BBC To Launch Citizen Activism Site. Details of iCan's workings are a bit sketchy — the system is still in development — but an overview was provided recently at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in Santa Clara, California.
Cronin and Matt Jones, an information architect with the BBC's new media wing, told conference attendees that the idea is to provide a loosely structured set of tools to make it easy for ordinary citizens to run their own activist campaigns on the Net.
In fact, the system was designed after a three-month ethnographic study of real-world grassroots political campaigns. Details of the study remain confidential.
The system will consist of two main components: a public forum to help people research their concerns and find others who share them, both locally and nationally, and a “democracy database,” designed to provide a wealth of information on grassroots campaigning and the legislative process.
Say there's a proposal to build a new highway. The iCan system will help concerned citizens find each other through the forum and begin the process of organizing an anti-road movement.
Using the democracy database, members of the fledgling anti-road lobby will learn how to set up public meetings, lobby their representatives and voice grievances during planning hearings. [Smart Mobs]