Monthly Archives: April 2008

Digital strategy 2.0 – online today

Facebook message about Digital Strategy 2.0 refreshThanks to Zara, plus a press release from David Cunnliffe, I’ve found out that government today started consulting on the second edition of the Digital Strategy.

55 people on the Digital Future Summit 2.0 facebook group received a short alert from Zara letting us know that we can have our say.

Using online tools has been a feature of the Digital Strategy refresh. Presentations at the Digital Summit held last November are online, as is the summit blog, and a room on/in secondlife. A Digital Summit summary is available .

Up until 12 May anyone can edit and discuss the draft document on a the Digital Strategy wiki.

I’m still digesting the wiki terms of use. There are lots of rules, including the need to login before making comments. Somewhat ominously MED staff reserve the right to intervene as appropriate.

I’m hoping to get beyond how to have a say, to thinking about the substance.

Anybody using a wiki?

In preparation for the workshop I’m running next week I’m looking for examples of what wikis are used for. What I really want to find is examples of New Zealand community groups with a wiki, private or public.

So far, I’m struggling to find anything run by a New Zealand community group. Within government there is the Police Act Review wiki and SSC’s online participation community of practice.

What I thought was a whole wiki set up by Show Jumping New Zealand, is actually just an article hosted on the New Zealand Wikia. Wikia, I now find out, is “a community destination supporting the creation and development of wiki communities on any topic people are passionate about. We currently support over 5500 communities in more than 70 languages.” Many of the community and voluntary organisations listed on Wikia only have a name, many with just a blank page.

Searching on Wikispaces, I come across the Quit Group, a charitable trust running quit smoking programmes. Not much to see, and when I look at the history page: last edit was on 10 November 2006. An idea that didn’t quite get off the ground perhaps.

Fortunately I do have one example. The project being run by a consortium of national organisations developing an online collaboration platform is using a private Wikispaces wiki for its governance group. I’ll keep looking but I’d love to hear of any examples from Aotearoa, to balance up examples from the four corners of the world.

On a more promising note, I’ve installed an application to create movies of what I’m doing on my monitor. Screenflick makes it easy to create multi-media for training. It’s straightforward to use with lots of options on how to save movies. This programme is for Mac OS X, I’m not sure if there is a comparable application available for Windows or Linux systems.

Look out for my presentation, due online next week.

Update: Sam suggested by email I take a look Justwiki, which is run by the The Social Justice Commission of the Anglican Church. The wiki lists loads of useful resources which registered users can add to and comment on.

Gathering people together to take action

When I was studying for my politics degree I doubtlessly would have taken a course on the intersection of politics and the internet. Had something like this been on offer, of course.

Skip forward to 2008 this might have involved enrolling in a course by the farsighted Howard Rheingold (author of The Virtual Community in the early 1990s). He’s instructing a course on virtual communities/ social media at the University of California, Berkeley.

The course sounds brilliant. Imagine talking about how a 1960s commune influenced the development of the Whole Earth Lectronic Link (WELL) virtual community. Or about Habermas and the public sphere. Being the cyber denizen he is, Rheingold shares a series of lesson excerpts on his vlog.

No longer having the same amount of time to contemplate and debate as I did when I was a student, I rarely find for delving into the theory and praxis of cyberspace.

Then, out of nowhere, I find a book that makes me want to glug coffee and argue back and forth.

It’s with growing anticipation that I wait for “Here comes everybody” by New York professor and consultant Clay Shirky. The book is about the power of the internet for organising without organisations.

Even without a copy of the book I’ve found out quite a lot about it, including dozens of reviews. None of these have put me off yet but that could easily happen.

His schematic for describing the ultimate goal of the internet as being collective action is hugely attractive. And he seems to slide blithely by some of the web’s perils, such as the endemic marketing and disinformation by various elites. The examples don’t seem to have been drawn from activists in the traditional sense, but from regular citizens seeking to right wrongs.

I definitely think there is something worth talking about here. The promise of the internet to distribute power is in danger of being consumed by other purposes.

The more I look and scan, the less I feel the need to read the actual book. Though, as I found in the past after sitting in a lecture theatre listening to a professor up the front, actually understanding something only happens when you toss ideas around with other people and hear different points of view.

Aha! Maybe I could find some others in Wellington who also want to read Shirky’s book, drink coffee and rave.

All about Here comes everybody

Clay Shirky interview (mp3, 30 MB), by his publishers, 4 March 2008

Clay Shirky on Guardian Tech Weekly podcast, 25 March 2008

Presentation at Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University, video, 28 February 2008

“Does “Obama Girl” help Obama?” by Farhad Manjoo, Salon, 7 March 2008

Official Clay Shirky “Here comes everybody” blog

479 nz blogs and counting

I’ve just been added to a website listing blogs about New Zealand and by New Zealanders. When I checked today (4 April 2008) there were 479 blogs on Kiwiology.

I’m sure in time they’ll have loads of advertising, but at the moment the site is uncluttered. And even though the people behind Kiwiology are a bit shy about saying who they are, they seem a nice bunch.

They want to hear from the NZ blogosphere. As they say, “We’d love to get the low down on what you think about Kiwiology and look forward to your suggestions.”

“Nice one, stu”, I’d say. Great to have a place to visit to find bloggers under the long white cloud.

Take a look, and if you blog or know of a good one, hit the submit a blog button.