New mix: “once I was dug up, I was sinking”

At Art of the Mix: once I was dug up, I was sinking. Also at the iTunes store with the usual caveats about missing tracks. This was going to be the third mix to follow the ones I made this summer before and during the move, but I have one more to come that might close on a more positive note. At least the mix ends on a hopeful note with the Richard Buckner song (which also gives it its title): “once I was dug up, I was sinking/I was longing to be saved.”

VBB: Citizenship – questions

A questioner points out that the Republican meetups are used to identify local candidates at the grass roots at least in New York.

Another questioner points out there are existing social institutions for conservatives (e.g. churches)—might that explain skew in MeetUp results?

Jeff jarvis asks Hoder what we should be doing to support international efforts. Hoder replies: localize blogging software! Blogger isn’t available in Chinese or other languages (true?) and this is a problem. Mixed blessing, I think. On the one hand this might mean that more people in these countries might be encouraged to write in English so we non-Chinese-speaking readers might get their perspectives. On the other hand, the ability to do blogs in double-byte characters—let alone what the text on the UI says—was the biggest complaint internally about the various ad hoc solutions available for Microsoft bloggers.

Q: Why are some voting technologies trusted and not others? A: (Pippa)—it’s not necessarily all about trust; there may be other factors.

Good comment about the influence of the campaigns on the liberal skew on Meetup.

VBB: Citizenship: e-voting and UK local elections

Pippa Norris: e-voting. She’s talking about remote voting, not Diebold, thank God. Compare with all-postal voting, which also eliminates polling stations. Advantage: convenience, reach immobiles, reduce costs, streamline administration… (really???) Problems: security, data protection, secrecy, integrity, accuracy, equality, reliability; social barriers including equality of access.

In the UK e-voting was done side by side with postal voting in a controlled experiment. Postal voting showed strong returns, an average of 10% increase; e-voting actually drove some declines, apparently. Young disinclined voters weren’t encouraged to vote by the new technology, but older voters were driven by the availability of postal ballots because the mail is a familiar technology.

So the internet is an enabler of these transactions, but it doesn’t necessarily encourage them. That shouldn’t be new to anyone except die hard technologists. This is an important case study, not just for e-voting buffs but also for anyone who wants to look at technology adoption.

VBB: Citizenship abroad—Hoder on Iran

Hoder talks about the influence of the Internet and blogging in Iran being largely social rather than political right now. But the former VP of Iran is a blogger—trilingual. Blogging can also route around media censorship. Interesting discussion—I’m going to have to go back and read his blog to catch up.

VBB: Citizenship—Tom Sander on Meetup

Tom Sander on MeetUp: 1. is succeeding in building social ties despite being in unsociable environment. 2. It attracted different users than expected. 3. Political meetups, which are relatively rare would be better if they focused more on social ties, and in the future we may get to the point where they’re not an automatic part of the process but a considered part. Is technology part of the problem or part of the answer to helping individuals build social capital (trust and reciprocity)?

Meetup has grown from 0 to over a million members, driven largely by political meetups (though that segment is now declining). Interesting prospect because expected to attract younger unengaged folks and has low barrier to entry. BUT—not a young person’s phenomenon—young people were represented approximately proportionately. It is attracting highly educated, engaged folks, and not attracting newcomers—and there appears to be a lot of turnover from meetup to meetup. How do you build real social bonds there?

Aside: I think the value of meetups is what happens outside them. Once a month isn’t enough to get anything done anyway—look at the networks that people build, the new blogs they follow.

Votes, Bits and Bytes: Catching up

Joho the Blog: [VBB] Votes, Bits and Bytes: Will the Internet Draft the Next President?.

I didn’t make it to last night’s kick-off but Doc Weinberger does a killer job of summarizing the opening panel, with some real eye openers, including Joe Trippi weighing in on the importance of the net allowing people to connect vs. just “message passing”; and his statement that “one party—probably the Democrats—will go the way of the Whigs.”

First up: citizenship

Charles Ogilvy hits the first note—making sure that we don’t leave society, and the unwired, behind with technology. Are we creating bloggers or lurkers? Are we exposing candidates or constructs? What role does the Internet play in society?

Look at e-voting. Sometimes the pundits get it (i.e. predicting the vote) wrong (Dewey defeats Truman, e.g.). Haste in rushing to judge leads to things like Bush v. Gore, and creates problems for society—such as lack of confidence in state government and the judiciary (see dissenting opinion in Bush v. Gore). What about Dean, and the Internet and the press turning on him after the scream? Venezuela, where pundits miscalled the election of Chavez; this election, with leaked election polls; South Africa; the Ukraine…

And what about the impact of black box voting? Cue the Florida voting machine movie

Morning becomes non-electric

I’m here at the Harvard Law School for the Internet and Society 2004 conference. So far it’s “quiet… almost too quiet.” Most participants were shocked to learn that there would be no Internet access provided; I however seem to be able to get on the wireless LAN, probably from being registered at the first BloggerCon.

So far Jeff Jarvis and Dan Gillmor are among those most affected by the outage. It looks like everyone is slowly getting on line, though, somehow.

I got to congratulate Dan on his new gig—he’s leaving the Mercury to work on af citizen journalism venture that’s so new, he says, he doesn’t even know what it’s going to be yet.