A definition of Politics 2.0

In 2005, Tim O’Reilly published a seminal article — What Is Web 2.0 — in which he provided a definition for the term Web 2.0, which had gained a huge momentum during the previous year since the first edition of the Web 2.0 Conference in October 2004.

The concept gathered both technological and philosophical (in the sense of behaviours and attitudes) issues. At the technological level, it dealt about the importance of the web as a delivery (of content and services) platform by excellence; data as the core component of all kind of communications and interchanges; software as a service and not a product, then becoming more important access to software than its “physical” purchase; predominance to RSS and associated procedures for the exchange of content; or (while keeping the importance of the web as a platform) the need to create technologies that were portable across devices. At the philosophical level, and both cause and consequence of the technological advances, the spread (and enabling) of a contribution and participation culture by the society at large (and not only by institutions or organized associations); the acknowledgement that anyone could actually contribute with their knowledge and opinion (the “wisdom of crowds”); the raise of a culture of mixing, assembling and aggregating content; and the will to have rich user experiences when interacting online (vs. A passive, unidirectional, monotonous approach which had been common ground in the previous years).

Besides the “formal” definition of the Web 2.0, it has more often been described through some tools and the new and characteristic ways of using them: the blog and the nanoblog, the wiki, social bookmarking, photo and video sharing websites, tagging and “folksonomies”, syndication and aggregation, etc.

After this philosophical approach – boosted by the technological advancements – many have adapted some of the core definitions to many aspects of life. Thus, for instance, Education 2.0 often referred to as a shift from unidirectional lecturing towards a more participatory approach of learning, based in collaboratively creating learning materials, an intensive usage of web 2.0 tools, or openness and sharing of the process of learning, just to name a few. And along with Education, we can find debates around Research 2.0, Culture 2.0, Government 2.0, Journalism 2.0, Enterprise 2.0… and Politics 2.0.

But, quite often, we do not find specific definitions for such concepts, taking for granted that the reader will be able to do the translation from the Web 2.0 to the Whatever 2.0. I here provide my own definition of Politics 2.0, which I needed for a paper I am preparing about Politics 2.0 in Spain:

  • Ideas: not closed and packaged propaganda. Ideas that can be spread, shared and transformed by members of the party and partisans, sympathizers and supporter, and the society at large;
  • Open data: ideas are backed by incredible amounts of data and information made openly available to the general public, and most time provided with open licenses that allow their reuse and remix;
  • Participation: of all and every kind of people and institutions, blurring the edges of the “structures” and permeating the walls of institutions, making communication more horizontal and plural;
  • Loss of control of the emission of the message, that now can be transferred outside of mainstream media and diffused on a peer-to-peer and many-to-many basis by means of web 2.0 tools;
  • Loss of control of the creation itself of the message: being data and participation available, web 2.0 tools at anyone’s reach, and with minimum digital competences, the message can even be created and spread bottom up;
  • Acknowledgement, hence, of the citizen as some who can be trusted (and used) as a one-man think-tank and a one-man communication-media;
  • Reversely, possibility to reach each and every opinion, target personal individuals with customized messages, by means of rich data and web 2.0 tools, thus accessing a long tail of voters that are far from the median voter;
  • Construction of an ideology, building of a discourse, setting up goals, campaigning and government become a continuum that feedbacks in real time.

I admit that this is neither a usual or a formal description, nor a comprehensive set of characteristics. I believe, though, that it could serve in providing a fair framework to contextualize and explain what’s happening at the intersection of Politics and the Web 2.0.

 

PS: dedico aquesta entrada al José Antonio Donaire, l’Ernest Benach, el Carlos Guadián, i el Ricard Espelt, en qui no he deixat de pensar mentre l’escrivia.

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2009) “A definition of Politics 2.0” In ICTlogy, #75, December 2009. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=3126

Previous post: Cristina Lafont: Deliberative democracy: religion in the public sphere. Deliberative obligations of the democratic citizenry

Next post: Predictions for Social Media in 2010

9 Comments to “A definition of Politics 2.0” »

  1. Aquí va un comentario acientífico:

    Muy interesante, y muy buena aproximación al tema en mi opinión (poco formada). Sin embargo, quizá peque de pesimismo, pero no sé cómo se puede llevar a la práctica en el marco del actual sistema de partidos políticos, y de los actuales partidos… Desde luego los gobiernos siguen teniendo que hacer la faena, pero no sé hasta qué punto los partidos querrán perder ese rol de “interfaz” con el espacio de poder que juegan con los ciudadanos.

    Creo que la propuesta modifica la visión actual del “espacio público”, vamos eso que ahora no podría definir pero que está presente en cada parlamento, cámara regional o pleno municipal. Me gusta que se tienda a visiones más abiertas. Creo que algunos partidos aún lo ven como una tarta de dimensiones determinadas, por cuyo pedazo mayor acaban peleando, y no sé si los loss of control que citas, participation y trustworthy citizens se lo creen…

    En fin ya me he desviado, ya veré tu paper jejeje.

    Un saludo,

    Pablo

  2. Pablo, totalmente de acuerdo contigo. Y la verdad es que yo no soy nada optimista al respecto, pero nada. La literatura que he analizado sobre el caso español más bien apunta hacia una colonización de lo “2.0” por parte del “aparato” que no lo contrario.

    Pero sí, habrá que esperar al paper, que es un artículo de libro y que, en cuanto pueda, lo cuelgo aquí :)

  3. Sí Ismael, brillant definició. Certament l’ús de les eines -malauradament- es converteixen sovint en un nou canal de debat més que una en una nova manera de vincular decisions i ciutadania.
    M’agradaria pensar que un dia els partits, els aparells també, acabaran descobrint que el “canvi” és més important que l’amplificació d’un missatge. Portarà el seu temps. Cal fer molta feina des de la ciutadania, clau. I amplificar les bones actituds dels nostres polítics més representatius de la política 2.0.

    El procés serà llarg, però apassionant. Vull pensar que estem en un punt de no retorn, i només es tracta d’una qüestió de ritmes. Tant de bo, sàpiguen agafar una bona velocitat de creuer.

    M’honorà llegir que hagis pensat en la meva actitud alhora de definir Polítics 2.0. Una vitamina més per continuar treballant. Gràcies.

  4. Molt bon article, Ismael.

    De totes formes, i seguint el que comenta en Ricard, crec que tots plegats ens estem centrant massa en la posició de les institucions, dels partits i fins i tot dels propis polítics, i oblidem que la majoria d’iniciatives relacionades amb la política 2.0 (i que podem observar fora d’Espanya) tenen a la ciutadania com a origen i final. Tot al més pur estil bottom-up.

    És el cas de Fix my street o de moltes altres, iniciatives que parteixen d’uns usuaris que no volen esperar a que els governs reaccionin si no que directament els volen fer reaccionar.

  5. Sobre els comentaris del Ricard i l’Edgar (gràcies),

    Al capítol de llibre que he preparat i d’on surt aquesta definició hi comento alguna cosa sobre la política “bottom-up”.

    De totes maneres, i potser ho hauria d’haver deixat més clar, l’esquema que tenia en ment era el següent:

    Política – Govern – Activisme

    És a dir, la política (professional) en contraposició a l’activisme (ciutadà), i el govern com el lloc on es troben ambdues esferes.

    Crec que estem d’acord i que és només qüestió de quines etiquetes fem servir cadascú: en el meu cas, Fix My Street ho considero govern (o e-govern o govern 2.0), ja que parla de la governança (en aquest cas) de la ciutat.

    I iniciatives com la consulta sobre la independència les qualifico com a activisme.

    Però vaja, que estem d’acord :)

  6. Pingback: ICTlogy » ICT4D Blog » A definition of Politics 2.0 | Un mar de conocimiento de un byte de profundidad :)

  7. Pingback: ICTlogy » SociedadRed » Skolti, ciudadanos 2.0 a la escucha

RSS feed RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Your comment: