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A Few Belated Additions

Hello, blog – it’s been a while. I’m afraid I’ve been a bit slack in updating this site with recent events, so I’ve just made a number of rather belated additions. I’m about to head off to Europe again soon to present at a number of conferences, too (more on that in a separate post shortly), so expect the usual conference blogging again then; for now, though, let’s catch up on some recent news.

Part of my tardiness here is related to the Mapping Online Publics project, which is incredibly active at the moment. It now combines our major ARC Discovery project with a couple of ATN-DAAD-funded collaborations with researchers at the universities of Münster and Düsseldorf in Germany, as well as a CCI-internal project on Media Ecologies and Methodological Innovation. Much of our recent focus has been on social media in crisis communication, and I’ve now added a number of recent presentations to this blog:

Social Media in Corporate Communication

I’m barely back from my trip to Austria for CeDEM and my Twitter research methods seminar at the University of Vienna, as well as my public talk for Quintessenz and the Internet Research Group at the University – but today I also presented a brief talk on using social media in corporate communication at the Cooperative Research Centres Association conference here in Brisbane. CRCs are one key form of government-supported research centre in Australia – and the CRCA is the peak body coordinating and representing their activities.

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.


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