slanted W3C logo

Groups, scale and the distribution of power

RCA November 2008

Richard Pope

Politics is all about the distribution of power in society

Groups of people provide a focus for that power

Chartists, Kennington Common, April 10, 1848

GroupsNearYou - mapping groups online

Different scales, overlap, platforms & focus


Brixton Drug Treatment Centre campaign

Due to planning system only direct neighbours consulted. Residents email list & new real life groups ran effective anti campaign.

News filters to wider groups, leads to counter campaign. Urban 75,, wiki petition

Groups need information!

3 Examples - PlanningAlerts, ElectionMemory and StreetWire

Planning Alerts tells you what's being built where you live

Sends you emails like this

Any information from anywhere on the web about 'near you'

Relevant, timely, transmittable information

Then let people do what they want with it, on any platform

Platforms don't matter (much)

People build their own groups using platforms, platforms do not build the groups.

Yahoo groups, forums, community blogs,
facebook, irc ...

No single local group provider because people use what they already have at hand

Example 1): Facebook - Last orders on the Underground

Example 2): Yahoo Groups - Freecycle

5,531,000 members across 4,556 different communities

We can do better though

1) "A campaign on facebook has to be explainable in the 1 line title of the group or event." - James Darling, Last Orders On The Underground


2) FreeCycle, a rant.