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RSA Event - The Social Impact of the Web - final programme

Posted on Thu, May 24, 2007 at 2:51 PM by Andrew Chadwick

Here's the final programme for tomorrow's RSA Event. Hope to see you there.

The Social Impact of the Web:

Society, Government and the Internet

25 May 2007

Conference Programme

13.00 Registration

13.30 Welcome and Introduction by Matthew Taylor

13.35 Politics and the Web

Georgina Henry, Editor, Comment is Free & Editor, The Guardian

Andrew Chadwick, Head, Department of Politics and International Relations and Director, New Political Communication Unit, Royal Holloway, University of London

Tom Steinberg, Founder and Director, mySociety and former policy analyst

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, RSA – Chair

14.05 Q & A

14.30 Coffee break

14.50 Web 2.0 and Social Innovation

MT Rainey, Founder, Horse’s Mouth Foundation

Bronwyn Kunhardt, Former Director of Citizenship, Microsoft

Nico Macdonald, Founder, Spy

Tommy Hutchinson, Founder, I - genius - Chair

15.20 Q & A

15.50 Does the web need a constitution?

Professor Cass Sunstein, Karl N. Llewellyn Dist. Service Prof. of Jurisprudence, Law School, Dept. of Political Science and the College, University of Chicago

Will Davies, Goldsmiths, University of London - Chair

16.30 Q & A

17.00 Close

Edited on: Thu, May 24, 2007 2:53 PM

RSA Conference on The Social Impact of the Web: Society, Government and the Internet

Posted on Tue, Apr 24, 2007 at 12:04 AM by Andrew Chadwick

RSA great hall

I'm one of the speakers at the RSA's special conference on 'The Social Impact of the Web: Society, Government and the Internet' on May 25th. Top of the bill is Professor Cass Sunstein, School of Law, University of Chicago. The other speakers are: Tom Steinberg, founder of the wonderful MySociety, William Davies, Institute for Public Policy Research, Matthew Taylor, Director of the RSA and former Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to the Prime Minister, and Georgina Henry, Assistant Editor of The Guardian.

For more information and to book a place (free of charge), see the RSA site.

This promises to be an excellent event. I've been to the RSA a couple of times before and it's a superb venue.

A quote from the original email invitation, courtesy of David Wilcox's blog:

"The RSA is looking to explore the political culture and norms that the internet has been instrumental in fostering, both in relation to centralised democratic politics, and more diffuse social and civic networks, including blogging.
Our view in essence is that the high hopes of the 90s for e-democracy and new forms of on-line consultation and community mobilisation have not been met. Rather than fostering new forms of constructive engagement, dialogue and 'pro-social' community action, the type of politics most favoured by the internet seems to be conversations between fellow believers, anti-establishment cynicism and single issue mobilisation. Too many attempts by public authorities to use the web simply involved putting existing information and processes on-line.
The communication model has been vertical and mainly downward. But we think the emergence of web 2.0 offers an opportunity to revive the idealism of a decade ago. While internet 1.0 continued to reinforce an 'us' versus 'them' divide between citizens and power, we can envisage web 2.0 encouraging a rich and constructive 'us and us' dialogue in which citizens deliberate, innovate and act together."

US primary campaign season kicks off... on Youtube

Posted on Wed, Jan 03, 2007 at 11:38 PM by Andrew Chadwick

A caustic but informative post from Jeff Jarvis about the recent launch of John Edwards' campaign.

We'll have to wait and see how recycled TV slots versus DIY video plays out during the forthcoming campaign, but already I'm beginning to rethink one of the themes of Chapter Seven - that online video will increasingly favour wealthy candidates. If the video is going to look like this...

...cost will make little difference.

Oh, and Edwards currently has 7500 friends on MySpace.

Networks versus storage, distribution versus concentration

Posted on Sat, Dec 23, 2006 at 9:05 AM by Andrew Chadwick

The orthodoxy is that networks are significant, but having just seen an ad for a 120GB 2.5" external hard drive for 80 pounds, it reminded me of the fascinating recent article by George Gilder in Wired. The steep decline in the costs of data storage over the last three years are arguably changing the game. The trick may not be in harnessing the power of peer-to-peer networks but of centralized storage.

Municipal WiFi

Posted on Tue, Oct 31, 2006 at 9:25 AM by Andrew Chadwick

Nice little article on municipal wifi in Foster City, CA. But how long before the telcos move in like they did in Pennsylvania?

GooTube again

Posted on Thu, Oct 19, 2006 at 10:48 PM by Andrew Chadwick

Interesting comments from Virginia Heffernan of the New York Times about the universality of video versus text online, reinforcing one of the themes of the book: convergence is finally upon us.

Two weeks and 200 dollars

Posted on Tue, Aug 08, 2006 at 12:09 PM by Andrew Chadwick

To crack the biometric passport RFID chip. For the UK angle, click here.


Bloggers have same rights as regular journalists in the US

Posted on Tue, May 30, 2006 at 11:16 PM by Andrew Chadwick

EFF image

Update to a development discussed in the Conclusion to Internet Politics. In March 2005, a Santa Clara County Superior Court decision ruled that bloggers were not entitled to the same First Amendment protections as regularly employed journalists. The case involved Apple Computer's subpoenaing of three gossip blog owners on the grounds that the sites published trade secrets about forthcoming Apple products. The company sought the names of the sites' 'insider' sources. The fact that these blogs act as wonderful free publicity for the company seems to have escaped their notice, but the longer term implications for more overtly political blogs could have been significant, had it not been for today's decision.

Brian McNair on the global digital news revolution

Posted on Sun, May 07, 2006 at 12:47 PM by Andrew Chadwick

An exciting trailer article for the new book. See also Jeff Jarvis's interesting article from the week before.

Peer-to-peer search

Posted on Fri, Mar 24, 2006 at 6:40 PM by Andrew Chadwick

A very intriguing development in the world of search, and the shape of things to come in terms of the anti-Google backlash?

Barack Obama and podcasting

Posted on Thu, Feb 09, 2006 at 5:33 PM by Andrew Chadwick

Just when you thought it was safe to assume that 'media convergence' meant more video on politicians' websites, there are some curious trends occurring. Democratic Senator (and future presidential candidate?) Barack Obama has been podcasting speeches in audio since September 2005. Thanks to one of my students at RHUL, Danica Dawson, for alerting me to this.

Obama Podcasts

Web services

Posted on Mon, Jan 23, 2006 at 4:53 PM by Andrew Chadwick

Some small, but extremely interesting new things over the last few months in the field of genuinely useful web services:

Writely - a web-based web processor.

Foldershare - free file storage and synchronization. Recently bought by Microsoft to fit with their new Windows Live service, so I wonder how long it will stay free.

Yousendit - not that new, but brilliant.

Wordpress.com - hosted version of the free and open source Wordpress blogging platform

Foxmarks - Free bookmarks synch that actually works.

Wireless and "great good places"

Posted on Wed, Nov 30, 2005 at 12:10 PM by Andrew Chadwick

A fun little interview with William J. Mitchell got me thinking about social capital - one of the themes of Chapter 05. In this I discuss Ray Oldenburg's "third places" theory. Oldenburg argues that since the 1950s, planners and architects have failed to incorporate what he terms "great good places" in their suburban development schemes. Great good places provide meeting spaces away from work and the home. They may be public or perhaps semi-public spaces, such as cafés, bars, and hair salons, but the key point is that they regularly bring us into contact with others, and encourage serendipitous encounters that extend our social ties.

The interesting thing about Mitchell's theory of the wirelessly-powered urban environment is that the "great good places" become significant not for what they actually provide in the way of face to face human interaction but rather as venues where it is acceptable to connect with others not present. How many times have you walked into a Starbucks, looked around, and realised that everyone in the shop is communicating with someone physically absent, via phone, text, or email? The urban environment provides a sort of skeletal architecture for these things to occur - chairs, coffee, heating - but do these "great good places" now actually work in the way Oldenburg wants them to?

The WSIS outcome

Posted on Mon, Nov 21, 2005 at 11:03 AM by Andrew Chadwick

The second round of the WSIS has been completed and a decision made on Internet governance. The details are yet to fully emerge, but the basic result is a compromise: minor reform of the existing arrangements. ICANN will retain its control over the DNS, and the United States will formally retain its control over ICANN. A new Internet Governance Forum will be created to accommodate civil society groups, but its powers appear to be limited, and it is also uncertain how much of a role governments will play in its operation.

At the moment, the UN/intergovernmental control proposal - originally tabled by a group of countries including China, Brazil, Iran and Pakistan, and supported by the EU back in late summer - has been pushed aside. Strangely, the EU delegates remained very quiet on this. A report by Kieren McCarthy in the Guardian suggests that a letter from Condoleezza Rice in the build-up to the WSIS asked the EU to reconsider.

Most commentators seem to be suggesting that this is the beginning rather than the end of the Internet governance battle. There is an interesting perspective by Milton Mueller at ICANNwatch. He suggests that the decision strengthens the role of governments in ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee and the new Forum will also be open to governmental influence. In other words, those states pushing for greater control will have an opportunity to continue - inside ICANN's structures. All with US oversight of course.

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