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Archive for the ‘Web 2.0’ Category

Over the past few years there have been a number of initiatives on institutional transparency – FOI legislation, expenses reporting – that together with greater administrative decentralisation have helped increase accountability in the political system.

Having said this, sleaze is making a comeback which means that we need to up our game once more to continue to enforce honesty in our political system. And with the arrival of web 2.0 we are better equipped than ever to do so.

This week I have come across a fantastic initiative from Sunlight Labs, an American organisation for the advancement of institutional transparency. It’s called LittleSis, an online application that combines facebook-like functionality with Wikipedia-like user editing.

Using LittleSis, any user can edit information in the site and profile those in power. The site focuses on 3 main factors about an individual:  Relationships (which includes Business/Government positions, other memberships, education and donation/grant recipients), Interlocks (people in common organisations), Giving (who they’ve donated to, as well as other individuals that have given to the same recipients) and the basic personal information.

The intiative has a number of challenges ahead of itself obviously, principally anyone could spread a false rumour about a public figure or organisation, but certainly it has a lot of potential to bring public accountablity to the forefront of British politics once and for all.

Web 2.0 has given us greater interaction between our politicians and the people, now applications like LittleSis could provide for a second key requirement for regenerating political life, transparency and accountability.

Hat-tip: Wikinomics

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It was no secret that Derek Draper was launching a new site aimed at strengthening Labour’s online army in the war of the blogs. A meeting was organised a few weeks ago by Draper for a bunch of Labour people to hear what Blue State Digital, the online strategy firm behind Obama’s online campaign, had to say about a new Labour online offensive to challenge the current Tory hegemony over the UK political blogosphere.

In principle Draper’s idea is a good one just not too original. As I have blogged before (here), the issue is that the Labour blogosphere already has too many ‘gateways’ and what it really needs is to provide one that really stands out, a Labour ‘ConservativeHome’. We have got Bloggers4Labour, LabourHome and now LabourList, all of them aiming to be a home for the netroots (and this is only after a similar site, Labour Outlook, was closed down). What this achieves it that none of them are ever going to get on their own the levels of traffic that Tim Montgomerie’s site has. If Draper wants to really create a genuine Labour netroot hub he should be talking to these other sites and propose a merger which can create a truly independent gateway. At the time of my previous post on this issue Bloggers4Labour was up for a chat on this, so there could be room for at least a discussion on this.

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Back in time with…

Brilliant idea from the developers at Google. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the company they have decided to let us take an unusual trip back in time. You remember how the internet was in January 2001? No Youtube, Facebook, September 11th, David Cameron, this blog… It is quite shocking how much the internet has changed in just ten years. Have some fun with it yourself here. Enjoy!

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If anyone is interested in reading about the state of the British blogosphere without spending any money or getting the guide for free at any of the parties’ conferences, just click here to get a pdf copy of the guide for free. Enjoy!

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Brilliant post by Charlie Beckett in defense of ‘amateur’ creativity in the face of professional journalists’ patronising attitude to the blogosphere. Essential reading.

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Friday round-up

Well the weekend is upon us. Today it’s been an extremely unproductive day. I have watched most of the Olympics Inauguration Ceremony (really really impressive), failed to finish off the methodology section of my dissertation and not much inspiration for blogging today either. But just a quick post with a couple of interesting things I found around on the internet just as an excuse to wish you all a happy weekend.

First of all this report in TechPresident on McCain’s ‘The one’ attack ad on Obama. According to a group of progressive evangelicals that has endorsed Obama for president the ad (that at first sight seems pretty ineffectual) is full of coded language for evangelicals that portrays Obama as the anti-christ. Strange to say the least, but on a second viewing you can see slight hints I guess (not a religious man myself so can’t really tell if it’s emotionally compelling). The video is below for you to judge.

And the second interesting piece of infomation is this online version of the book ‘Rebooting America’. A compilation of short essays on the potential a relationship between web 2.0 and government could have for transparency, efficiency, etc… I just got a copy of the book delivered to me by Amazon and hopefully I’ll get to read it soon and definitely will put  the review out here when I’m finished with it.

Nothing else, happy weekend! and I leave you with ‘The one’…

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The government and web 2.0

I just found out through Dizzy that No. 10 plans to launch a TV channel. It certainly does no harm if it helps to provide greater transparency, although I presume it won’t be too much fun to watch either. But the ‘funny’ thing Dizzy has found out is that their announcement wasn’t followed by taking precautions from the inevitable online prank. And a prank is exactly what happened, have a look at this…

This isn’t the first cock-up by the government’s web 2.0 operation. As Guido has embarrasingly noted in his blog, the widely publicised Ask the PM a question YouTube campaign never actually happened. Both of these msitakes are avoidable and embarrasingly amateurish. Which is shocking seeing how the open source government work under Tom Watson is looking great and the UK is becoming a much talked about world vanguardist in the open government field.

UPDATE: LabourMatters tells me that the PM did actually answer the question, it simply was delayed for 10 days. My mistake there.

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