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CeDEM Lightning Talks, Part 2

And here’s the second part of the five-minute lightning talks which conclude this CeDEM 2011 conference, which starts with Mark Thamm. He presents a case study of online debate about nuclear power which was facilitated and tracked by the WeGov group through established social networking platforms; this involves kicking off new discussion topics as well as tracking contributions to existing topics. WeGov staff also respond to existing posts from the general public to create further discussion. This process enables policymakers to engage with such debate through an intermediary service.

Next up is Andras Szabo, whose interest is in social news and bookmarking Websites like Reddit, Digg, and Newsvine. These sites generate compilations of news reports from professional media and other sources, levelling the playing field between mainstream and alternative news organisations; they create strong public places, and enable meaningful participation.

CeDEM Lightning Talks, Part 1

The final session at CeDEM 2011 is a series of five-minute lightning talks – so I’ll try to cover them all in two combined blog posts. Let’s see how we go…

The first speaker is Siobhan Donaghy, whose interest is in the transparency of electronic vote counting: after voting (using traditionally paper ballots and ballot boxes) has taken place, how are the results dealt with? Can technological solutions improve the counting process – and how can we keep the counting process transparent even though counting is no longer manual?

Models for Greater Citizen Involvement in Public Services

We’re now starting the final round of keynotes here at CeDEM 2011. The first presenter is Elke Löffler of Governance International, whose interest is in facilitating the greater involvement of citizens in decision-making – a move from big government to the big society. How far have we come to date? We’ve moved, at least in some countries or some regions, from law and order approaches in the 1980s through new public management models in the 1990s to collaborative governance initiatives in the early 2000s; the latter stages of this process are very unevenly distributed, however.

Even public servants pursuing these latter, more advanced models feel that they have not yet been implemented in any significant way; where new approaches are attempted, awareness of the also still remains quite low. On a scale from 0 to 100, EU citizens generally rate the level of user involvement in their countries at around 50, with the UK and Germany slightly more advanced than other countries – the glass is half full, at best.

Some Long-Overdue Updates

Sorry: it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. Largely, that’s because I’ve been so busy with our work on the Mapping Online Publics project – see the project blog for all the latest information. Following the various natural disasters we’ve endured – in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, to begin with –, that work has focussed for the moment especially on the use of social media for crisis communication, with plenty of outcomes already. In particular, this includes our two most recent presentations:

Slides and audio from both presentations are now online here – just follow the links above.

Gatekeeping, Gatewatching, Echtzeitfeedback: Neue Herausforderungen für den Journalismus (University of Vienna 2011)

Gatekeeping, Gatewatching, Echtzeitfeedback: Neue Herausforderungen für den Journalismus

Axel Bruns

  • 9 May 2011 – Guest lecture at the University of Vienna

Wie Blogger und andere unabhängige Kommentatoren im Netz den herkömmlichen Journalismus kritisieren, korrigieren, und anderweitig herausfordern, ist bereits seit Jahren bekannt, aber noch längst nicht von allen Journalisten verinnerlicht worden; noch immer flammen die Feindseligkeiten zwischen dem Medienestablishment und der neuen Generation von Webseiten gelegentlich wieder auf. Das alte Gatekeeping-Monopol der Massenmedien wird dabei durch die neue Praxis des Gatewatching infragegestellt: von einzelnen Bloggern und Communities von Kommentatoren, die zwar selbst nicht viel Neues berichten, dabei aber die Nachrichten und sonstige Informationen offizieller Quellen neu zusammenstellen und bewerten und so einen wichtigen Dienst leisten. Und dies geschieht nun auch noch immer schneller, geradezu in Echtzeit: über neueste soziale Netzwerke, die in Minutenschnelle Nachrichten weiterleiten, kommentieren, hinterfragen, oder widerlegen können, und über zusätzliche Plattformen, die schnelle und effektive Ad-Hoc-Zusammenarbeit möglich machen. Wenn hunderte Freiwilliger innerhalb weniger Tage einen deutschen Minister des schweren Plagiats überführen können, wenn die Welt von Erdbeben und Tsunamis zuerst per Twitter erfährt: wie kommt der Journalismus da noch mit?

Tracking Crises on Twitter: Analysing #qldfloods and #eqnz (EMPA 2011)

EMPA 2011

Tracking Crises on Twitter: Analysing #qldfloods and #eqnz

Axel Bruns

  • 12 Apr. 2011 – Emergency Media and Public Affairs conference, Canberra

Social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter have now emerged as important
additions to the arsenal of crisis communications tools – connecting emergency services
and mainstream media sources with affected citizens on the ground as well as onlookers
from further afield, and functioning also as a backchannel which can be used to send
feedback and requests to the authorities. This paper presents a close analysis of recent
events such as the Queensland floods and the Christchurch earthquake to provide important
insights into the way Twitter was used during these disasters, as well as outlining
approaches to tracking social media activities during future crisis events.

Social Media Use in the Queensland Floods (Eidos 2011)

Eidos 2011

Social Media Use in the Queensland Floods

Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, Kate Crawford, and Frances Shaw

  • 4 Apr. 2011 – Eidos Institute “Social Media in Times of Crisis” symposium, Brisbane


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