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

The FLIRT model of Crowdsourcing / Collective Customer Collaboration

Wed, 2007-02-28 00:15.

Sami Vittamäki , a business graduate from the Helsinki School of Economics is working on his Master Thesis and has just released an interesting overview on the structure and semantics of crowdsourcing models. The "FLIRT" model defines three groups and positions them according their activity and involvement rom the core to an inner and an outer ring. The second scale elaborates on the typical elements found in collective collaborative environments: Facilities, Languange, Incentives, Rules and Tools.



I would say, this approach is very much in line with the post of Bradley Horowitz , VP of product strategy at Yahoo! about the three main groups, that can be found on social networks: Creators, Synthesizers, and Consumers

The levels in the pyramid represent phases of value creation. As an example take Yahoo! Groups.

  • 1% of the user population might start a group (or a thread within a group)
  • 10% of the user population might participate actively, and actually author content whether starting a thread or responding to a thread-in-progress
  • 100% of the user population benefits from the activities of the above groups (lurkers)

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/

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

The law of locality

Mon, 2006-03-27 19:42.

People and information want to be closer. When planning where to put capacity, network designers are guided by the law of locality; this law states that network traffic is at least 80 percent local, 95 percent continental and only 5 percent intercontinental. Between 1997 and 1999, for example, 30 percent of al U.S. Internet traffic never crossed the national infrastructure but stayed within a local metropolitan network.

It might be a bit misleading to take this quote from John Thackaras Book "In the Bubble" as a proof for the relevance of local information. The principle of locality in this context refers more to the design and construction of network services using redundant resources that are geographically distributed across the internet.

However the law of locality can also be applied to various other contexts:

Complex adaptive systems and swarm logic heavily rely on local interaction that leads to global group behaviour. Even in multinational process networks local business ecosystems build the dynamic nodes of activity.

Toyota defines locality as a key factor for securing quality within their lean production system. The closer the employee is to the source of a problem the quicker he is able to observe it and take immediate action. This leads to the possible situation, that a single worker can halt a whole production line, if he notices a critical quality issue.

Locality even doesn´t have to be connected to a physical place, like online-communities and social networks that provide a sense of presence and nearness as well.

But all examples have in common, that the context of locality provides a higher degree of responsiveness and connectivity, which leads to higher efficiency.

 

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.

Get to the point: Boston Hyperlocal WiFi

Sun, 2006-01-08 14:21.

Wireless Pulse Points Offer an Inside Look at Local Communities

The Boston Globe is sponsoring a new initiative in Boston—WiFi Pulse Points. Pulse Points are wireless access sites that offer an inside look at locations around Boston. The sites focus on the local community, offering visitors interesting information about landmarks, people, and businesses that make up the immediate community.

The first two Pulse Points, which launched on September 27, are hosted by Barbara’s Booksellers in South Station and by the Trident Booksellers and Café on Upper Newbury Street, a local bookstore with a long-standing reputation as a wireless hotspot.

The Pulse Points are the brainchild of Globe technology editor DC Denison and WiFi innovator Michael Oh; they are designed to create interactive destinations in specific locations within the city.

"We created these sites as a way to share the stories that create a community," said Denison. "Every individual and location has a story to tell. As you pass through South Station or browse at the Trident, these sites offer an annotation to the location—an opportunity to learn a little more about the people and places that make up our community."

"To my knowledge, these Pulse Points are the first time a media company has used WiFi technology as a means of offering content, not simply as an access point," Denison continued.

The Pulse Points are accessible to anyone with a WiFi-enabled laptop. They allow individuals to connect to a network, but not to the Internet or e-mail. Rather, these Pulse Points connect individuals to their location—and each other. They create a "situational community" of people who are connected simply because they are in the same place at the same time.

Each site features information on the history, the people, local businesses, and landmarks that make up the pulse of an immediate community. The sites are designed to be interactive—visitors can explore the area, play games, and add their own content to the site through discussion forums. Content on the site is updated regularly.

"No one understands the events and news of Boston better than The Globe,” said Richard Gilman, publisher of The Boston Globe. “The new WiFi Pulse Points take that understanding one step further—capturing a moment in time, a spotlight on a location where you are spending a few minutes. The Pulse Points offer a glimpse into a very local community. Our sponsorship of this initiative is one more way we can continue to deliver the pulse of Boston to the people who live here—through a variety of different channels."

Boston Globe
Local Onliner
Rocketboom

Related:
Neighbornode

Paris plans DSL for free

Fri, 2006-01-06 22:55.
This announcement could potentially have a huge impact on various levels within the community of Paris and the example further proofs, that fast internet access will be more and more publicly commoditized as competitive advantage among international urban regions.

Topics from the UNESCO Creative Cities Workshop, 13 September

Wed, 2005-11-16 11:11.
Creative cities – catalysts for nurturing talent and creative enterprise
  • Barriers and opportunities in developing creative cities.
  • Role of public policy in shaping creative cities.
  • Ensuring exposure and training for upcoming artists.
  • Establishing public creative spaces – impact on local communities.
  • Integrating indigenous knowledge systems in the age of information technology.
Cultural industries - vehicle for local economic and social development
  • Practical support for micro-businesses.
  • Engaging city officials in cultural industry development.
  • Measuring economic impact – tools for fundraising and policy.
  • Pooling cultural resources.
  • Promoting “Creative Tourism” – interactive cultural tourism.
Creating a common vision – mobilizing multi-sector cultural stakeholders
  • Finding and engaging sustainable leadership base.
  • The press – advancing the city's vision and objectives.
  • Integrating city's evolving vision in city initiatives.
  • Communicating the local vision on a global level.
Connecting city's efforts to needs on-the-ground
  • Communicating city priorities to needs on-the-ground and vice versa.
  • Overcoming internal fragmentation among cultural actors across all sectors.
  • Realizing synergies - stimulating cross-sector partnerships.
  • Translating local collaboration on a global platform.