Social Media and the Future of Democracy Part Three: Can Technology Turn the Tide of Partisanship?

In the last blog in this series on technology and the future, I talked about how trust is moving away from large institutions. Moving right along, here’s my next point:

Technology Can Lead to Greater Civility in Politics

Every day, people tell me that we need to be more civil in our politics. So what can we do to change the tone in Washington? It’s a big question. Some believe that we’ve always been partisan and social networking just reflects and brings light into what is actually happening. I believe this statement has validity. However, I believe that with technology and real time feedback, we have the ability to get to a more genuine connection that is, in essence, better for civility.

While people may still be throwing fits at each other, technology allows us to achieve a better and more genuine bond with our Representatives, one where they truly listen and take in what we have to say to them. This leads to the concept of outbound messaging I have spent a lot of time thinking about recently- what I call the ‘intention of impact.’ This concept is as follows: if the intention of impact of your outbound message is to coerce reactions then you’ll get that. Simple enough. However, if the intention of impact is to gather feedback from all channels and listen to constituent opinions, then you’ll get a much better connection and feedback cycle that people will trust. This, just like in business, shows the importance of truly diving in on social media in reference to your Congressional brand, creating a better bond with constituents.

It’s neccesary that we become creative with the outbound communications because this will lead to better interactions. What about instead of a form letter, your office sending a personalized video response back to a constituent? Or instead of seeing them once and shaking their hand, you can hold video chats via your official Facebook page that are open and honest conversations. Indeed, these ideas are beginnings of greater respect and communication for all.

The bottom line: When used in the right way, technology can help improve partisanship, not hinder it.

The final installment: How can we get more people to interact with their representatives?

Cross Posted from www.iConstituent.com/blog

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