Young Rewired State, Apps for Good, Computing at School, STEMNet, CREST, Digital Makers – do I need to go on? There’s a huge number of organisations in the UK doing great work with young people and technology.
Some time ago I started trying to keep track of them all – in the ultimately vain hope that I might be able to (1) maintain an up-to-date list that many people could use and (2) perhaps start to collate their blogs, tweets and other outputs into some kind of newsletter that people interested in that kind of thing could subscribe to. Realising fairly quickly that even collating such a list could easily end up being a full time job, I parked my spreadsheet and moved on to other things.
Now that I find myself becoming fascinated with the huge number of organisations and people, both in the UK and abroad, who are working in the burgeoning area of digital democracy I find myself in the same situation. There’s simply no way someone can maintain a list of all of these groups and what they’re all doing. A “canonical list” methodology just isn’t going to work.
Luckily there is, of course, an alternative – crowdsourcing via Wikia. This strategy is certainly not effort-free but the work is now contacting these groups and asking if they would like to maintain their own entries in, for example, a “Global Digital Democracy wiki” or at least to finding people willing to help me spread the effort of writing all the pages.
I’m planning to bring this up to the Digital Democracy Commission crowd and at the Citizen Beta meetup when I go to that next week.
I’ll also mention it often on my vlog – as soon as that gets off the ground, *cough*.
To end with I wish to point out that all the above doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for centrally organised canonical registers of things. GDS is currently prototyping exactly that concept for government right now so hopefully very soon there will be one list each for schools, doctors, businesses, etc rather than the various conflicting versions we currently have – often spread over many departments.
It’s my hope that this project at work and the one I’m suggesting for the digital democracy community both fulfil their promise in their own ways.