Friday, July 03, 2009

On blogs and the Digital Economy

I've been promising Kate Lundy I'd have a look at her revamped website. I'm extremely impressed. I first commented on politicians web presence back in September 2006. I subsequently took down the links to those sites because Senator Bartlett ceased to be a Senator, and Kate Lundy's site started to fade. I've reinstated the latter now.

The interesting thing about the new Lundy site is that it is "only" a blog. It shows just how effective a blog can be. It made me reflect on the whole concept of a "blog". In the initial incarnation they wre just a tool for recording a sequential list of entries - just literally on online (binary) log. The various popular blogging tools like Blogger and WordPress have been adding more and more features - features which I'm mostly ignoring - I'm attached to my original 2003 blog look and feel.

But blogs now range from the items like Senator Lundy's to my other favourite the simple clean lines of Breakfast Politics. Those of us in corporate land who've been close to company website design will know that the breakthrough on a company site comes when you can move to a "content management system" rather than every page requiring some IT coding. Senator Lundy started out like many of us creating content through the wonders of raw HTML.

Ultimately blog software/services is now offering a really cheap and effective content management system, especially for sites that have got a small number of authors. There are still blogs like mine - much of which is just my own mental note taking.

One recent post of Senator Lundy's I wanted to comment on was her CeBIT speech. This marked a big return by her to the ICT industrt development field, which is marrying up with her championing of Government 2.0.

She has married the two in her call for "clear policy and requirements around open standards and open access, particularly to public data." (I found this interesting given my October 2007 post in which I wondered about the benefit in Government investing in an pen source operating system for households). What I think she could do more of is marrying that with here sentiments on the ICT sector as a whole;

We need to seriously look at the ICT investment opportunities in Australia to help grow and support the local ICT sector. Every company that has to move overseas is a company that is taking smart Australians and smart ideas away from the Australian economy.

I come from a school that believes that you dn't necessarily need the whole sector to profit from it, nor that to aid the sector you necessarily need to invest in it. The growth of the ICT sector in Australia probably relies more on contnuing to train real engineers, physicists and mathematicians rather than the coders who populate IT courses. It also requires some investment in more economists trained in developmental and growth economics rather than the developed economy micro and macro bull that constitutes most economic discussion, and, far worse, economic policy formulation.

But the ay of bringing some of these things together is more direct funding of education or development fellowships that get Australians directly engaged in the standards forums around the world. In short Government investment to turn Australia into a (global) standards maker not taker.

Meanwhile I note that the Digital Economy directions paper will be launched on 14 July. Despite all the efforts to get interest across broader industry in DE issues, I note that the three organisations sponsoring the launch are The Australian Computer Society (ACS), the Internet Industry Association (IIA) and the Australian Information Industries Association (AIIA).

Really we will only progess the DE discussion if we do break out of this club.

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