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Hi - I'm the editor of the BBC Internet blog. Some comments on the Blog might be of interest:

From Tom Loosemore

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/02/digital_democracy.html#c6317805

From Ben Metcalfe

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/02/digital_democracy.html#c6350789

From Michael Smethurst:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/02/pic_of_the_day_digital_democra_1.html#c6513803

My own personal views (and I should stress they are personal) are here:

http://nickreynoldsatwork.wordpress.com/2008/02/19/representation-versus-participation/

What are we trying to do? Use new media tools to reconnect people with politics? Or get politicians to use new media tools to reconnect with the people?

Don't underestimate the difficulty of doing either.

Thanks Nick, you put the challenge very concisely:
"What are we trying to do? Use new media tools to reconnect people with politics? Or get politicians to use new media tools to reconnect with the people?
"Don't underestimate the difficulty of doing either."
Both I guess, as I explored with Lee Bryant in a book chapter for Involve a while back - as well as help people to use new media tools to connect with each other and do good stuff for social benefit.
The BBC's role in this could be hugely helpful, but only, in my view, if it avoids the temptation to create a top-down portal unconnected with the many bottom up efforts like this project with a ten-year track record. My immediate concern is whether the BBC and the BBC Trust will create some space for us to help co-design an appropriate approach. Or has the decision been taken, in effect? I gather the Coventry demo was pretty comprehensive.
Could the BBC Internet blog host a discussion, or some trusted third party, with a mix of face-to-face and online engagement process? Meanwhile more comments welcome here!

I even got a quick say on Feedback to ask why the BBC doesn't do a proper public consultation using all the outlets and resources it has at its command. It could really get things jumping. Things jump all the time where people are given the chance and have the inclination to hotly debate, as we find on Oncom. You'd be surprised how passionate people get about parking by the shops. All great stuff - it's what community engagement is all about, and often where it begins: where you live.

I can only echo what others have said about the opaqueness of this whole process and debate. What is meant by "sustaining citizenship and civil society"? Conservatives seem to think it's a commitment to multiculturalism. Liberals might think the opposite, since it has been recently argued that (some) citizens should be required to learn English. What might the BBC be thinking of doing to enable this? With whom will it consult and how? Who should one be in touch with in order to register one's interest? I'm a little concerned that (from what Stephen Coleman suggests) the BBC may already have made some important decisions - not without consultation (I can see that a number of the best and brightest people have already been consulted) but without the kind of wide-ranging debate that you'd think would inherently accompany a decision about e-democracy.

hi David et al

Just wondering if you linked to the definition the BBC Trust does provide for the purpose remit you are discussing - Sustaining Citizenship and Civil Society?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/framework/purpose_remits.html

Or indeed to the publication of the public consultation documents around these purposes?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/consult/closed_consultations/purpose_remits_closed.html

I don't work for the Trust in case you are wondering, but I do work for the BBC. One of those "faceless" workers that one of the people quoted in your post referred to.

Obviously I am not faceless to you as we have met but I think the point is that BBC journalists and managers are becoming increasingly less faceless. I did the background work that led to the launch of our blog network nearly two years ago http://bbc.co.uk and that network is developing all the time.

In particular the Editors Blog and the Internet Blog are places where you will find people floating new ideas, new projects and asking for input, ideas, feedback, suggestions of all kinds. Pete Clifton's current project is just such a project and this network and these projects do actually develop with the help of input, positive and negative, discursive and factual. Strangely enough, that is why we do it.

I am leading the development of one such new project too and am gathering my thoughts before posting either on the BBC blog network or on my own blog. It's tangental but related to this subject as it's about enabling our audiences to explore how contemporary media content is made, our content, however that is to be defined. I only hope there will be a response at all, positive or negative.

Hi Lucy - thanks for those better links, and I hope you took my piece as welcoming BBC staff blogging ... as I did earlier here.
Your project sounds fascinating. I hope there's also scope for links between whatever is planned in BBC local news, whatever succeeds the Action Network, and local "community content". To be honest I'm just fishing around to see if I can help make some connections.
It was generous of the BBC Internet blog to link to my piece the other day, so I'm hoping the conversations will continue.

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