March 07, 2007

Society, Government and the Internet: The impact of the social web

Great_room I'd like to open up the chance for readers of this blog to put their own views across on how social media could be/should be/is impacting on Government and society, and what Government and society have to prioritise in their actions and attitudes if we're to seize the opportunities social media might offer.

Tomorrow I'm in London's Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce speaking at a short, exciting event on how Government and society are evolving thanks to (or because of) the way the social web impacts on our lives.

The keynote is from the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequor, George Osborne, one of the few senior politicians to really get what the social web is about. I'll be one of four instigators who afterwards will develop the theme of citizen participation in the social web and Governments' responses.

Over the course of a decade, a billion of us have come together to create a global platform that connects us all, enables us to send a memo to the whole world and access our accumulated knowledge in two clicks of a mouse.

The other speakers and instigators are Mick Fealty, creator of the award-winning blog Slugger O'Toole; Brian Appleyard, author and journalist; Anthony Lilley, MD, Magic Lantern; Tom Loosemoore, BBC New Media; Mark O'Neill, CIO, Department for Culture, Media and Sport; and Adriana Cronin-Lukas, partner, The Big Blog Company. It's chaired by Peter Kellner, chairman of YouGov.

It's a great panel and the audience will be equally varied and interested in making a difference, so your views are greatly welcomed. Please also let me know what country you're writing from, as that might provide a better context for your views. I'll funnel them through to see what these policy-makers, politicians, civil servants and advocacy groups make of them.


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I will have a think and see if I can come up with any questions.

Just dont get caught making a rude gesture behind George, or you may just find the authorities placing a little package about your person !!!

- An absolute priority is to radically re-evaluate our education system so that it's responsive to and harnessing the benefits of this newly emerged information landscape

- We're still too close to a 19th century model which presupposes that information is scarce, that it has to be mediated by a select few professionals and to a 20th century model which presupposes that cultural production is in the hands of the few and the job of education is to analyse culture in a scholarly way. And you know Ewan that these assumptions no longer hold true.

- Education is a priority because social media isn't over the horizon, it's now and too often it's bypassing what happens in schools.

- The world outside of the classroom is embracing the benefits of networks. Children outside of the classroom are too. If part of the job of education is to prepare children to think and function and be active citizens in the world around them during and beyond school, education needs to support children to be thoughtful, critical productive participants in the new information landscape. I'm not sure our current models are sensitive to that.

None of this is news to you of course, just a tub-thump for the need for education to radically rethink and reshape to maintain its key roles and value.

I might know this but it's always nice to have someone else say it so much more eloquently ;-)

Another flip side (a De Bono 'po' if you like) is whether, by preparing kids for the 21st century you describe, they will actually find more backward workplaces than we've prepared them for. How many lawyers' firms blog, for example? That said, I guess there are a few police forces, the army and plenty of creative industry types who blog.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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