In the afternoon of the second day, parallel panels on Transparency & Governance and E-Voting as well as two workshops were taking place.
Track: Transparency & Governance
Evgeniya Boklage: Communication without borders
The rather theoretical but inspiring presentation focused on successful communication and the concept of the public sphere. Boklage wants to avoid the traditional concept and substitutes it with a system based approach. Public sphere has three main functions (Neidhardt 1994): Transparency (input), Validation (throughput) and Orientation (output). The traditional system of mass media does not succeed to pay attention to all of that and the Blogosphere can possibly enhance that. However, the political system is shaped in a way so that the public sphere does not appear to be transparent. The question is whether the blogosphere is a real contribution to the public sphere and whether the internet empowers citizens (vs. just a symbolic phenomenon). Boklage presented some ideas how the blogosphere could enhance transparency, e.g. the blogophere as a tribune for NGOs or politically driven citizens.
Noella Edelmann, Peter Parycek: Throwing the Sheep’s Long Tail: Open Access
Open access is literature that is digital, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions (Peter Suber). Universities are now facing a policy change towards making open journals the default. We can start with open data and opening up the publishing process within universities (by making open access mandatory). At the moment we are just publishing our papers, whereas in most of the cases the raw data is not accessible. Parycek is absolutely convinced that with society being one of the biggest content producers, freely available data and information openness will lead to transparency, trust and thus innovation. As for suggested implementation strategies Parycek mentioned we should all try to influence the policies. As the university is very dependent on the ministry in Austria, Parycek suggests a top down approach for implementation.
Workshop: Social Networking Tools supporting constructive Involvement throughout the Policy-Cycle (Ella Taylor-Smith and Ralf Lindner)
In this workshop three case studies as examples of the usage of SN in e-participation were presented. (As Ms. Erika Porquier couln’t be present a remote presentation was held :-)). The objective of one project (Ideal_EU) was to raise awareness amongst young citizens with regard to climate change and energy issues. As in Digg.com the proposals on the theme were shown on the homepage, their order being based on the number of votes they received. Anonymous and registered users participated in proposals ranking. The following mechanism has been taken from Twitter (each user being able to create a personal network). A multilingual tool (4 languages) was used.
The policy-cyle is a sort of idal-type model of the policy process (consisting of problem definition, agenda setting, policy development, implementation and policy evaluation). In the workshop we asked where SN sites are used in this cycle. Most e-participation initiatives would focus on the first two stages (problem definition and agenda setting), but some participants have also seen this the other way round 🙂 Closer analysis of the cycle and e-participation can help to better access the political impact of e-initiatives.
While interactive tools have been coming and going, is there any tool particularly useful? When social networking tool has an advantage is probably when it’s a pre-existing tool. And one should go where the people are, no matter whether it’s the supermarket or a social network. 🙂
(Workshop context and SN Sites in the HUWY project)
Participants contributions to the question of good examples of using SN tools in e-participation: hopeplus.org, www.i-folio.fr (finally, URL found! :-)), www.evropske-volitve.si (site from Slovenia dedicated to live events and debates).
Résumé (Noella Edelmann and Peter Parycek)
Besides that next year there will be more vegetarian food at the dinner :-), we are browsing through some of the insights. Parycek picked out some tweets from the #edem10 hashtag which seem to be the best summary. There have also been surprisingly many blogposts that shall be collected and sent to the participants.
The internet does not empower anyone itself, only we empower ourselves (Micah F. Sifry).
In the next year there will be two conferences for all the Austria lovers out there:
EDEM11 (Vienna): Conference on Electronic Democracy
Hope to see everyone again in 2011, you’ve been great participants!