Archive for March, 2009

eCampaigning Forum - 25 seats left!

26. March 2009 – 17:27 by Madarász Csaba

Hurry, if you want to get in touch with the latest trends of  eCampaigning.

The 6th annual eCampaigning Forum takes place in Oxford, UK. from 31 Mar.-1 Apr.

1. Learn with others how to get the most out of your eCampaingning despite budget cutbacks and redundancies in the current recession.

2. Learn from eCampaigning around recent elections in the US, Australia and Canada and in preparation for upcoming elections in the EU, UK and beyond.

Iraqi Youth Campaigner as second speaker Zuhal Sultan is campaigning to start the first National Youth Orchestra of Iraq. She will share with ECF09 participants her campaign and how she uses the Internet as an essential campaigning tool.

Obama Campaign Insider Confirmed as Speaker For those of you coming (or still deciding to attend) the 2009 eCampaigning Forum, here is some news you’ll like. A senior insider of the Obama Campaign will be speaking at and attending ECF09.

Social Actions - and Ning for Non-profits online conversation

26. March 2009 – 17:04 by Civil College

Social Actions is a website, that aggregate information related to social change focused applications. Here are two events, that can draw your attention.

Change the Web Challenge, its contest - with a deadline for submission April 3rd.

Developers are uploading their inspiring web applications and widgets that draw on our open database of 70,000+ opportunities to make a difference from 50+ action sources. The submission form closes on April 3rd.

Here are three ways to get involved:

1. Build your own Social Actions-powered web application by April 3rd and win up to $5,000. Enter your submission to the project gallery.
2. Add stars and comments to the submissions in the Change the Web Challenge project gallery. The developers working on these applications are hungry for feedback.
3. Tell your friends about the contest by posting a link to the Change the Web Challenge homepage on Twitter and Facebook as well as your own website.

Ning for Nonprofits - Change the Web Conversation Series

Visitors are invited to join in a live and open online chat to discuss how your nonprofit or organization can use Ning - a platform that enables you to create your own social network.

This is your opportunity to share experiences and ask questions about how nonprofits and orgs can build and engage your community by creating and facilitating your own social network powered by Ning.

Featured Guests:
Manny Hernandez, Author of Ning for Dummies, President of Diabetes Hands Foundation
Athena Von Oech, Vice President of Community Management at Ning
Jaime Peters, Program and Technology Manager, The White House Project
Moderator: Christine Egger, Social Actions
The community will be invited to ask questions, share ideas, and in general rock the discussion!

“Ning for Nonprofits” is part of the Change the Web Conversation Series, a series of open chats that explore specific technology platforms for good, running concurrent with the Change the Web Challenge.

Recommended not only for NGO’s!

Referendum for transparency of Hungarian MP’s expenses

26. March 2009 – 10:55 by Civil College

A success story of offline media

At least 525,000 verified signatures have been collected, far more than the mandatory 200,000, in support of a referendum on MPs’ expenses. Maria Seres
The idea behind the initiative is that MPs be compelled to provide invoices for any expenses claimed - which is not yet a case in Hungary. After the time cosuming signature collection, driven and organized by a Mother of 4.

The person who initiated the referendum drive, Mária Seres, told reporters later in the day that this is the first time that an individual managed to collect so many signatures for a referendum, althoug, the road was really bumpy. Her website has been hacked several times, and rumours has been taking place about her political relations.

But what was the biggest support for the case, is the role of a Hungarian daily tabloid newspaper, Blikk, which has give a whole page for the initiative and offered a signature sheet to be cut out.

This action raised with more than 300,000 thousand signatures on one weekend!

I am fairly sure, that both offline and online media has a different role to play when citizen initiatives like Maria Seres’s are taking place - this success story of media responsibility for important social cases could drive more and more players of the media filed to show and practice more direct support.

ECC 2009 in Örebro, Sweden

23. March 2009 – 12:05 by Orebro University

The European Citizens Consultation Sweden gathered on 21-22 of March,  91 citizens in Örebro to develop the Swedish perspectives on the economic and social future of Europe. The citizens participating in the consultation were randomly invited according to criteria of representatively: different age groups, different educational levels, gender, geographical distribution, and other Member States-specific criteria were considered to ensure that the citizens attending the European Citizens’ Consultation in Sweden represented the demographic composition of the country as a whole. The event was organised by Örebro University and its department for political science.   The consultation was held at the university where vice president of the EU-commission Margot Wallström, held the opening speech.

The national consultation is and of 8 simultaneous consultations in other European countries, and is a following step to the previous web-discussion (previously mentioned in a posting by Involve on December 16, 2008). At some points during the consultation contact with Hungary and Ireland was established through Skype (as well as a tool developed specifically for the consultations) and shared results and thoughts regarding the other countries. After the third and last weekend of national consultations (28th/29th of March) all results from the national consultations will be put together and discussed in a second online phase.

My experience as a moderator for one of ten tables during this weekend was very rewarding. Not only did I get a hands-on experience of a democracy project (with much eParticipation) in action, but also I got to witness how individuals who self-stated total disinterest in EU or politics in general develop a genuine interest in the debate. Some of the themes discussed were environmental issues (such as the Russian gas line), transparency in political administration and how the EU should handle immigration. It will without doubt be interesting to see what topics that have been raised in all other countries, and which of them that will win the affection of participants in the next online-phase.


Job in new EU e-participation project

18. March 2009 – 12:30 by Rolf Luehrs

Just spotted a job offer in the “UK and Ireland E-Democracy Exchange“, which might be of interest for some of our readers:

Research Assistant (part-time), Queens’ University Management School,

This post is available for 22 months in the HuWY (Hub Websites for Youth
Participation) project (, assisting in the planning and
delivery of e-participation activities that will get hundreds of young
people telling national and European policy-makers how to govern the

Further details are available at,

or by contacting
Subhajit Basu <>.

To apply, start from here

Daily newspapers folding all around – And nobody cares?

13. March 2009 – 13:20 by Bengt Feil

Over the course of the last weeks and months we heard a lot about major newspapers starting to go online only or shutting down their operations altogether. The Rocky Mountain News´s last issue appeared on February 27th 2009 and the San Francisco Chronicle is also in a very unstable position. Both of these papers had a long tradition and wide distribution but suffered under the changes of news consumption and increasing production costs. It seems as if we are witnessing a major change in the news landscape. But which consequences will these changes have?

According to a recent study done by the PewResearchCenter “many Americans wouldn’t care a lot if local papers folded”. Not even half of them (43%) think that “losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community a lot”. So maybe the death of the local paper is no big problem. We already gather a lot of our daily news using online and mobile sources which get their information from the major news agencies like AP or Reuters. This is also reflected in the study. On the other hand this is not true if one looks at local news which is not covered by the major agencies. 30% think that civic life would be hurt “a lot” when local papers fold especially because of the loose of these local news items. Following this though the real question has to be: How can we make sure that local news will still be accessible in a world without small local papers?

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Worlds’ first eParticipation training course?

12. March 2009 – 17:51 by Fraser Henderson - ICELE

Those of you at the recent EC eParticipation day will know that Jeremy Millard from the Danish Technological Institute gave the opening overview. This contained a number of interesting points.

Firstly, he recognised the void in terms of a common European public space - later demonstrating that the ‘buzz’ was at the local level and that links between local, regional, national and European eParticipation are weak.

Going forward, more effort around the digitization of public data and mash-ups’ were encouraged - the ‘innovation jam’ approach was commended, even with the suggestion of small prizes. Lastly was the call for more support aimed at politicians and civil servants, particularly training.

Well, in what I think is a ‘first’, a new course on eParticipation is being run by The Consultation Institute, a UK organisation designed to help all those engage in public or stakeholder consultation absorb best practice.

Aimed at public bodies, the course is held over one day and includes the following modules:-

  • The digital landscape
  • The interactive tool set
  • Platforms, tools and technologies
  • Effective eConsultation
  • Effective ePetitioning
  • Operational issues
  • Marketing in the digital domain
  • ePB and GIS tools
  • Evaluation and Investment

There are currently three dates over the next couple of months (London, Manchester and Birmingham) . On 21st May this will culminate with the third “Technologies for Participation” conference (London, UK). Click here for more details.

“E-democracy 2.0. Institutions, citizen, new nets: a possibile lexicon”

11. March 2009 – 16:39 by Sabrina Franceschini

Wednesday the 8th of April 2009, the Emilia-Romagna Region, in partnership with Pep-Net (Pan European ePartecipation Network), will promote in Bologna the international seminar “E-democracy 2.0. Istituzioni, cittadini, nuove reti: un lessico possibile”. Italian and European academics, professionals and promoter of e-democracy’s projects will discuss together about the real role that new media and nets can play for the growth of the citizens’ participation to the public and institutional contexts.

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Lessons in doing research using social media

10. March 2009 – 11:53 by Bengt Feil

As part of my work for TuTech and on my scientific work at the University of Hamburg I use social media tools for research purposes on a daily basis. Tools like Google Trends or Backtype make is possible to take a deep look into what is going on in the Social Web both on an aggregated level (qualitative data) and on a content level (qualitative data). In other words social media tools are not only a great thing to do research ON but also to do research WITH.

Yesterday I started to post tweets on what I have learnt so far about this kind of work using the hashtag (a term linking a post to a certain topic) #socialmediascience. Below you can see my first six tips on how to use social media for research. I will keep on posting these kinds of tips using the hashtag and you can take a look at the full list of them either by searching on Twitter or by following me directly. I also invite everybody to post similar tips using the #socialmediascience hashtag.

  • Frist tip: Combine different social media sources to get a complete picture of a topic over time. For example: Google Trends, Backtype, etc.
  • Second Tip: URL hacking and scripting makes research on social media much more efficient. #socialmediascience
  • Third tip: Google Trends even gives you .csv outputs of the data. Very convenient! #socialmediascience
  • 4th tip: Total numbers (of posts etc.) mean almost nothing, because search engine never cover all blogs, Tweets etc. #socialmediascience
  • 5th tip: You need to work with specific search terms. The qualitative work to find these is extremely important. #socialmediascience
  • 6th tip: Research social media is no exact science (yet). Be bold about this fact and explain the short comings. #socialmediascience

Bad Week for Social Networking

4. March 2009 – 21:32 by Susie Ruston

Facebook has had a bad week with five different security issues coming to light.  Hackers are coming up with new ways to steal valuable data from users by manipulating the trust and social links that drive the network.  The latest being the posting of a fake YouTube link within profiles which releases a malicious malware when clicked. (

So how do we stay social online whilst protecting ourselves? A 2006 study by Awad and Krishnan noted that whilst users will express very strong concerns about the privacy of their personal information, they will be less than vigilant about safeguarding it. A statement that possibly reflects my own use. As a non-techy-type I know not to include my date of birth in a public online space, but am I being too trusting by providing other personal information in the pursuit of social interaction?

With the upsurge of these hard-to-spot attacks, do I need to do more to protect my own data, or do we need Social Network sites to have higher levels of protection mechanisms and policies to protect members?  Or, will measures like these affect the use of the sites?