BBC’s Digital Democracy Questionnaire

The BBC has been running a survey as part of a project aimed at opening up our (sic) democratic institutions. The main focus of the survey has been to rank preferences within 4 Groups:

  • Audio & Video
  • Personalise your experience
  • Interact and participate
  • Make the experience portable

It generally seems to be interesting stuff – I particularly like the concept of searchable indexed video archives. It looks like they’re also exploring options around using the BBC as yet another platform for interacting with representatives and petitioning government, which I’m not so sure about.

There was a chance for free comment at the end of the survey. I thought I’d record what I said here:

What other information services would you like to be able to access from these pages?

I would like to be able to add feeds from my favourite blogs or news-sources. Even better I’d like to be able to include feeds (including pictures, audio and video clips) from the BBC sites in my personal home page – currently iGoogle, but it could be yahoo or a blog

Many UK citizens are said to be disengaged from government. Are there any other uses of web technologies that you think the BBC should make in order to try and bridge the gap?

Information on what councils and councilors are doing – there is virtually no coverage of their activities at the moment, and yet local democracy is at the heart of engagement. Central government can (and does) take care of itself.

Creating themed pages – bringing together background brief, links to legislation/white papers and clips of debates on topical issues (eg your embryology example) would be a real service

Any other thoughts?

The BBC needs to be careful to not be seen as driving the debate or campaigns – that’s why I am against the idea of using the BBC website to contact an MP or petition government

Don’t try to make yet another portal site – you should be making your material available for use in our own way – via blogs or personal home pages. Make use of (and publicise/support) existing forums for interaction, such as WriteToThem – don’t reinvent the wheel or duplicate what is already successful.

…I’ll post an update if I hear anything back

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About Peter Cruickshank

Lecturer in the School of Computing and a member of the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. Interested in information systems, learning, politics, society, security and where they intersect. My attempts at rounding out my character include food, cinema, running, history and, together with my lovely wife, bringing up a cat and a couple of kids.
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One Response to BBC’s Digital Democracy Questionnaire

  1. Peter says:

    Update: David Wilcox has blogged on the design and engagement issues here:
    http://socialreporter.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/could-the-bbc-co-design-its-new-community-services/

    Interesting to see that one of the themes that he picked up on is the need to emphasise local communities – which requires a bottom-up approach to design… implying a myriad of different solutions… the question is: how would the BBC (or any other UK institution) cope with the variety?

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