If you’re in London on 14 July, I know what you want to do: Attand the Voxpolitics Seminar: BLOG RULE, where James et al asks Can Weblogs Change Politics?. To answer this question, they’ve invited Steven Clift, Stephen Pollard, Pernille Rudlin, and Tom Watson MP.
I’d really like to be there, but can’t make it over to London. If anyone cares, here’s my take on the question: Can Weblogs Change Politics?
Blogs don’t change politics, people do. Mkay? 😉
Having said that, I must hurry and say that I think blogs are hugely important to e-democracy at large. In fact they’re so important that I refer to a third generation e-democracy, which consists of blogs and what follows.
The first generation e-democracy was stuff like Minnesota e-Democracy. The second generation was when we saw projects like the Kalix Rï¿½dslag and occurance of e-democracy companies to run stuff like that.
The third generation e-democracy is distinct from the previous generations by demonstrating a much more loosely-coupled democratic practice.
Tara Sue Grubb got famous when she ran for congress by running a blog, and since then we have seen more and more politicians blogging. In Denmark, we have (at least) Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, our former prime minister, and Morten Helveg Petersen, MP. (Danes: Send me more links and I’ll make a directory of Danish blogging politicians). Although there are some positive things to say about politicians as bloggers, this is not where I see the real news. To get to that, a bit more on the blogging phenomenon.
A blog is a simple CMS for publishing on the web. But the commodified, more advanced blogging tools are also publishing a lot of XML and web service stuff, and sending a number of messages around in cyberspace in cool new ways. For example, when I in my blog use a city name, I can check a button and have the blog tool go and find a map of the city and post it as illustration to the blog entry. I can get the blog to fetch a few related news, a book recommendation, and much more. Some of the XML that flows around also end up in a number of repositories and databases. We have seen many innovative services, such as Technorati.
Enter the Blogosphere: the emerging Media Ecosystem: “Bloggers and Journalists form a blogging biosphere that has become an ecosystem in its own right”.
Basically, we are getting new possibilities for a new kind of communication online, which we could call C2C, Community-to-Community, and related P2C (person-to-community), etc. For example, when I post a blog entry, I can set “trackback autodiscovery” on, and have the blog tool send a message to blogs I talk about, thus making my voice “heard” all over the place.
We have only seen the beginning here. A few predictions/trends:
- Moblogging, i.e., blogging from wherever you might be, via mobile phone or handheld device. We will see an increase in location-aware systems.
- Community blogs, like LA Blogs, but much more than just directories.
The Emergent Democracy Paper by Joi Ito is bringing in the concept of emergence to the democracy domain. Well done, Ito-san.