August 20, 2005 | Graham

Galvanising the fourth estate

The media is the other missing ingredient in the eDemocracy tiramisu (see my blog post of 16th August for the context). That was part of the theme of a joint presentation by Terry Flew and me given on the third day of the eDemocracy conference. While it was joint, it was a two part presentation where Terry spoke to a paper that he had prepared for the Oxford Internet Institute Summer Doctoral Program,which was held in Beijing.
My “paper” was a power-point presentation, which you can download here. The issue that we both addressed was the inadequacy of current approaches to eDemocracy (our own excepted, of course). Terry told the joke about the Irishman who, when asked the way to Dublin, said “Well, I wouldn’t start from here,” to underscore the point.
I addressed the issue of what Stephen Coleman calls a “culture of sobriety” or the “aesthetics” of eDemocracy. Why is On Line Opinion the eDemocracy project most likely to succeed in Australia, according to one of the significant presenters at the conference? Because it has a buzz around it which comes from having a community which contributes to and drives the site. But also because it doesn’t get overwhelmed by that community and self-consciously conducts itself as a model for an Internet media organisation.
We’re not a blancmange, like the Indi sites, and we have a pulse, unlike most government sites. It’s a hard balancing act to pull off. But it’s one that more sites need to attempt, or eDemocracy will continue to be a word that makes people look at you quite blankly!
Note: You can download Martin Stewart-Weeks presentation, which I referred to in the earlier post, here.

Posted by Graham at 6:30 pm | Comments Off on Galvanising the fourth estate |
Filed under: eDemocracy

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