A bit like the proverbial buses – you wait all year for an eDemocracy event and then suddenly three (and then some) appear at once.
Yesterday Sophia and I nipped across to the bright lights of Bristol and the Watershed for the Modern Methods of governance – democracy in action or mob rule?. (A Webcast has been promised).
We heard from Tom Steinberg of MySociety about how ePetitions and "golden pages" can help draw people into engaging with democracy and government. A view that was put forward in our evaluation of ePetitioner for ICELE (page 8). Mary Reid continued on ePetitions and Mike Brewin added some Bristol detail. Ian Wiebkin from Kirklees Council presented the DigiTV project and the imminent digital switchover was hailed as a potential tipping point when interactive TV services could become mainstream. I am currently sceptical about interactive services on TV and the figures that Ian was able quote from Sky were not comforting. 90% of Sky users have used the interactive service at some point, but nothing about how often they used them and what for. Personally I don’t know anyone who has ever used digital TV to access a non-TV service, yet last night in the pub (not a Hoxton digirati crew) we found that Mr T, the farmer, was on Facebook and for the next hour a masterclass on social networking and virtual knickers ensued. I have never heard that buzz about interactive TV services.