chrishaller's blog

What's missing from Local News...

The local news website Topix recently asked folks what's wrong with Local News


AmericaSpeaks - 21st century Town Hall Meeting

Just found this great video produced by AmerikaSpeaks which explains how their 21st Century Town Hall Meetings work.

I still wonder if Keypad Polling and Laptops to capture feedback in meetings could be considered as part of eParticipation or if this stretches the term. For example in one of our projects in Kentucky we used this technology to directly post feedback online. Even though the gap between face-to-face deliberation and online dialogues is still a big one, I do believe there will be a need to widen the term eParticipation beyond online applications that support communication. Especially as we move forward on developing crossmedia approaches to citizen engagement, by using different channels to enable discussions in decision-making processes.

Policial Communication2.0

It amazes me, that finally politicians seem to open up and embrace a bidirectional flow, changing the traditional patterns of political communication.

Some recent examples, that I'm fascinated by, because they go beyond the simple blog-scheme are:

  • - A portal that lets users target their questions to the German Chancellor and rank them. The top 3 questions are answered by Angela Merkel every week.
  • YouTube You Choose '08 Spotlight - Each candidate for the presidential election in 2008 has a week in Spotlight, where he or she creates a videofor their YouTube You Choose '08 Channel to inspire video responses fromthe YouTube community. The YouTube community submitsresponses to the candidate's video and, based on those responses,candidates will engage with the YouTube community through video responsesthat reflect what they have seen.
  • I wonder how much the last one was insipired by the great work of Steven Clift and the folks from on their gubernatorial e-debate in October 2006.

Continue reading "Policial Communication2.0"

Framework for Crossmedia Interaction Design

One of my core interests is how the convergence of communication media will impact the way eParticipation projects are shaped in the future. Little research has been done on this, that's why I'm closely following other fields, where the art and science of crossmedia interaction design is more advanced.
So I just found this great roundup posted by Christy Dena on her research blog, laying out a framework that addresses some of the following questions, that also apply to our daily work:
How are audiences moved between platforms, and how can one make this traversal a part of the entertainment
experience itself? What is to be considered when designing for movement between platforms? How are audiences moved between platforms? What influences the choice of traversal? This paper provides an introduction to multi-platform and multi-format entertainment and then outlines the factors that influence cross-media interaction design.
When doing the research for my last publication, I found that we still need to do a lot of exploration and research in this direction. Hope to see some of Dena's insights being transfered over to the eDemocracy realm.

Dialog and deliberation via online video

Youtube added it's video response feature a couple of months ago and from my outside perspective, the feature became widely used, though in an often very unfocussed, if not rude way. At last weeks SWSX conference a new video service has been showed off to public that potentially brings more structure into the dialogue-through-online-video realm - As Rafe Needleman from blog describes it:

Socialsaga.comSocialSaga,is a site where video clips ask questions, to which users upload theiranswers. The site currently is used to build pass-along stories, andfor people to debate issues. As you watch watch a clip, you can see thetree of the video replies to it. It's like a threaded message board,but in video.

I really like the idea and am curious to see how this is going to be used. But considering our fast-paced online world, I still can't quite picture, who would take the time to follow all relevant parts of a conversation neccesary for meaningful deliberation - scanning through written content is by far easier and speech recognition tools that would create written transcripts by far not good enough to solve this shortcoming.

On a private note...

I recently moved back to Denver, CO and started a job at the University of Colorado as Director of eParticipation Initiative, in collaboration with

iCommunity.TV - local video news

A couple of days ago I rolled out my latest project. iCommunity.TV is a collaborative broadcast network for local news, built with the intention to promote video as a media for citizen reporting.

As an aggregation platform iCommunity.TV ties into the popular video-sharing service, extends its offering by letting a broad audience georeference and sort video clips in news categories and offers multiple convenient ways to watch and subscribe to these custom channels (e.g. "Politics in Berlin, Germany").

I'm excited to see where it is headed to, now that it's public. All feedback is welcome!

Net Neutrality

Nice roundup...

Denver showcase for new GE4 features

The beautiful city of Denver, that I'll soon be moving to, was selected by Google to showcase new features of the recently released Google Earth 4 and high quality 3D buildings that come standard with the integrated best-of-3D-Warehouse link

Google has crafted a fantastic collection of 3D building models for thecity of Denver, Colorado. This collection was obviously created to showof GE 4's ability to show high quality photo textured 3D models, and isa part of the new "Best of 3D Warehouse" layer found under the "3D Buildings" layer in GE. This ONLY works with the latest GE 4 - so go download GE 4 if you don't have version 4.0.2722 or greater.

(from Google Earth Blog)

GUI thoughts...

Designing graphical user interfaces is key to building successful websites for citizen engagement. Over the rise of the internet patterns and behaviours have evolved, that seem unthinkable to ignore, like navigating a website without using mouse clicks. Would it work? Here's an answer, explore
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