Is the information society a community catalyst or a community liability?

In a publication on ICT and localism, Edward Andersson of Involve explores whether the information society is a community catalyst or a community liability. He believes that the internet represents a key resource for local participation and drawing from many local initiatives, has developed six key lessons which are worth thinking about:

  1. ‘localist’ is not the same as ‘local’;
  2. bridging online and offline participation;
  3. funding, support and training;
  4. local involvement;
  5. moving beyond ‘business as usual’;
  6. joining up representative and participative democracy.

The one that got me thinking the most is the second one ‘bridging online and offline participation’. Edward highlights how all too often online initiatives are developed separately from face-to-face participation in local communities and talks about existing ‘practice silos’ between eDemocracy specialists and community development workers. Is this trend likely to continue? Hopefully not, because as Edward notes some of the most interesting work in recent years in terms of participation have succeeded in bringing online and offline participation together.

Last updated at 15:08 Mon 18/May/09.
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Veronique – I think that the e and non-e practice divide is a serious one (and glad you are bridging it with some blogging:-) You might be interested in this workshop game that we developed to help people play through the issues, and practice, of mixing online and offline engagement.

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