More than ever before, there seems to be a lot of activity around the topic of the “Digital Society” …. I am not sure how this term will evolve but at any rate I am happy it is not being hyped as I had once feared.
The amount of grass-root activity is quite amazing. And after being a part of two small e-protests, it is great to see people from all backgrounds exploiting the collaborative nature of the Internet. Am sure most of them do not perceive this as “collaborative this or that”. They can see the power of like minded individuals coming together.
This form of citizen participation, is more evidence of the wave of “consumer-centered design” (or “citizen-center design”) that I see on the horizon. I am drawn to comparing this to the wave of “user-centered design” that came after the launch of the PC and the Local Area Network.
And I wonder… would policy makers and government learn from that period? i.e to learn to help their citizens particpate even more in matters of society? to shape policy that really solves the issues felt at the grass root-level? Learning in much the same way IT departments eventually learned to helping their users? (I think most IT departments grudingly accomodate end-user flexibility — but they have struck a good balance between educating users and enforcing policy — freedom with responsibility).
And so, I continue to live in the hope that the Digital Society (powered by Internet technologies) will help citizens to participate more in shaping their own lives.
However, I am clueless how politicians will react to this state of “citizen-centered design”. After all:
- Why would they need 4 (or 5 or 7) years in office to represent citizens?
- Why would they have to congregate in the capital?
- Why have long and laborious election campaigns?
Many questions … Stay tuned to your society …