Policy bloggers network ..

I have been working on the concept of a policy bloggers network for a while now .. and hopefully we launch it next week.

Here are some more details. Any comments welcome

Introduction

Building on the foundation of the Web 2.0 movement, there has been a renewed impetus to the idea of the people engaging, shaping and interacting with government policy. The idea has accelerated with the Obama campaigning and also the Obama administration itself.

There are two constituents to the ‘outreach’ of Government policy: The people themselves but also more importantly, the bloggers who cover this space (and their numbers are steadily increasing).

While traditional media will continue to play a role, its impact will decline – (for instance falling newspaper circulations). Irrespective of the role of traditional media in future, traditional media has never covered niche topics well. This presents an opportunity for blogosphere – specifically policy bloggers.

While the role of ‘citizen’s journalism’ has received a lot of media attention, less so the role of policy bloggers.

Citizen’s journalism is concerned with “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information,” . In contrast, policy bloggers differ from citizen’s journalism in that they are narrowly concerned with understanding some issues in great depth. They are often already involved in the space itself (for instance they could be doing PhD research on the subject). Hence, they are knowledgeable and are primarily concerned with getting their ideas/views out and / or getting feedback on those ideas (for instance for ongoing research)(A classic Long Tail approach)

Policy bloggers

The Policy bloggers’ landscape comprises of three classes of policy bloggers:

• Corporate policy bloggers

• Academic researchers and

• Others who have an interest

Policy bloggers are not ‘political bloggers’ i.e. they are concerned primarily with a narrow but in-depth analysis of a specific area. They are not concerned with picketing your local MP for an issue for instance

This is still a nascent area. Hence, policy bloggers have a unique window of opportunity based on their personal contacts and expertise in narrow sectors at the present time to build up a following over the next few years g) . Corporate policy bloggers will always be limited by their company viewpoint. But there are some initial attempts by Cisco , Google, Verizon

Implementation of the policy bloggers network

The www.policybloggersnetwork.com (site live next week) will be an independent web based (initially transatlantic) network of bloggers.

It will be broadly concerned with topics relating to: Reengineering public services and engaging citizens with policy issues through technology and social media. It will aim to simplify and will provide a neutral point of view.

The network will be launched week commencing March 23 2009. Initially, it will start as a single web blog under the above domain name and will summarise best blog posts from policy bloggers every week. It will start with summarizing brief information about policy bloggers as I build up this information. It will extend to a ‘Best policy bloggers’ listing.

Over the next six months, I hope it will gradually gain a following and through the weekly summaries and the back links. It will organize content by issue and by Geography – thus providing value immediate. Over time, the network will decentralize with active members of the network hosting a summary and the main site linking back to them (like a Blog carnival concept)

This simple and organic approach has a number of benefits:

a) The information we are collating does not exist currently(ex a good listing of top policy bloggers and topics organized by issue)

b) The policy bloggers themselves need exposure(especially corporate policy bloggers)

c) We create links and over time, can feed material(example reports ) to these networks who can comment/blog about it

d) The network provides back links(hence increased Google ratings)

e) It will remain agnostic of specific issues inspite of my personal bias i.e. I will take an NPOV

f) The network will take about six months to gain traction(Based on experience of my blog)

g) Created and managed by Ajit Jaokar. Advisory bloggers: David Osimo , Steve Ressler - (DC)

and Andrew Krzmarzick (USA/Govt)

I have a list of sites/companies who are are blogging about policy issues – but feel free to email me suggestions at ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com and I shall consider it

Any comments welcome