The last blog...
This is my last blog as Director of the Digital
Democracy Programme. After three and half years I'm heading to new pastures, or
rather old ones... back to the world of the independent consultant, this time London-based
but still globally focussed.
When I started in this role I
wrote about the current state of the digital democracy landscape. A lot has
changed since then, not least the rapid acceleration of social media. A lot,
too, has not changed - or not changed enough. When I started, Downing
Street's e-Petitions were going strong. Now we have the new system
on DirectGov and the quality remains dubious but the latent opportunity is still
there. Beyond that, more MPs are talking digitally. More get it. More civil
servants get it. But still the chain is being dragged and institutionally,
despite moves to open up data, there is still significant resistance to
transforming government, parliament and society into a more inclusive
democratic and discursive space.
What has changed above all is that the internet has come of
age. This is now a digital society where the majority of us are online and
almost all of us are on mobiles. We've seen time and time again - in the 2010
general election, the Arab Spring and last weeks riots - that people now turn
to digital because that's where they live their lives. Digital media is now an
inherent part of society, so those organisations who ignore it do so at their
I'm planning on staying around the Hansard Society as a Visiting
Fellow, so I won't be a stranger. But in the meantime, keep up with what I'm doing or get in
touch via my own website or on Twitter.
Dr Andy Williamson