Battle of Ideas Festival: FREE SPEECH IN AN AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Sep22

Battle of Ideas Festival: FREE SPEECH IN AN AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

The internet promised to bring people closer together and to empower individuals by bypassing publishers and broadcasters who had acted as gatekeepers between speakers and mass audiences. It has enabled new voices to be heard and sparked the formation of new communities and new movements. What sorts of speech should be permitted and prohibited online? And who should decide?

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Battle of Ideas Festival: SOCIAL MEDIA: THE PUBLIC SQUARE OF THE 21ST CENTURY?
Sep22

Battle of Ideas Festival: SOCIAL MEDIA: THE PUBLIC SQUARE OF THE 21ST CENTURY?

Can democracy thrive with a totally free web, or should governments step in to protect the citizens they serve? Is it possible to solve new-age problems like filter bubbles and the transformation of our public sphere with a more open online framework? And what can we learn from the success stories of democratic digitalisation overseas?

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Social software – get real

For the moment, discussion of social software is confined to the digerati and switched-on social policy think-tanks. It is likely to spread further afield, since talking up the potential of networks and mobile technology is now seen as a panacea for the ills of the downtrodden IT industry. The key idea behind social software is that by using technology we can reinvigorate interest and participation in the democratic process. Any...

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Computing communities
Oct16

Computing communities

The report's author, William Davies, hopes that new, technology-based tools can assist in rebuilding people's social relationships – with other individuals, with institutions and with governments. The argument seems to be that if we have little trust in one another, we should start trusting technology (1). To coincide with the launch of the report, the Work Foundation hosted a debate in May 2003 called 'The Strange...

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What iCan can’t do

The BBC's iCan promises to 'change the world around you', by providing an online space for people in their local communities to talk to one another, read about issues that matter most and 'even start a campaign online' (2). After creating a user account, you can start your own campaign, vote on others, write articles or discuss issues. Exciting stuff – but beware: at the bottom of every page it says: 'If...

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Organised defeat?
Oct06

Organised defeat?

Clay Shirky, adjunct professor at NYU, in his new book Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, argues that all this represents the awakening of democracy. People are more able to influence others by overlooking cumbersome official channels that are unrepresentative and out-moded, which worries the establishment – be they political elite, the media or large companies –  since it seems to go on...

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Powerful Connections

Coren is not alone in his awakening. In a few weeks Coren amassed over 4,400 followers, but that’s nothing compared to Twitter stalwarts such as actor Stephen Fry with 800,000 followers, or singer Lily Allen with 1.6 million. Even 10 Downing Street has over 1.4 million followers. But Twitter’s meteoric rise is also symbolic. It’s no surprise that celebrities adore it. But others, including politicians, are keen advocates, too, charmed...

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The Future of Community: Reports of a Death Greatly Exaggerated
Oct20

The Future of Community: Reports of a Death Greatly Exaggerated

Buy on Amazon. Contributing author. ‘The Future of Community is a much need challenge to the complacent and flabby orthodoxies currently dominating the debate. It asks all the right questions. . . . Suggesting compelling answers, this book will lift the communities debate to another level.’ Julian Baggini, philosopher and author of ‘Welcome to Everytown: A Journey into the English Mind’ We are constantly being...

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