crab colony on Bruny IslandWhat does this really mean?

Is it possible to have a truly democratic space on the internet for everyone to contribute?

I have been Twittering for a few months now, and have found this the most open place to contribute my own or hear other’s point of view. You can be highly political, or not. Its up to you.

However, the limitations of 140 characters may not work for all. Also it can be hard to keep on track. Pretty, shiny, juicy tit-bits of information contantly pop-up and its easy to be diverted.

Here is something newish: Open Forum (http://www.openforum.com.au/content/learning-change) This is what they say about what it is:

OpenForum.com.au is a non-partisan site that aims to stimulate focused discussion on social, political, economic, ecological and cultural issues facing us today.

The site accomplishes this in two significant ways; by promoting time-limited (and often outcomes-based) discussion on forums, and through less formal blogs, written by and for users of the site.

Now a collaborative thinktank is a great idea. They go on to say a little bit more about the site:

Open Forum is an independent collaborative think-tank built around an interactive discussion website hosted and moderated by Global Access Partners (GAP). It provides a platform for focused dialogue on social, political, economic, ecological and cultural issues and challenges.

The Forum is registration-based and enables participants to make connections, share their opinions and concerns, test their ideas, raise and discuss specific topics, suggest solutions and ultimately contribute to policy development and economic outcomes for government and business, as well as the democratic process in general.

With support from the Australian Government and a number of industry partners, the forum operates as a powerful web-based consultative mechanism enabling access to and by, key people in our community.

Sounds SERIOUS, doesnt it? Obviously, there will be no 140 characters mini-posts showing up here. Also, if you don’t have a post-graduate degree, political affiliations or connections with the movers and shakers of Australia, chances are you will be too intimidated to post here. Yes, you’ve got to have balls.

Anyhoo, back to twitter, here’s a post that interestingly, twitter put me onto.

Twitter the forum killer. Read it and join up, now!

Advertisements
A fog of fear

The fog of fear

If we are coming to a crisis point on this planet, (and I believe that we are, but I also believe that crisis can be a catalyst for change), then reductive, linear ways of thinking are not going to deliver the transformation we need (Well, have they, yet?). For transformation on a planetary scale we may be required to create a bigger context than just you, just me, just your workplace.

A social network is non-linear. But is it an ecology?

The ‘ecologies’ of networks

Network Citizens (available as a pdf download from Demos) reports on the shift of power created by social networking and the rise of ‘network citizens’, who no longer respect hierarchical and bureaucratic structures.

The Network of Public Sector Communicators (NZ) blog has this to say about networks and public sector agencies:

Many public sector agencies view access to social networks, the likes of Facebook, Twitter and – incomprehensibly – LinkedIn, with what can only be described as either fear or deep suspicion. Some of them even go so far as to block access …As if, in the minds of the people that think blocking access to these sites will make people more productive (or protect them from themselves…), there is some sort of impermeable divide between what we do at work and who we are.

The message is clear. Understand the change that is happening inside your agencies. Ensure that you provide people the sorts of tools that will allow them to develop professionally and to invest and grow their social capital. Attempts to restrict the ability of your staff to build their networks (online or off) will only result in a disengaged workforce. (Networked Citizens)

suzemuse posted yesterday (Social Media is NOT an Innovation) about the WWW finally becoming a place of connection:

Communication, collaboration and communities are starting to become the mainstream ways in which people are using the Web. The social Web is no longer just for the “social media crowd”. I suspect, over the next 6 months, that this is going to become even more prevalent. I also suspect, that over the next little while, our label of “social media” is going to, if not go away, at least change. 10 years ago, people saw the Web was a place to get information. Today, more and more people are seeing it as a place to connect.

Some of the comments were really interesting. Including this:

allan isfan, on December 1st, 2008 at 10:22 am Said:

Amazing how long it has taken to finally get here. We are finally using the web the way it was intended and yet, it feels like we’re at the tip of the iceberg.

The trick will now be to figure out how to actually improve the planet we live on through the web. Solve big problems. That is what I’m really excited about.

Yes that is something to get excited about. It’s time to roll up our sleeves people. Let’s get working!

(more…)