Barack Obama in power - in terms of grassroots involvement - feels to me like Howard Dean running for president. It's not there yet. And data is the reason why. Too much of the data is locked up. What data have been liberated have not been made visually appealing and presentable yet. Those are bottlenecks.
Data, in general, is the new "Intel inside." There is so much data being created that it has become common wisdom to say one of the next waves in technology is services that will help us make sense of all that data. And this is not just about or even primarily about government. This is in general. Actually this is only tangentially about government.
New York Times: Bits: Sorting Through the Government Data Explosion: May 2009, the Obama administration started putting raw government data on the Web. ..... Today, there are more than 270,000 government data sets ....... a “new industry in data curation will be born.” ..... All the data the American government is pouring onto the Web will be useful only if people can make sense of it. What’s needed are tools for sorting, combining and presenting raw data sets in visual form. ..... make visually appealing interactive data sites as easy to build as Web sites have becomeData is democracy. The people have a right to know, often in near real time. Data collection, analysis and presentation has to happen in near real time. Such a democracy will be a richer democracy. We have processes whereby politicians end up being caricatures of themselves. These are normal people who look abnormal on TV. Or maybe not all of them are normal - I will give you that much - but my guess is perhaps many are.
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Data density will enrichen the conversations. Meaningful dialogues will become more possible. Democracy will grow to tackle big challenges. Social media will take a whole new meaning. Social media will lead to civil media. Imagine that. Scientific approaches will end up with an upper hand over old school demagoguery.
I am all for data liberation. I am all for data analysis. I am all for data presentation. I say visualize. The revolution will be visualized.