they were kind enough to open for us in the evening – they also followed through on our project meeting promise of cake at every meeting). This was for the Brunswick site – which was originally Brunswick and Regency until we realised (though...

Lex Informatica

When I say Facebook is evil its firstly a cheap shot aimed at getting an immediate laugh out of the audience – I have to say that it usually works. I think it hits a chord with people as all good jokes should. While evil is perhaps an overstatement its true that my values and those of Facebook are not aligned – they are making decisions which effect me which I don’t agree with – over which I have no...

Becoming agile

I sometimes use the description of the internet as being very like a teenager, messy, difficult, and creative and with a tremendous energy and excitement that is not always focused constructively.  The shifting cultural norms online feel as if they are driven by that generation and it’s not surprising – anyone born after 1993 has only know a networked world.  The issue for all of us is how we integrate these...

Who’s talking? Social media audits and finding the conversations

As regular readers will be aware….I have a bee in my bonnet about the need for someone to start building civic spaces online – spaces which are designed to support civic and political discourse rather than designed to sell us stuff. However it’s all very well having the idea – you then have to figure out how to build it. This post provides an overview of the social media audit – a piece of research...

Civic Creation – what is it and who does it?

This post is a good example of where my work and research start to come together.  Over at Public-i we have been working on a number of social media audits for clients and I have been working on a more formal framework to deliver this (white paper on this soon) and so I have been thinking more detail about the content that we are interested in when we talk about the local civic conversation. Much of my interest in...

Some thoughts on the Networked Neighbourhoods research

This post I one I promised a while ago in order to do proper justice to the excellent Networked Neighbourhoods report on hyperlocal websites. You can read about the launch event here and access the research directly here. I’m not going to try and replicate the excellent summary and background document and even you don’t have time to read all the detail it is worth taking 15 mins to read this (you can...

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