Second Keynote Speeches

Second keynote address

Practice of democratic citizenship

In the face of political threats such as terrorism etc, democracy is approached in a managerial kind of way. This is evinced in the way that OFCOM is over regulating publical communications commons. Public communication appears to be boring, opaque to the masses. This is seen in the kind of management speak by politicians which turns people off rather than on. What then does it mean to be a citizen when there is such little space in the communications space.

The public opinion is shaped through mediation. The era dominated by international broadcasting has redefined what it means to be a citizen. Citizen participation can no longer be accorded through spurious calls to action by politicians.

Will web 2 help or hinder citizen participation? This question is a misnomer because citizenship does not consist of a certain list of actions. It is constructed through structure and agency. How has web 2 emerged as a discourse to alter the questions of citizenship. The mashup is the archetype of the type of society that does not seek to reach a conclusion but is a continuous process of alteration and not dogmatic fundamentalist absolutism

This is the same as Wikipedia and YouTube and MySociety which are continually seeking to develop information

Web 2 approach to citizenship is away from established media sources but from the self-informed citizen. They refuse to accept discourses of plain and seriousness

Web 2 opens up spaces for the public to realise itself. Democratic processes require commons as well as established sources of information.

Rachel Gibson – University of Manchester – Institute of Social Change

Trickle-up Politics? The impact of web 2.0 technologies on political communication and citizen participation

There is a new trend or type of politics called trickle-up politics. It refers to the wider space in which politics is currently taking place. Deregulated political space – Web 2.0 – is allowing more users to work independently and this is leading to new ways in which citizens perform politics. What is the nature of this new politics?

Politics Before the Web

It was direct, localised and face-to-face. It had a live quality. The emphasis was on parties structuring voters’ choices. Political communication was party produced through newsletters and pamphlets.

Post WW2 through to 1990s: Politics becomes a more indirect medium – parties begin to lose their traditional importance. Media begins to assert itself. Personality based rather than party based. The role of editors and political elites in shaping political opinion. There was a growing sentiment that something rotten was festering within the body politic.

Politics and Web 1.0 1990-2004

Consequence of web for political communication was increased speed, increased volume, targeting/narrowcasting, decentralised control structure, interactivity, multi-media formats

Web 2.0 came along and is defined by social and participatory software being applied to the many. Web 2.0 is a conceptual frame rather than a technological term in that it has changed the way that many people do politics.

What does it mean for politics?

New methods of data acquisition are needed to show how and why people are using technology

The web is becoming an environment or context

It is having its greatest effect on young people and is changing the culture of participation

Web 2 trends – blurring of boundaries between users and producers – amateurisation of politics

Speeding up of politics – pushbutton politics and the quickening of responses

Blurring of boundaries between public/private – informalising of politics

Trickle up Politics

Diffused and decentralised

Individualistic – micro networks

Continuous / daily

Citizen based

Niche audiences

Web 1.0 receive/read mode

Web 2.0 send write mode

Web 3.0 more immersive mode – create speak act?

Virtual world may challenge some more of the freedoms and paradigms that we have come to associate with Web 2.0