I’ve been watching from the sidelines the excellent work being done online by FCO in preparation for the UK’s hosting of the G20 at the London Summit in April.
I suspect a lot more will be said about the event and its web presence (archived) over the coming weeks, but if you’re not already following it, I’d recommend it. If nothing else, it looks set to be one of the finest examples of policy engagement online. There’s
- a surprisingly content-rich microsite within the FCO’s existing web infrastructure
- a partnership with Yoosk.com is putting questions directly to ministers, including the PM and Foreign Secretary; and another with Vox.eu to stimulate professional debate amongst economists
- a promising YouTube channel, including vox pops from people whose textbooks I used to read
- a Delicious tagging strategy, to help track and share online debate elsewhere
- a hefty media centre in place already, with dedicated resources for bloggers
- good integration with FCO’s bloggers
- evaluation in place already via the Hansard Society’s Digital Dialogues programme
In the emerging field of digital engagement for policymaking, this seems to be doing a lot right: a hub for news, early planning, serious resource invested original content (but not much new money thrown at technology), partnerships with innovative forums for debate, a strategy for engagement designed to work at the level of professionals as well as the public, and measurement.
Stephen Hale has written up the strategy on his blog too – having used a previous post as a way to source ideas.
Good luck to all involved. This stuff is raising the bar.
UPDATE: And of course, a mention for Paul Massey and the team at we20.org, who are taking the engagement offline by catalysing groups of 20 individuals to get together alongside the Summit to discuss the issues as they affect their lives. An interesting example in itself of participatory culture, and a rebuttal of the nonsense that social media is antipathetic to face to face contact.