Stuff what I has been reading: 17/02/10 – 24/02/10

'Reading the TV novels summary' by pedrosimoes7

Over the last seven days, I have become a richer and more-engaging person for having read:

1. ‘Evaluating our blogs‘ from Stephen Hale’s FCO blog

“Foreign Office bloggers should focus on making sure that their blogs are integrated, personal, real-time, and 2-way. These are the headline findings of our detailed evaluation of the impact and reach of our blog”

The latest in a strong series of evaluations by the FCO’s Digital Diplomacy Group of their digital media activities. A very useful, well set out contribution to the growing body of research on governments’ use of digital engagement.

2. ‘British Social Attitudes 25th Report‘ from the National Centre for Social Research

“Every year the British Social Attitudes survey asks around 3000 people what it’s like to live in Britain and how they think Britain is run. The survey tracks people’s changing social, political and moral attitudes and informs the development of public policy.”

Published back in January, this report and the short summary of findings provided online, are essential reading on the British social attitudes ahead of the General Election.

3. ‘How to handle and encourage trailblazers‘ by Laurence Jackson for Guardian Public

“The public sector is hardly renowned for taking risks, but leaders should be able to identify trailblazers in their organisation – employees with a creative spark or energy or vision – and encourage them to realise their potential”

An overview of a study – conducted by Manchester Business School and Wickland Westcott – of the characteristics, career history and ambitions of 30 public sector leaders, selected for their ability to drive transformation in public services.

Stuff what I has been reading… 27/07 – 02/08

Push too hard for revenue in the short term, they might drive away users, undermining a network. Leave it too late to monetise and the business could collapse.

Social media – is it about money or people?

[From The Economist]

There are no self-evident connections between the key objectives of counter-terrorism, development, democracy/ state-building and counter-insurgency. Counter-insurgency is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for state-building.

Rory Stewart knows Afghanistan, and this essay is a expert analysis of the problems with the Afghan ‘mission’; it is a pity that his solution to the problem is not as clear as his diagnosis of the problem.

[From the London Review of Books]

Of all the economic bubbles that have been pricked, few have burst more spectacularly than the reputation of economics itself.

A spirited but balanced defence of the dismal science.

[From The Economist]

The View from the Street

Google Street View

For all those worried about the impact of Google Street View on privacy in the UK should try this little exercise.

  1. Bring up Google Maps.
  2. Zoom out so all of the UK is in view.
  3. Pick up the orange ‘human’ icon and hover it near the Sceptred Isle.
  4. Take in all of the country that is highlighted in blue; that’s the parts of the UK available through Street View.
  5. Now do the same for the USA…

Puts things in perspective doesn’t it.

Stuff what I has been reading… 02/03 – 08/03

The ‘Dunbar number’ in the age of social networking

An intriguing article that explores whether given the technical opportunity an individual’s stable social network can push beyond Robert Dunbar’s 148.

The transformative potential of the ‘Fifth Estate’

Professor Bill Dutton, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute, persuasively defines an emergent ‘Fifth Estate’ enabled by digital media and explores its transformative potential. Dutton’s article is strengthened by his linking of the transformative influence of the ‘Fifth Estate’ on politics with its effect on education, work and other areas of society.

Helpless or hapless?

This stood out for Jeff Jarvis‘ pithy summary of all the different financial ‘rescue options’ open to newspapers facing uncertain digital futures, and why he believes none of them are any use.

Stuff what I has been reading… 23/02 – 01/03

Second Life is a feudal society

James Grimmelmann produces a very well-worked analysis of the law and feudal dimensions of Second Life. ‘Virtual worlds built purely for play and where the stakes are not too large should remain mostly untouched by the offline legal system’, he writes, but are we not always hearing how Second Life is a real market?

Can Social Networking Technology Undo Old Political Networks?

No, says Silvio Waisbord, Assistant Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. And, quite frankly, he’s tired of hearing the suggestion that it might. Quite a loosely-argued piece, but I pick it up because hidden somewhere in there is a fantastic research opportunity to analyse what happens to a polity when the discourse is split across conventional and innovative media.

MPs talk but don’t listen online

… so reports the Hansard Society in its recent snapshot of the ways in which parliamentarians are – or are not – making use of digital media. Disappointing that the pace of change has been so slow. It would be great if the next report went local to find out what constituents think.

Stuff what I has been reading… 16/02 – 22/02

Things I’ve read this week…

BarackObama.com to Change.gov

The Obama election campaign will always be remembered for its use of the web to keep voters up-to-date and engaged. But how will this campaign momentum transfer to the Administration? This Pew research shows that as campaigning becomes governing, half of Obama voters expect the frequency of contact to be maintained.

Leadbeater gets Carter
Charlie Leadbeater is peeved with the low-sights of the Digital Britain report . Charlie makes some good points about the reports lack of engagement with changing business models business in digital media. But I am disappointed by his generalisations that government doesn’t get digital. I for one don’t think that’s true.

Decisions, decisions
Good collective decisions depend on the amount of information available but also the ability of individuals to determine the veracity of the information. At least, that’s how it works for bees.

Join the Movement: Channel4’s Counter-Cultural Commissioning

The Scottish chapter of 4iP got its official launch yesterday evening in Glasgow.

Presentations were delivered by Stuart Cosgrove, Tom Loosemore and Ewan McIntosh, respectively 4’s Head of Nations and Regions, Head of 4iP and 4iP’s Digital Commissioner (Northern Ireland and Scotland).

There was nothing about the practicals of the fund that couldn’t have picked up from visiting the 4iP website, but it would have been good if you wanted to get a handle on the ‘personality’ of 4iP. And it’s this personality, this approach to conducting 4iP, that is all important.

When Tom and Ewan spoke they repeatedly returned to the idea that 4iP was about ‘stirring things up’ and ‘making trouble’. The language and the tone was counter-cultural; under their stewardship, 4iP is setting out to challenge conventional business models, form innovative partnerships and disrupt the norms of commissioning.

It won’t be easy. But I like it.
Continue reading “Join the Movement: Channel4’s Counter-Cultural Commissioning”