Guerilla Policy: Start the conversation, join the conversation

Today we’ve launched a new discussion forum on Guerilla Policy. It’s actually a lot more exciting than that, so give us a bit of time to explain what we’ve done.

Our new forum is based on StatusNet, the world’s leading open source social software. StatusNet is a microblogging application, similar to Twitter. As its developer says, StatusNet “enables [people] to collaborate, share insights, solve problems and build relationships in real time.” Here’s what you can do using our site:

  • start conversations on issues that matter to you;
  • ask questions to the rest of the community;
  • invite others to participate in projects and develop collaborations;
  • join existing conversations and share your thoughts;
  • set-up a profile for you or your organisation;
  • search for topics, people and organisations;
  • send direct messages to people and organisations.

You can also set-up private areas if you’re not ready to share a project with the whole community.

Why this particular software? We’ve said before that we think the future of policy research and development is in collaboration rather than competition. It’s a discussion, not a war of attrition, because no single person or organisation has the monopoly on truth. Social software creates an open environment for collaboration, and this is what we’re trying out with our new site.

(You might be thinking that if the software is like Twitter, then why not just use Twitter? Firstly, the software we’re using is open source, which means that we can use it for free and tweak it to suit the needs of our community. Secondly, it means that the conversations we have here are owned by the people and organisations that participate and contribute to them – try asking Twitter or Facebook to relinquish ownership of your data and see what their reaction is. Thirdly, we think that the future of social networks is in communities focused on particular issues or purposes, whereas Facebook, Twitter etc are just too general – but let’s see).

We’ve put this together very quickly (we’re called ‘guerilla’ after all) – and if it doesn’t work then we’ll try something else. This project is also a conversation, after all – we’ll be led by what the people who join our movement say they want and need in order to create better social policy.

So try out the site and let us know what you think. Start a conversation, join a conversation – go to Guerilla Policy.



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