What are the black spider memos?

The Guardian have started doing great short explainer videos for some of their long-running coverage. This one on the Prince Charles black spider memos is a great example. Campaigners are increasingly producing short video-explainers, but I think the clarity of the Guardian videos is something to learn from.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/mar/20/prince-charles-letters-supreme-court-judgment-due

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Are police cameras such an obvious win?

Recently read this interesting article from Bloomberg on the perils of police cameras. They seem like such an easy and obvious win in response to incidents like Ferguson, but Bloomberg make a strong argument for why it isn’t quite so simple.

On recruitment and effective policing:

Police cameras are also prone to intentional abuse. With mysterious frequency, they seem to accidentally get switched off or malfunctionat critical moments. One obvious remedy is to require that cops always keep them on. But that can be counterproductive. Witnesses and victims may be less forthcoming on camera. Attracting competent officers could become harder if their every interaction is recorded. Crucially, officers may simply avoid engaging certain communities, or avoid areas where confrontations are likely, if they know they’re being filmed.

On privacy:

equipping police with cameras and audio recorders means that they’re constantly conducting surveillance on innocent civilians — and potentially storing it all. Police frequently enter private homes and encounter people in medical emergencies who may not want to be filmed. Some officers may be tempted to record people on the basis of race or religion. And some departments have asserted that the public has no right to see such footage.

Having recently read The Circle, this particular that seems particularly resonant to me – do we really want the police to surveil us constantly?

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The leadership debates fail to impress

Amongst the top qualities and abilities I want the leader of my country are:

  • ability to negotiate
  • ability to manage and work with others
  • ability to¬†strategise

Being a strong public debater doesn’t seem to me to directly be a strong qualification for governing.

In that respect I’m not convinced the leadership debates in the way they are formatted will give us any useful information about who we should vote for. Instead they will mislead us into believing personality and polemical speeches are things we should care about most.

They aren’t.

That isn’t to say we shouldn’t be testing the parties and their leadership, but the importance attached to the leadership debates is bizarre.

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A new hope

After some years away from blogging regularly I have decided to get back into it. My livejournal is (thankfully) long gone, my blogspot is beyond saving, and my tumblr is stuck in limbo after an account error.

So back to my main website I return.

My plan is to blog at least once a week. Initially I’m keeping it simple, but as I get back into it I may blog more often, share more of the digital tools I use on a daily basis

Book reviews

I read quite a lot of books. Practically anything that is recommended to me I will read. I have recently asked people at CARE to recommend some of their favourite books, and will start to review those here.

Best of the blogosphere and Twitter

I follow maybe 100 blogs, not including the people on Twitter, and I am going to start highlighting what I think are likely to be seminal or thought-changing (what the current book I am reading would obnoxiously call a ‘paradigm shift’) blogs, videos and ideas.

In particular the blogs I follow tend to focus on:

  • Economics
  • International development
  • Campaigning
  • Online communities

Tools and creations

As a Digital Officer at CARE International UK I regularly change the tools I use, my methods of working, and I am constantly troubleshooting obscure problems.

I’ll be posting some the useful tools, odd creations, and hard-won fixes and workarounds for digital tools I use. For the moment that will likely be experiences from using Engaging Networks, Sprout Social and Google Analytics as I am using those most frequently.

The caveats

All opinions on this blog are my own and I often make mistakes. If I post anything that looks wrong to you, let me know on ian@iangoggin.com.

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