2008 – Getting the skinny

2007 was the year of the online petition.

Downing Street invited the great British public to create and sign petitions on its website. Millions duly did and what an ‘insight’ it was. The media lost interest after a couple of months, but in eDemocracy conferences it was impossible to escape ‘the great petition debate’.

The BBC had a go. They mobilised an e-petition as part of the ‘Free Alan Johnston’ campaign. They got about 200,000 signatures from all over the world.

And even burger punters, McDonalds, had a stab. ChangeTheDefinition.com invited us to help MaccyDees to pressure the UK’s dictionary houses into dropping or rewriting the definition of ‘McJob’, which is apparently not a word with positive connotations. They even had a ad up on the big flashy boards at Piccadilly Circus. Cheeky.

2007 was the year of the online petition. Gawd.

When you read that back it’s despiriting. In the year that so many people went online, that so many advances, some of the biggest internet campaigning stories were about e-petitions.

Here’s hoping that 2008 is more exciting. Much more exciting.

Of course, the example of e-petitions in 2007 proves the rule that technology buzz predictions are impossible to make with any accuracy. All the same, I’ve been enjoying the speculation so far. Bill Thompson on the BBC, the Economist and Read Write Web are all worth a gander.

What are your predictions?

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