The connected Citizen

Wed, 2007-02-28 00:48.

Quote from the Complexity and Social Networks Blog at Harvard, written by Alexander Schellong

The internet made us more powerful as well as making us more transparent. We have access to information anytime, anyplace. We can find, motivate or join like minded people to create something or influence a third party. We also leave our trails on blogs, social networking platforms, newsgroups or buying online. Governments and citizens alike can benefit from this trend.

Hierarchical government structures are the dominant model for public service delivery and meeting public policies. Although desired outcomes are mostly realized, this set-up turns out to have various downsides. Results are a silo like, inward-looking culture, slow decision making, change awareness or knowledge diffusion. While the latter also led to an institutionalized disconnect from citizens it can cause system failures when information and decision making transcends organizational and jurisdictional boundaries. Hurricane Katrina, the Avian Flu, various non-prevented terrorist attacks are such representative cases.

In addition, public administration has become continuously more complex. Economic, social, political and technological developments in the past decades have lead to a growth of the administrative apparatus, its size, power and obligations. Market-based reforms have optimized agency operations and privatized public services through contracting-out (i.e. Public Private Partnerships) or completely conferring them to the private sector. Hence, public managers and policy makers have to work within a sphere of multiple stakeholders and understand interdependent relationships for service provision, regulation and policy making. Knowing whom to hold accountable and a general understanding of this complex system is important for legislators as well as for citizen.

What can governments do?

1. Access
2. Dialogue
3. Transparency
4. Internal change

continue

Citizen Media: The rise and prospects of hyperlocal journalism

Wed, 2007-02-21 09:41.

J-Lab, the Institute for Interactive Journalism, just released a study, that gives a comprehensive overview on the emerging forms of participatory journalism:

Table of Contents
Introduction by Jan Schaffer

Chapter 1: The Big Picture
• Chapter Introduction
• About the Study
• Hyperlocal Diversity
• Defining Citizen Media
• Common Characteristics
• Having Impact

Chapter 2: Mapping Citizen Media Models
• Chapter Introduction
• Community Cooperatives
• Trained Citizen Journalist Sites
• Professional Journalist Non-profit Sites
• Professional Journalist For-profit Sites
• Blog Aggregator Sites
• Syndicated Multi-site Models
• Legacy Media Sites
• Solo Enterprise Non-profit Sites
• Solo Enterprise For-profit Sites

Chapter 3: Creating Content
• Chapter Introduction
• To Edit or Not
• Mission Statements
• Getting Back What You Put Out
• Reverse Publishing: From Web to Print

Chapter 4: Building Interest
• Chapter Introduction
• Starting Out
• Offering Feedback
• Expanding Coverage
• Assigning the Job
• Building on Brands

Chapter 5: Making Money
• Chapter Introduction
• Bluffton Today
• Wicked Local
• New West
• Village Soup
• Backfence
• Baristanet
• Voice of San Diego

Chapter 6: Charting Success, Sustainability
• Chapter Introduction
• Community Sites
• New Media Companies
• Old Media Companies
• Wish Lists

Appendix:
Methodology
Who Participated in 31 In-depth Interviews?
Who Participated in the Survey?

http://www.kcnn.org/research/citizen_media_report/

Eric Schmidt: Don’t bet against the internet.

Sun, 2006-11-26 00:41.

… what’s surprising is that so many companies are still betting against the net, trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. The past few years have taught us that business models based on controlling consumers or content don’t work. Betting against the net is foolish because you’re betting against human ingenuity and creativity. …


In 2007 we’ll witness the increasing dominance of open internet standards. As web access via mobile phones grows, these standards will sweep aside the proprietary protocols promoted by individual companies striving for technical monopoly. Today’s desktop software will be overtaken by internet-based services that enable users to choose the document formats, search tools and editing capability that best suit their needs.


Driving this change is a profound technological shift in computer science. For the past 20 years a client-server computing architecture has dominated digital infrastructures. Expensive PCs ran complex software programs and relied primarily on proprietary protocols to connect to bigger—and even more expensive—mainframe servers. The data and the power lived in these computers and their operating systems.


Today we live in the clouds. We’re moving into the era of “cloud” computing, with information and applications hosted in the diffuse atmosphere of cyberspace rather than on specific processors and silicon racks. The network will truly be the computer. … Cloud computing is hardly perfect: internet-based services aren’t always reliable and there is often no way to use them offline. But the direction is clear. Simplicity is triumphing over complexity. Accessibility is beating exclusivity. Power is increasingly in the hands of the user.


… put simple, intuitive technology in the hands of users and they will create content and share it. The fastest-growing parts of the internet all involve direct human interaction. … online communities are thriving and growing. The internet is helping to satisfy our most fundamental human needs—our desire for knowledge, communication and a sense of belonging. …


We’re betting on the internet because we believe that there’s a bull market in imagination online.

Link

On successful web apps

Tue, 2006-05-16 23:24.

The amazing thing about Flickr is that nobody uses the service to upload pictures. Nobody says to themselves “I need to upload me some pictures”. Instead, they’re satisfying some other need in their lives, like showing off the new kid to relatives. Or showing their friends how their trip to Europe went. Or letting their co-workers in on their conference activity.

All of these things have to do with their life, their relationships, their everyday activities that aren’t centered on the Web, but are made much easier by it. If we look closely, that’s what most successful web apps do: they make our offline lives richer.

Quote by Joshua Porter 

The Strength of Internet Ties

Tue, 2006-05-16 22:09.

On a related note to the post before the PEW Internet & American Life Project published a study about the social impact of the internet on adult Americans. The key findings are not too surprising:

  • The internet helps build social capital.
  • The internet plays socially beneficial roles in a world moving towards “networked individualism.” Email allows people to get help from their social networks and the web lets them gather information and find support and information as they face important decisions.
  • The internet supports social networks.
  • Email is more capable than in-person or phone communication of facilitating regular contact with large networks.
  • Email is a tool of “glocalization.” It connects distant friends and relatives, yet it also connects those who live nearby.
  • Email does not seduce people away from in-person and phone contact.
  • People use the internet to put their social networks into motion when they need help with important issues in their lives.
  • The internet’s role is important in explaining the greater likelihood of online users getting help as compared to non-users.
  • Those with many significant ties and access to people with a variety of different occupations are more likely to get help from their networks.
  • Internet users have somewhat larger social networks than non-users. The median size of an American’s network of core and significant ties is 35. For internet users, the median network size is 37; for non-users it is 30.
  • About 60 million Americans say the internet has played an important or crucial role in helping them deal with at least one major life decision in the past two years.
  • The number of Americans relying on the internet for major life decisions has increased by one-third since 2002.
  • At major moments, some people say the internet helps them connect with other people and experts who help them make choices. Others say that the web helps them get information and compare options as they face decisions.
The complete study can be downloaded here.

Internet fördert soziales Engagement

Tue, 2006-05-16 22:04.

Kinder am Computer werden von Erwachsenen oft mit gemischten Gefühlen betrachtet. Sie befürchten, die soziale Entwicklung oder die Kreativität könne Schaden erleiden. Genau das Gegenteil belegt jetzt eine Studie der Northwestern University in Chicago. Das Ergebnis zeigt, daß gesellschaftliches Engagement, Sozialkompetenz und Wirgefühl - also beste Führungseigenschaften - online trainiert und gefestigt werden können.

Berliner Morgenpost, 11.05.2006

42 Signals

Sun, 2006-01-29 20:59.

Talking about Manifestos: Isn´t it an interesting coincidence that some concepts which have gained momentum lately follow quite similar patterns:

Bruce Mau Design: An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth
Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we've already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

37 Signals - How to make big things happen with small teams (pdf)
Less people, more power
Less money, more value
Less resources, better use
Less time, better time

Manifesto for Agile Software Development
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

The Cluetrain Manifesto
Markets are Conversations

 

Buy fax machine - get Global Manifesto for free!

Sun, 2006-01-29 20:53.
OKI While searching for a new fax/printer we stumbled across a webshop presenting the product with a slightly different description (in German) - strange times indeed.

We Media 2.0

Wed, 2006-01-18 10:17.

Although we see the term "hyperlocal" more as describing a fundamental paradigm shift rather than just narrowing it down to a definition of Citizen Journalism, the media sector still remains an important part of the global picture in this context.

One of the most influential publications in that area was the research report We Media: How audiences are shaping the future of news and information, commissioned by The Media Center and The American Press Institute in 2003.

Since then Participatory Media gained huge traction with emerging tools and establishing platforms. Consequently the authors Chris Willis and Shayne Bowman decided, it´s time for an update on the state of the news industry in 2006. The article "The future is here, but do News Media companies see it?" has a good overview on that topic.

Additionally the authors announced an updated version of the report We Media 2.0 to be published in January.

Brand Eins: Schwerpunkt Komplexität

Sat, 2006-01-07 13:42.

...Das Wort "kompliziert" stammt vom lateinischen complicare, das bedeutet: verwickelt, verflochten, undurchsichtig. Das Komplizierte ist ein Knäuel, in dem kein Zusammenhang erkennbar ist. "Komplexität" kommt hingegen von complexus. Es steht für die Begriffe "umfassen" und "flechten". Komplexität ist also das Ganze, der Zusammenhang...
Zum Artikel

brand eins, issue 01, January 2006
Schwerpunkt Komplexität