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...

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...

Net Smart – next steps for the virtual frontier

Howard Rheingold was one of the first people who articulated the promise of the social web. With “Homesteading on the Virtual Frontier” he literally wrote the book on online community. Rheingold is an unapologetic enthusiast for the potential of digital community and the network society but he is also thoughtful and balanced in his examination of how we are now using social media. In the same way as...

Identity and Democratic Deliberation

This post is partially a write up of the identity session I curated at #UKGovCamp and partially a framing piece to help take forwards our discussions about how we handle the question of identity within the We Live Here Project and Citizenscape development more generally. Huge thanks to everyone who participated in the session. The UKGovCamp covered a lot of ground and was fascinating for me – not the least because...

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...

Dunbar’s number – networks are not all rational you know

How Many Friends Does One Person Need?: Dunbar’s Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks This is brief write up of the Robin Dunbar book “How many friends does one person need?”.  I read the book as a balance to the way in which its very easy to start thinking of networks mathematically and systemically even though its incredibly important to remember the fact that social networks are made up of people and...

A tale of two networks

I’m not going to try and comment on what has been happening in London and beyond over the last few nights – I don’t feel qualified apart from to express the outrage and sympathy that so many people thankfully share – I do want to add my view though as I think the wider the debate about the causes and solutions the better.  The first step to a good solution is a good analysis of the problem –...

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...

How many identities do you need anyway?

This is a write up of a session that I facilitated at the excellent LocalGovCamp yesterday. I wanted to run the session as an extension of some work I am doing around identity that you can read about here – and luckily a bunch of people where also interested in discussing the topic and provided some real insights. As ever its a huge pleasure at these things to talk with knowledgeable and informed people who can...

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...

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