The age of new media

Scotland’s Festival of Politics, now in its sixth year, took place at the Parliament Building in Edinburgh last week running alongside other Fringe and Festival events. Last year I had attended to hear the recently retired John Prescott, look back on his career. Since then he has developed a whole new Twitter persona and has taken to tweeting  in a BIG way and is as prominent in the media as ever. This year’s  theme was renewing politics in the age of new media and there was much to interest and excite information professionals.

Scottish Parliament venue for the Festival of Politics

‘Has Twitter changed the world?’ was the specific question posed by the event. I wanted to garner tips and hints on how CILIP in Scotland/SLIC can better use new communication media to enrich the member environment.  And there were plenty of pointers on offer.

The story of how Kirk Torrance  and ICT guru  Ewan McIntosh   used social media tools to help take the SNP into Government for a second term is a case in point and a bluprint for others to follow.

However the highlight of the debate for me was listening to Dr Andy Williamson, the Hansard Society’s Director of Digital Democracy,   expound the importance of information literacy in creating a politically aware society, the key  role of libraries in encouraging information literacy and helping individuals to develop the tools for effective digital engagement.  Sadly, Dr Williamson is leaving his post soon .

The debate itself was inconclusive – but there are plenty of sites to help you make up your mind. Meanwhile I’m off to examine more closely event amplification using social media to enhance participation and debate around our conferences and seminars.


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