Becky Hogge’s comment on ‘Campaigning in Cyberspace’ brought mySociety, a British group, to my attention. They fully deserve it, though these are busy days, so I will not write much
I find them interesting partly because they do the usual stuff well – make information about elected officials available, help people write to their elected official – but mainly because they do a few newer things, things that are not as integral to the informatio-and-transmission-oriented ways in which we have developed online communication.
* They develop tools for peer-to-peer politics, like Pledgebank, helping people commit to common projects, and Neighbourhood Fix-It that help people locate, discuss, and perhaps deal with, practical local problems like pot holes and the like. Both have a nice action-orientation that can operate independently of the state and organized politics. Both can of course also be turned towards more traditional movements or party politics.
* They help people publicize their reasons for, for instance, non-voting. Check out NotApathetic, a site that contains everything from the pathetic, over the obvious (I didn’t vote because I’m only 17), to interesting, nuanced explanations of how some people felt disenchanted and disenfranschised even on the eve of the ’05 UK election. And debate of those reasons and the platform on which the debate took place too.
Oh, by the way, wouldn’t they have been even lovelier if they where called ‘ourSociety’? Anyway, good, interesting work.