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

Democracy in its many forms

This post is as a result of a single line in the suggested corrections for my thesis:  “The candidate should provide a brief overview and/or explanation of what form of democracy is being referred to as there appears to be a conflation of normative forms of democracy”.  It’s a fair cop – while the question of democratic deficit is central to my interest in digital civic space my thesis ended up being...

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...

Digital relics and persistence of narrative

Just when you thought it was enough trouble to try and get your community to create a hyperlocal website then you realise that you also need to create a process of renewal and regeneration.  This post has followed on from a social media audit we have been doing up in Cumbria which has given me a new aspect of civic space to consider for the thesis. Cybermoor in  Alston Moor was created as a government-funded...

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...

Reconciling identity and place

I have been trying to separate and then reconcile ideas of identity and place online – this post is an attempt to explain where I have got to. I sometimes describe the social web as digital wrapper around our physical world. I imagine it in my head as something like a spun-sugar cage of chaotic networked strands made up of people and content that connect and divide around the location. Its alive and pulsing with...

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...

A really quick overview of online communities

This is a brief post giving a quick overview of online or virtual community as I realised I need a few paragraphs as I was putting my thesis together – might add to it at some point.  Online community is such an established idea for anyone who works with the social web but as ever with the academic stuff its not enough to take it at face value. “Virtual communities are social aggregations that emerge from the...

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...

Networked Public’s and Civic Spaces…or why I don’t want to end up making important decisions while avoiding adverts for viagra

I always feel like a special kind of social media arse when I talk about online spaces rather than websites but I nonetheless believe it is a meaningful distinction (or I really am that social media arse – you judge). I wrote this piece on the website / webspace terminology dilemma and I would still stand by it. In particular I believe the evolution to the language of space rather than talking about websites...

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