I am no techie, and I am not very experienced with this subject, but there is more and more material on it, and it is relevant, so I'm doing what I can. If you have good stories of people generating real group intelligence or community wisdom with electronic media, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, I am offering links to various resources that look good, or whose creators I know and respect. My personal intuition is that the greatest gift electronic media have to bring to collective intelligence is the ability of certain email forums and online links and dialogues to connect up people who are already engaging in various face-to-face meetings. Beyond that, I say "Proceed at your own risk, into this brave new world..." --- Tom Atlee
Peter and Trudy Johnson-Lenz, founders of AWAKENING TECHNOLOGY and the folks who introduced me to the watershed phrase "Using Our Differences Creatively," coined the term "groupware". They meant it to be a combination of hardware, software, process and people which would produce greater group intelligence. Of course, it got shortened by our culture to mean just software for groups. If you'd like more of their wisdom, visit their site http://www.awakentech.com. For me, the most exciting part of their site is the "inquiry map" associated with their current inquiry: "How do we practice our wisdom together in cyberspace"?
COWORKING, an excellent email newsletter of developments in the groupware field can be acquired from http://www.coworking.com/. They are archived at http://www.coworking.com/html/coworkingindex.html.
COUNCIL is an advanced groupware tool and process for meetings, both face-to-face and virtual, available from http://www.covision.com.
eVote is a working (though not active), listserve-based voting system with many good features, which is free for download from www.deliberate.com.
QUESTMAP helps teams record, structure and visualize their problem-solving and decision-making conversations, breaking them down into questions, ideas, pros and cons, notes and arguments and mapping these into a concise visual history of a free-flowing exploration. [Note: the QuestMap sorting categories bear an interesting resemblance to Jim Rough's chart pads in Dynamic Facilitation -- which is why I listed this resource.] Available from Group Decision Support Systems at http://www.gdss.com/omq/aboutQM.htm
Ways telecommunications technology can enhance (or undermine) democracy
Ted Becker's site at http://www.auburn.edu/tann/tann2/masthead.html
Steven Clift's site at http://www.e-democracy.org/do
- He has a great free "Democracies Online Newswire"
you can subscribe to by emailing: email@example.com
with the message body: SUB DO-WIRE .
And then the more generic, cautious site on the relationships between technology and democracy:
The Loka Institute at http://www.Loka.org
For concerns about technology's impact on democracy, see The Challenge of Technology in a Democracy