Anyone who has sat through a community planning meeting knows--well, they’re not always exciting, and not always terribly involving. The traditional civic decision-making process can be a turn-off, even if you care deeply about the issues involved.
The goal of PlanIt--a game built around local issues that’s now been played in several cities--is to engage people more, challenge them for their thoughts, and bring new residents into the process.
According to California Forward, “the public seeks transparency not for the sake of transparency, but as a tool to hold their leaders accountable to results. Conversely, governments may pursue openness as a means to increase efficiency by promoting inclusion and civic participation, which in turn fosters innovation. Citizens want to know their tax dollars are being spent wisely and officials want to restore the public’s faith in government.”
Something transformational has been happening online: African voices have begun populating social media, quickly becoming the undisputed champions of development punditry. No longer are we faced with what the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie called "the danger of a single story". Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media are bringing African voices and new, varied narratives to the forefront. And, what's even more remarkable, is that these online platforms are not being used for simple pontification and acerbic commentary (although there's a fair bit of that as well). These tools are also being used to replace staid development paradigms, by organising and developing African-driven institutions.
Social media can be something of a double-edged sword for politicians. Obviously, here at Debating Europe we rely heavily on social media, so we want to encourage European policy-makers and citizens to take to this form of communication with enthusiasm. However, for every President Obama breaking records with his bazillions of followers, there are thousands of examples of politicians very publicly falling flat on their digital faces.
What could be a surprise (trust social media as news source) is not really one, as the speed in which incorrect information gets noticed and moderated on social networks is faster than on any other traditional channels, because social networks are built on rea-time, rela-life friendship and connections...
A new report by the Partnership for Public Service said the federal government must move faster to embrace social media because it's "not just a passing trend" but an important mechanism for advancing government effectiveness.
Consensus among analysts and attendants is that the summit exceeded expectations - both in its scope of ideas and its scope of participants - thus cementing its status as the region's foremost congregation of thought leaders in social media.
The extent to which social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have played a role in the political events shaping the Arab World since 2011 is still subject to debate, but some of the region's governments that appeared at first to be...
If you work in government, be prepared to lose control. If you don't go out and meet social media head-on, it will happen anyway, all around you. Loosen your tie and get ready to tweet, post your status and respond to posts from the voters.
That's essentially the prescription of the Social Media in the Public Sector Field Guide by Ines Mergel and Bill Greeves. "To be clear, we are not suggesting a three-ring, no-holds-barred circus act at your service counters," the authors write, recommending "an innovative yet measured approach" to taking advantage of what social media has to offer. Their field guide provides a grand tour of the essential characteristics of social media and the most important sites and formats, along with details on government-specific concerns related to records retention, disclaimers and comment policies.
Political discourse has changed with the rise of social media, as it did when Calvin Coolidge gave the first presidential radio address in 1923 and again when John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon shared the screen during the first televised presidential debate in 1960.
Never before have political leaders been able to converse so immediately and directly with the unwashed masses (aside from handshaking and baby-kissing on the campaign trail). Today, elected officials and media outlets use social media accounts and interactive Web tools to solicit suggestions on important policy issues.
So how has Internet crowdsourcing changed political discourse?
We don’t need a survey to tell us that Americans have largely lost faith in the political system. But according to a study from global communications group Havas Worldwide, that political apathy extends across the globe. Increasingly, people are filling the hole where their faith in government used to be (or maybe never was) with social media, a respect for good citizenship, and socially-minded businesses.
Interestingly enough, respondents in emerging markets agree with the statement "Social media gives ordinary people an extraordinary ability to influence others and create personal change" at a much higher rate (68%) than respondents in developed markets (49%).
At first, the government ignored the presence of this class of citizenry which bonded online and then took to the streets. But lately, it has admitted that there is no escaping social media.
Governments will have to start listening to what citizens are sharing on social networks. Many governments has developed or implemented software and processes to monitor citizens' social media conversations. Here is an article we recently shared about the Australian government doing so.
Listening to relevant posts from the public on social media platforms helps governments drive action and respond to emergencies.
More and more citizens share straight from their mobile what they see "live" - in real time - creating situational information which governments, local municipalities and agencies could closely monitor to tackle potential problems and/or get meaningful insights.