In March the US State Department launched Opinion Space a fascinating new web based tool to, in their own words, ‘foster online open dialogue’. Below is AYM2011 from Afghanistan’s comment:
It allows you to position yourself through a series of questions on a social graph and compare yourself to others. The questions are faily basic, but broad:
Its great that you can see others comments, and rate them in terms of how much you agree with them. But Id like to see:
- comments by geography. It would be interesting to be able to engage with peoples perspectives from specific countries.
- responses to questions put to SoS Clinton. It doesnt feel very interactive at present.
- ability to comment directly in response to other comments.
- facility to propose new questions
- a broader set of activities around the whole initiative. TV programmes, blogs, etc.
How could this be used beyond its webplatform, and to open it up to broader participation? Well, Id like to see this being reflected in a TV programme, broadcast simultaneously on US and a foreign TV channel – eg Pakistan. Questions could be asked , responses sent by text message, and the answers graphed on the webplatform and broadcast on television. The responses could be debated by a studio panel, commentators or even government representatives.
How else can data representation like this be used to promote peace and diplomacy? How can the data be used in interactive ways?