Using Social Media to Change Government and Society for the Better

April 21, 2010  |  Uncategorized

Come on, admit it.  If you’re one of millions of Baby Boomers around the world heading for retirement, you may actually have been a “hippie” back in the 1960’s.   Jeans, sandals, beads, headbands and peace signs… Ah yes, you remember it well.   But you’ll also remember there was something else hippies loved to wear… a cause… and they wore it on their sleeves – picketing politicians and marching on places like Washington, D.C.  to make their voices heard.  Everything from the Viet Nam war to women’s rights…  Hippies were on it.  Imagine what the world might have been like if Social Media had been around back then… People could have pressed a button on a computer or an iPhone to make their voices heard.  Well, welcome to 2010…(More…)

The founder of craigslist, the hugely successful cyberspace version of a yard sale, reports that you can now contact some of the world’s biggest cities using Social Media.  Yup.  Seems you can talk to City Hall about anything from a dangerous pothole that needs fixing in your neighbourhood to a special garbage pick-up on moving day.  According to Craig Newmark,  third-party developers have come up with an app known as “SeeClickFix” – one that lets you take a picture of something that needs fixing in town with your smartphone, geo-tag it (attach a locator to it),  add a comment, and send it directly to the folks at City Hall who have the power to make it right.

Newmark explains that Social Media is also playing a role in scouting mayoralty candidates in some communities… allowing average citizens to become “hiring managers” — encouraging new candidates to come forward and debating the issues of the day using Social Media platforms.

It’s a long way from marching on Washington.  But it’s also a powerful way that Social Media can effect real change in government.

Is your town or city using Social Media to reach out to the people who elected the folks at City Hall?    If not, why not?  Try a few searches on Facebook and Twitter to find out if the politicians in your community have jumped on the Social Media bandwagon.  If they haven’t, maybe it’s time to start asking some questions.  Nice beads, by the way.

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