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Why edemocracy didn't take off ... and what will?

I think the market never organised itself around eDemocracy - perhaps because it just wasn't something that people could relate to. Social media is different - its owned by citizens and as a result is far more dynamic - its done with, rather than done to them and people realise this is a huge distinction. Perhaps we were too early putting participation and democratic processes online - people needed to feel the conversations belonged to them before they wanted to use the web in a civic way because this suits an organic and self-managed nature. I think our energy now should be spent in trying to help people find the decision making processes which best fit the conversations people are already having. Your views?

Tags: Citizen, Democratic, Engagement, Media, Social, eDemocracy

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Thanks Amelia - great conversation starter!
All - when I saw Amelia's profile as someone working professionally on ePetitions and other projects I commented to her:
"It would be interesting at some point to hear what you are finding in the edemocracy field. I think it is losing favour as a term, amidst all the social media/engagement hype", prompting this post.
Hi Amelia, building on conversations people are already having seems good to me, but I wonder if more isn't needed than helping people find the decision making processes which best fit, although that sounds a promising start! Simply because adequate citizen centred participation opportunities may not yet exist, so maybe there's a need to work out how to encourage such opportunities as well?
I think that building on conversations is really only the start of it - what the real direction of travel is changing the nature of the relationship between citizen and government and moving towards properly co-produced services – has a look at this: http://curiouscatherine.wordpress.com/ - the vth research might be of interest to you. I think hyperlocal stuff can really put pressure on government to make this happen - as long as we all accept this is going to mean a new kind of interaction and that we will all need to compromise - for instance democracy demands a degree of accountability which is not common on the social web - but it doesn't need the formality which government often imposes.
Funny, I just made a comment related to this on the Local innovation: collecting examples of best practice topic.

"Focusing on council-centric approaches versus council supported efforts for the benefit of the broader community is the root of why "local e-democracy" in the UK has not lived up to its early hype. To me "social media" in the government context is just the latest term for e-democracy."

I happened to update our UK entry page today: http://e-democracy.org/uk

As one of the only citizen-based projects in the UK Local e-Democracy National Project, we were an odd duck for the councils to figure out. In short, no one with power will spend their own resources to truly open themselves up to very public criticism on their own dime. That said, the Councils that worked with us in Bristol and Oxford saw the power of sub-Council spaces at the neighbourhood level.

However, just as e-democracy was too-council/government dependent as it evolved in the UK, in the hyperlocal/digital inclusion/social media space coming from the outside it seems too disconnected from local governance and power structures. Our model sits smack dab in the middle and needs more friends. :-) I should note my bias against anything requiring journalism and news at the center (versus conversation) that doesn't have real access to sustained resources. If you can afford it/resource it, great. If not, don't give up. Find a model that is cheaper. Some people say talk is cheap. We say conversation is cost-effective.

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