The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

Training a generation of citizen-journalists

Two years ago, frustrated by the powerlessness citizens expressed to me about the political process, moved by their transpartisan worries about the state of U.S. democracy, I began an experiment on Facebook: I sought to train “ordinary” people from all walks of life as reporters and opinion writers.

The community grew fast, to a reach of over 10 million and between 100,000 and 250,000 users a week. People joined from 23 countries. There was clearly an appetite for this kind of training and the material it produced.

More exciting to me as a journalist was that the quality of information these “ordinary” citizens were generating – once they had taken on board basics such as "what is double sourcing?", the importance of “who, what where, why and how?” and the role of eyewitness accounts and original documents – rose very high.

My personal beat as a reporter is civil liberties in the U.S., and the death of local newspapers has meant there is little coverage of state-level stories of these issues. That new void of local reporting leaves the federal government and Congress less than accountable on the local level.

A new challenge for Zuckerberg


By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.

Who wouldn’t want to have been an early investor in Facebook? The graffiti artist who spray painted the walls of Facebook HQ decided to take stock rather than a paycheck and will be $150 million dollars richer as a result.

Facebook is one of the biggest ever IPOs in the U.S. and at the end of last week it even managed to knock Greece out of the headlines and was credited with boosting market sentiment.

Heavy traffic on the information superhighway

– Jeff Smith is Senior Director Infrastructure Services, Global Crossing EMEA. The opinions expressed are his own.–

For many years now, number crunchers have obsessed over the growth of data, marvelling at the way that the computer age has generated enormous amounts of content and IT types have speculated as to how disks, tapes and other storage devices would need to evolve to accommodate this. Now, however, the problem has spread and the new fear is greater: could the digitisation of the world’s information lead to catastrophic communications breakdown?

from The Great Debate:

Why the Internet is everybody’s business

By David Barroux
The opinions expressed are his own.

LES ECHOS/Worldcrunch -- The first-ever E-G8 summit, beginning Tuesday in Paris with a notable lineup of government leaders and a “digital Who’s Who,” has been hit by a range of criticisms, from political hijacking to state censorship. But these attacks reveal only part of the truth. Sure, Nicolas Sarkozy, struggling in the polls, sees this as a chance to “presidentialize” his image while attempting to make his mark on this subject so attractive to the younger generation. But the self-interest driving his approach doesn’t necessarily mean it is uninteresting.

Long considered a free space that could develop on principles of self-government, the Internet has become so crucial to democratic life and economic growth that today it is legitimate for political players and large industrial groups to be involved in its management. States and multinationals would be wrong to want to plan and regulate everything, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they should simply stand back and watch.

from Environment Forum:

Pure water from solar power; will it catch on?

water1 Remote villages in developing countries might benefit from these twin 40-ft long containers (left) -- a water purification system driven by solar power -- as a substitute for noisy diesel-powered generators, trucks bringing in water or people spending hours every day walking to fetch water.

That's the hope of the makers, environmental technology group SwissINSO Holding Inc. The small company has recently won its first contracts to supply the systems to Algeria and Malaysia and is aiming to sell 42 units of what it calls the world's "first high-volume, 100 percent-solar turnkey water purification system" in 2011.

Seeking solutions for IT firms during economic crisis


Steve Wagner -Steve Wagner is Managing Director at Fair Web Solutions. The opinions expressed are his own.-

There can be no doubt that the recent global financial crisis has affected all areas of the economy and even though initially the likes of manufacturing companies and property development companies appeared to be the most affected, every business has had to take notice and consider what initiatives they can put in place to minimise the damage.

A social media vox populi experiment


IMG01877-20100318-1751The BBC World Service tested its capacity to produce large-scale social media events by hosting an ambitious global conversation in multiple languages from Shoreditch Town Hall in London on Thursday.

For the six-hour event, billed as “Superpower Nation Day“, the public broadcaster used television, radio and the Web to connect with people around the world.

Rory Cellan-Jones on virtual democracy


Direct, real-time communication among politicians and the public through social media platforms is reshaping democracy and the news media, but questions remain about how the fabric of society might change as a result, argued a panel at an event hosted by the BBC on Tuesday evening at Westminster.

The Web provides a de-centralised opportunity for users to communicate from various points on the political-economic spectrum, but gatekeepers are emerging who try and curtail the dissemination of information they find objectionable, suggested panellist Aleks Krotoski, who recently completed work on the BBC series “Virtual Revolution“.

A brave new Google-ized world


mia de kuijper- Mia de Kuijper is CEO of de Kuijper Global Partners , author of Profit Power Economics and the Co-Dean of the Duisenberg School of Finance. The opinions expressed are her own.-

I have developed a practical approach to competitive success that defines strength not in terms of market share, but in terms of what I call “profit power.”

The 2010 general election and new media


parliamentMatthew McGregor is the Director Blue State Digital’s London office. The opinions expressed are his own.

The 2010 general election will be the first closely British election in which the internet will be an important factor. The last truly close election in 1992 was fought in a way unrecognisable to campaigners today. In 1997, most of us had yet to use email. In 2005, YouTube was barely three months into its existence.