Comments

  1. Fun.

    One thing I advise local governments is that their promotion of local online engagement and participation in it is a “whole community” need. If they suffer from media-hosted anonymous commenting destroying trust and civility in the community, do something about it!

    It might we be that you should foster the creation of an independent community forum, like the now retired city manager of Eau Claire Wisconsin did: http://e-democracy.org/eauclaire

    Or it might be working to get the local community foundation to invest in promoting the local online neighborhood spaces that already exist in a community or promoting efforts community members and neighborhood associations to make it happen: http://beneighbors.org http://e-democracy.org/inclusion

    Also, in this ongoing work for the League of Women Voters – http://e-democracy.org/sunshine – I’ve included suggestions about how governments should work to channel online commenting within the framework of upcoming meeting agenda-items and understand the limited value of government hosted social media engagement that is disconnected from decision-making. (While instead of working to foster that engagement at a higher quality in across the community by “going to the people” where they are online where others are in control of the gavel so to speak)

  2. Wow, Steven. Thanks for chiming in. Great suggestions. A common thread that appears to weave its way through them is perhaps a third among my simplified scenarios: The one where robust community exists below the radar but where public discourse is dominated by a minority of angry voices. You offer excellent examples for how to coax this silent majority of reasoned and reasonable voices out of the shadows.

    The constant, it seems, is that it remains about people, their relationships with each other, and their relationships with local governance. Your comments demonstrate that all is not lost when anger and cynicism appear pervasive. Social media can still become a useful tool, though no small amount of strategy and targeted work may be required.

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