Any ideas for Iceland?

As you have probably heard, Iceland is crowd-sourcing its constitution and encouraging members of the public to make contributions on drafts through Facebook.

Their contributions have to be approved before they can become part of the constitution, and I see this as an enlightened move. Providing the process is genuinely open, so that people can see how their contributions can potentially make a difference.

I think it would be good if people who made individual contributions that are accepted receive some form of accreditation. Imagine being able to tell your grandchildren that you helped shaped the country’s constitution and being able to prove it!

Iceland has seen the future, and other countries should learn from this innovative online initiative. So long as it is not gimmicky, but actually does engage with citizens in an open and cooperative way, then I think there is a chance that new models of organisation and government could emerge. Of course it has to be managed properly, and leaders need to embrace and encourage these initiatives. In particular this would appeal to younger people who are naturally embracing social networks and for whom it is second nature to be collaborating online.

What I like about it too is that it opens up the possibility for debate. Too often debate gets distorted through the traditional media channels, and new ideas could surface by using social networks.


Do we still like Facebook?

Insightful piece from the BBC looking at the differing interpretations on the rise or otherwise of Facebook. It is a good summary.

If my teenage daughter is a barometer of how Facebook is doing then I would say all reports of its decline are utterly misplaced. Facebook, from her perspective and the perspective of her friends, is in rude health!! I wish I could hold her attention like Facebook does!!


A few social media perspectives

While I am a great fan of enterprise 2.0 and the introduction of social media into the enterprise, it is worth remembering that the percentage of people already using the likes of wikis online – through Wikipedia, etc – is a small fraction of the total audience using the web.

Also, the people who are promoting these new services are quite different in mindsets and attitudes to the people who are going to have to use them. Which is why patience is crucial. Adoption is likely to take a while.

There are fears that people might post negative criticism internally within social networks. I think this is unlikely, as comments are not anonymous and it is unlikely that staff will want to be held accountable for an unnecessarily negative comment.

Likewise, I think the risks of employees saying something damaging online in public through social media networks is completely over-exaggerated. The cases have been very few.

What tends to happen is that the traditional media talk them up to try to shift papers. In time, I think people will be a lot more relaxed about social media.

The idea that people in the future are going to continue to pounce on your every word on Twitter is ridiculous. In the future, people will just shrug their shoulders, as everyone will be busy using these tools – and they will become a natural part of our lives. You will pay attention to what your peers are saying, and key influencers you respect.

As everything is so new, people seem to be ultra sensitive. It is like in the 1990s when web sites made their first debut. People issued so many scare stories about security. How could you possibly have an online company web site which is open to everyone?! Think of the risks, some of the reactionary scare mongers were saying then. I’m not suggesting there are not risks. But progress always challenges the status quo. We all have a bias towards the status quo and inevitably risks are over-stated or distorted.


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