The Man, and whether to spend time with him

I’m one of those people who thinks too much and there’s often a mush of vaguely related ideas at the back of my mind. Then once in a while, I read something that crystallises it.

Today, the crystalliser is Dan McQuillan’s post – Will Politics 1.0 Swallow Government 2.0? a response.

I’ve been weary of party politics for a long time, and my level of engagement with it has dropped to almost nil. Unlike most of my friends, I almost never watch Question Time. I’m deeply sceptical of the pantomime of senior journalists affecting to “grill” senior politicians, which seems to veer more towards WWE than a real fight.

Dan’s questioning the value of web enthusiasts working with established parties, and cites Andrea DiMaio’s post, Why Government 2.0 Has Little To Do With Government . Here’s how Dan summarises:

Critiqueing the idea that gov 2.0 is about the ways “organizations and institutions can leverage technology to improve effectiveness and efficiency and to better engage constituents” he reframes the issue: “The problem is that government 2.0 is not about organizations and institutions. It is about the way in which constituents aggregate and socialize knowledge in ways that change their expectations and how they relate to government institutions.” It’s nicely articulated but stays on the safe ground of information and knowledge. I’d contend that the bolder win is for people to aggregate and socialize solutions i.e. actual functioning answers to social needs, whether stand-alone, grant funded or direct hacks of gov operations.

I don’t want to go all binary here, and I don’t suppose Dan or Andrea do either. But as time passes, I notice I feel more and more sceptical about the transformative power of institutions and more interested in the transformative power of individuals connected not by bureaucracy but by shared enthusiasms.

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