January 27, 2010
That’s right – curation. Now officially Web2.0-buzzword-of-the-month (not quite sure which one).
And here was me thinking that curation was something knowledge workers have been doing ever since there was knowledge to work with.
So stand by for a totally gratuitous use of the c-word later on in this post. Maybe even two. But first, here are some cats and a bowl of milk.
This post was originally prompted by two quite unrelated posts by Julien Frisch – one setting out the details of the proposed system under the Lisbon Treaty by which national parliaments will review EU decision-making on grounds of subsidiarity, and another on the EU institutions use of Web2.0, where he commented:
What we need and what the institutions need are brokers who explain what is really going on inside the institutions, and who can explain inside the institutions what society (parts of the society) thinks about what is going on within the institution or about what is coming out of the institution.
This almost exactly mirrors the definition of Online Community Management (OCM) by Connie Bensen, one my favourite exponents of the idea:
“A community manager is the voice of the company externally and the voice of the customers internally”
[Note that this is not a question of people being managed – the ‘management’ is of the community as a whole, to make it more useful to its members.]
Herding cats in the Euroblogosphere
The reason for linking these two issues together can be found in the recent discussions on the Euroblogospere, which has quietened down since Joe published the full minutes of the podcast. Unlike the last time, however, one gets the sense this is a lull, not a full stop.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that this is pretty much a volunteer effort, with people contributing what they can from around the edges of their day jobs and other obligations. There have been some progress on bloggingportal.eu, and I think we all agree that while we won’t need dazzling new projects, we will need a consistent, long-term effort by a great number of people: summarising, tagging, translating, (micro)blogging and maybe rebutting Eurocr*p.
However, as Jon Worth pointed out in the podcast, trying to organise volunteer bloggers is like herding cats.
The point being that cats cannot be herded. But they can be motivated. So we need to find a bowl of milk that can only be reached by a group effort – a model that rewards such a long-term, unpaid collaboration.
I’m wondering whether the Lisbon Subsidiarity Procedure (does it have a name?) may provide that bowl of milk.
Subsidiarity and bridging national debates
Under this procedure (can we call it LiSP?), remember, national parliaments are consulted on proposed EU legislation. It thus may provide a huge opportunity for social media discussions which bridge national and EU spheres – after all, the whole point of LiSP is to have national discussions on proposed EU actions, focusing on whether and how (much) the proposed actions would bring EU Added Value.
Perhaps what we need, then, is a network of EU-focused bloggers (OK, I’ll call them “Eurobloggers”, if I must) in each country to:
- alert nationally-focused fora about the arrival of proposed EU legislation under this procedure, and facilitate the wider national online debate (i.e., national OCM on EU issues);
- curate (bingo!) the national discussion using a common language (English, Esperanto, whatever – see multilingualism), for use by the Eurobloggers in other countries;
- translate the most interesting outcomes from the other national debates (supplied via the curation by Eurobloggers in the other countries) into their own national debates (e.g., ‘In Germany, they’re focusing on this (see link and link), but in Sweden it’s that (see link) …”).
This would bridge national debates and break online EU discussions out of their English-only ghetto. I keep saying that I need to make a picture of this. Unfortunately I’m rubbish graphically.
PS The same Euroblogger network may also be an excellent launchpad for Citizens’ Petitions, by I’ll leave that topic to another post. This one’s too long already.
Where’s the milk?
So much for what, what about why? Where’s the motivation for all this effort? Can it be supported?
Some during the Euroblog meetup and subsequent podcast believed the answer is EU funding. Others mentioned corporate sponsorship. I see problems with both approaches, but I’ll cover them in another post.
The key motivation for many bloggers, as I think Jon Worth also pointed out, is visibility. It seems to me that being perceived – from both within and outside a country – as that country’s pre-eminent blogger in EU affairs may provide quite good branding and visibility. Obviously, all members in the network will cite each others’ work, sending their national communities to other network members. But is that enough?Mathew Lowry