March 30, 2010 By Russell Nichols
In the age of Government 2.0, where everybody wants their opinions to be seen and heard, a new federal platform, launched by the U.S. State Department in March, takes the word "viewpoint" literally.
"Opinion Space," hosted on State.gov, bridges the worlds of politics and social media in an interactive visualization forum, where users can engage in open dialog on foreign affairs and global policies.
"Opinion Space will harness the power of connection technologies to provide a unique forum for international dialog," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a statement. "This is an example of what we call 21st century statecraft and an opportunity to extend our engagement beyond the halls of government directly to the people of the world. I can't wait to be a part of this exciting new conversation."
Accessible to anyone around the globe, Opinion Space was developed jointly with the University of California at Berkeley's Center for New Media (BCNM), which had been exploring new interfaces for the past decade, said Ken Goldberg, professor and BCNM director. The collaboration, he said, came about through friends who had been involved in Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
"They were interested in using new media and new technology to have participatory democracy," Goldberg said. "We thought it would be interesting, the possibilities that we could have users enter opinions that would position them in this 2-D space."
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