Mar 20, 2000
"Stephen Downes, MuniMall's information architect, will speak to the effects of the Internet-based information communications technologies on society, commerce and governance. The presentation will highlight the transformational consequences and prospects of information and communications technologies with special attention to local government and governance."
Downes, 1998 – The Future of Online Learning
Bandwidth – i.e., the amount of information which can be sent
Growing rapidly, essentially unlimited
Choices, choices: cable, fiber, digital wireless, satellite
Processing – i.e., the speed with which computers crunch data
Growing rapidly, essentially unlimited
Software – i.e., the things computers do
Gradual transformation from program-based to function-based
Look for specialized machines, embedded processing
See eg. Downes 2000 – Why XHTML? A Pastoral Tale http://www.atl.ualberta.ca/downes/threads/mm9.htm
Hardware – i.e., the box that holds the stuff
Smaller and more portable
Wireless internet access becoming commonplace
Eg. Palm Pilot - http://www.palm.com/
Presentation – i.e., what we see
Convergence of internet and multimedia
Increase in simulations, role-plays, environments
Constant flow of communications
Creation of a new social unit, the online community, niche-based or topic-centered – See Figallo, 1998 and Hagel and Armstrong, 1997
Major types of community (Hagel and Armstrong, 1997, p. 121 ff):
Vertical Industry Communities – eg. Municipal Sector
Functional Communities – eg. Logistics Management
Geographic Communities – eg. City of Grande Prairie
Business Category Communities – eg. LGAA
Demographic Communities – eg. Mormons Online
Topical Communities – eg. Oilers Fan Club
Properties of Online Communities:
Fusion of content and interaction
High level of member control and ownership
Customized and personalized – My Netscape
See Downes, 1999b, Selling the WELL http://www.atl.ualberta.ca/downes/threads/column092499.htm
Withdrawal from traditional communities. Eg. recent NY Times article, see also Rushkoff 1999, Playing the Future
Empowerment of previously disempowered groups (and consequent increased activism) see Klein 2000, No Logo; see also Downes 1999c, Hacking Memes http://www.atl.ualberta.ca/downes/threads/column052599.htm
Shattering of commerce - Downes, 1999c, Aspects of E-Commerce http://www.atl.ualberta.ca/downes/threads/column092499.htm
Commerce begins with community – Downes, 1999d, Hungry Minds http://www.atl.ualberta.ca/downes/threads/mm4.htm
Globalization and competition – the need to focus on the niche – See Downes, 2000b, Implications of International Education http://horizon.unc.edu/TS/commentary/2000-05.asp
Expectation of customized and personalized service
Expectation of instant 24-7 service
Pressure and competition, even in previous monopolies
Monopolies don’t work – unable to generate community
The Network Effect – combined impact of many corporations. See Shapiro and Varian 1998, Information Rules
New modes of workplace organization – less hierarchal, more communitarian. See Halal 1998, The Infinite Resource.
Public Attitudes – Very much in favour – See Downes, 2000c – Public Attitudes Toward Online Government http://www.atl.ualberta.ca/downes/threads/mm6.htm
The Legislative and Representative Function
Increased participation and activism – eg. Arizona Democrat primary
Inclination (with much resistance) toward direct democracy
Primacy of the community
Decline of the middle (reshaping of the role of the middle):
Away from the representative function, and
Toward the service-based and/or informational function
Information and Communication
The community as a community – See Downes, 2000d - Public Spaces, Private Places: Preserving Community Participation on the World Wide Web http://www.atl.ualberta.ca/downes/threads/mm10.htm
Modes of Communication: push vs. pull.
Services as E-Commerce – increased expectations
Government (or association) services vs. private sector – competition
Eg. Toronto.com http://www.toronto.com
Government services as a network effect
Joining or founding a community:
Identify a niche
MuniMall as a municipal sector online community http://www.munimall.net
Pull publications, eg. websites and zines; list at http://www.munimall.net/scripts/downes/links/usertrolls.cgi?keyword=government
Joining and contributing to the community discussion board or mailing list
Figallo, Cliff. 1998. Hosting Web Communities: Building Relationships, Increasing Customer Loyalty, and Maintaining A Competitive Edge. John Wiley & Sons; ISBN: 0471282936.
Hagel, John, and Arthur G. 1997. Armstrong. Net Gain : Expanding Markets Through Virtual Communities. Harvard Business School Press; ISBN: 0875847595.
Halal, William E., ed. 1998. The Infinite Resource : Creating and Leading the Knowledge Enterprise. Jossey-Bass Publishers; ISBN: 0787910155.
Klein, Naomi. 2000. No Logo : Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies. Picador USA; ISBN: 0312203438.
Rushkoff, Douglas. 1999. Playing the Future : What We Can Learn from Digital Kids. Riverhead Books; ISBN: 1573227641.
Shapiro, Carl and Hal Varian. 1998. Information Rules : A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy. Harvard Business School Press; ISBN: 087584863X.