I stumbled upon the new dublincitybeta when I was bumbling about and saw a related tweet. The intent as their twitter bio states: “We’re trying out a new way of testing ideas directly on the street…we’re calling them @DubCityCouncil Beta Projects. – a new approach by Dublin City Council to experiment, innovate and quickly test ideas directly ‘on the street’…but above all, to ask you for your opinion!” Check out the website and the first beta project to turn traffic light boxes into fori for public expression. They are reaching out to the public by employing social media and encouraging discourse … more significantly and excitingly they have chosen a ‘beta zone’ and opening it up to the same experimentation. I like the ‘let’s just try it and see what happens approach’ … let’s see if we can all stumble upon something great here.
There has been continuing discussion over the past year over the role of Social Media in the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East. Many have tied the presumed success of the uprisings and the ability of social media as a mobilising agent. This recent article from Canadian Press suggests that social media is no easy answer and that the revolution/evolutions we are witnessing are far more complex and deserving of more thorough study.
The big question is though: will they actually make a positive contribution to the process or outcome? According to this article in the most recent edition of the Economist, Yandex (Russia’s largest search engine provider) and Yabloko (one of the opposition parties) have each commissioned and deployed iOS apps to allow for casual monitoring of possible election fraud and have agreed to pool their results. In addition, the Russian electoral commission has also deployed web cams in a majority of the polling stations in an attempt to respond to accusation soy widespread fraud in the run up elections. But will they work? Will we see the data and in the end will it have impact were it to substantiate claims? Well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
As you are all aware, Seán Sherlock signed the statutory instrument yesterday and Ireland has implemented our own SOPA-like law. It has not taken law for international observers to note this turn and unsurprisingly the reaction from most has been less than laudatory. One quote from TechDirt strikes the common feeling charging that ‘the government appears to be trying to move in two different directions at once,’ and suggests that ‘the first thing towards increasing innovation in business models online is not putting misplaced liability on service providers, not setting up a censorship regime, and not removing the incentives for the entertainment industry to actually embrace innovative business models.’
I was a little surprised, but maybe I shouldn’t be, that there is a U.S. Army Online and Social Media Division and they have a lovely official Slideshare account. There’s some concise and quite well produced presentations freely available on topics ranging from ‘all you wanted to know about Pinterest’ to Tumblr. The material is very current and when you want a good example of how a large enterprise is managing its engagement with social media, this is an excellent accessible example.
Here’s a great example of how social computing can serve Ireland. Social Entrepreneurs Ireland supports and publicizes unique and worthy initiatives that make social change happen. They are currently looking for applications for their 2012 programme. They challenge people to stop ranting about the social and environmental challenges facing Ireland, to step up and with their support make a change. Check it out. In a perfect world, I’d challenge you each to come up with your own idea on how to harness social computing and social media and enter it in their contest to get some funding. Any takers?