Young Rewired State

Young Rewired State is the most exciting thing on the planet at the moment – well for me anyway!

  • nearly 70 people aged between 15-18 years have registered (way more than we had dared hope for, and more signing up – even though we have closed the list)
  • just over 20 brilliant Rewired State geeks on hand to mentor
  • a small band of organisers revving up to a big pre-meet on Wednesday when we start prepping the laptops
  • our judges are lined up
  • Google is restocking the sweets and clearing the rooms (and talking to James about ports)
  • the poster has been designed by the wonderful Richard Pope (yes we did sort the typo before going to the printers)
  • Tim O’Reilly has tweeted about us
  • the trains and hotels are being booked
  • the young people are nagging for more data <- they are data gannets!
  • the freenode irc for Rewired State is buzzing with plans and projects as groups and individuals start getting their ideas together
  • and last but not least, our lovely sponsors have been invoiced :) (Thank you to Directgov, DCMS/CIO Council, 4iP, The Guardian and *hopefully* DCSF <- thank goodness for these sponsors, seriously would not be able to afford to do this otherwise, it is eye-wateringly expensive on the trains nowadays, and we have talent coming from everywhere across the country)

If you want to come along on the Sunday at 4pm to watch what has been crafted and designed over the weekend, you can, but you must sign up http://rewiredstate.org/young.

If you missed out the *what* and *why*. We are giving a bunch of young people as much government data as we can get our hands on (shoving it all up here first http://rewiredstate.org/data), access to some of the best developer minds should they need a bit of help, a weekend at the London Googleplex and see what happens. Why? because we want to showcase the extraordinary talent in this country, make some awesome apps, give the young people the tools and information to engage each other in what interests them, and just maybe add some weight to the quest for more/better/varied programming languages on the curriculum.

What can you do to help? Well at the moment the crisis is laptops, we need as many as we can lay our hands on. We have a titchy bit of money left over to hire them if necessary. If you can help with that great – we need them by Wednesday! Email me.

Please note:

1. The list for young people is closed, we cannot afford any more but we could squeeze you in if you can pay to get yourselves there and bring your own laptop (please make this clear when you sign up)

2. There are still spaces to come and watch the show and tell on the Sunday, but you must register – you have to be on the list to get past the Google doors.

Government media monitoring

Marisol Grandon, a colleague at the Home Office, has asked for some help answering the following question:

How do you see the role of government media monitoring developing, taking into account web developments and the changing media landscape?

I am not sure that I am knowledgeable enough about current monitoring practices, but I will give it a go.

Here is how wikipedia defines media monitoring:

Media monitoring is the activity of monitoring the output of the print, online and broadcast media….

… The services that media monitoring companies provide typically include the systematic recording of radio and television broadscasts, the collection of press clippings from print media publications, the collection of data from online information sources. The material collected usually consists of any media output that makes reference to the client, its activities and and/or its designated topics of interests.

Media monitoring is practically achieved by a combination of technologies — including audio and video recording, high speed text scanners and text recognition software — and human readers and analysts.

*For the purpose of this post I will ignore the offline/print media monitoring services, which would not necessarily change*

I am not sure that the methodology of online media monitoring will change too drastically either, although increasingly clever listening services, sophisticated search and easy to set up and use dashboards will make life easier for the Press Officers I am sure. Rather what is being ‘monitored’ would, or should, change.

At risk of putting the noses out of various ‘proper’ journalist friends and colleagues, citizen-generated content is becoming increasingly influential and can very quickly highlight, create or destroy any issue brought to the public attention.

When I read an article or post online, the article/post itself is incomplete for me until I have read the comments too. The comments, often lively debate, seem to set the subject more firmly in my head, and I am more likely to ponder on it and form an opinion – I may be influenced by the arguments tendered, or even by the number of comments – but whatever it is, it is certainly becomes more relevant to me than the article I read in The Guardian on the way into work – or whatever paper I happen to be reading ;)

The reason government (and I suspect any organisation) monitors anything is to:

  • know what is being said by whom about government business
  • watch for trends/hotspots
  • gauge the public mood on a subject

I am positive there are many more things, but to my simplistic mind these would be the main reasons.

With this in mind, monitoring online media becomes a slightly more tricky challenge for government. Because in order to really be fully informed, one must monitor traditional online press, blogs, comments, social networks, discussion forums… everything – but not just using a listening service, keeping an eye out for trigger words – rather using people who can understand the data and translate it into something that would be useful – cue the e-democracy cry.

Yet, as soon as I write this I get the uneasy feeling that by doing such a thing, it would be way too Big Brother and monitoring becomes more chilling a word, and more intrusive an activity.

So, I guess my question would be:

Does government have the right to monitor citizen journalism/citizen-generated content?

(If the answer is yes to that one, then I have a myriad more questions to ask about data protection and how that intellingence can be used)

V-Logs from the online consultation meeting

Hermione Way, newspepper.com, interviewed some of the participants after the meeting on the 4th December. Whilst we set up collaborative areas for all of you to continue to add/develop some of the ideas that came from the day, I thought that is might be interesting for you to see what people said as soon as released from the room.

HUGE thank you to Hermione for doing this, and for highlighting what we are doing in this week’s (episode 3) techfluff.tv. She came in for the second half of the meeting and joined in on the discussion around social media and policy development. You may notice that I am not interviewed, this is because I am RUBBISH at being in front of a camera, much better at writing. Anyway, everyone else said it so much better than I could.

Steph Gray Department for Innovation, University and Skills (DIUS)

Mark O’Neill Department for Culture, Media and Sport


Mitch Sava Polywonk and David Wilcox Social Reporter

Matthew Cain Newscounter (Note the hesitation in the middle and the twitter conversation at end… diamond)


Alan Moore SMLXL

Euan Semple


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