One of the four pillars of democracy is representation. This pillar is deeply rooted in civic engagement and participation, of which officials in Stafford County, VA, fear is lacking. Many residents of Stafford County commute to Washington, D.C., and as such don’t have time for town hall meetings to have their voices heard. To remedy this, a new online platform called “Community Voice” has been created to encourage ‘citizen sourcing’, or crowdsourcing for government. Cathy Hozian, the webmaster in Goodyear, Arizona, where the application will also be launched, had this to say:
“This platform will enable us to reach more citizens and to have them build on each other’s ideas. This does not necessarily mean that everything they request/suggest will be acted upon, but it does give them a centralized place to voice their ideas and opinions.”
The platform will allow users to gain badges and points the more they participate on the platform. Creators of the website and county officials hope that this will encourage conversation as users strive to receive more points.
Will a tool like this catch on beyond the town hall regulars? Are new websites necessary to increase engagement, or can it be done by utilizing Facebook and Twitter?