Dan Bevarly on Citizen Engagement

I was lucky enough to attend an event yesterday on Citizen Engagement. I got a chance to catch up with Dan Bevarly (from aheadofideas.com) to talk about Gov 2.0 and specifically citizen engagement.

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Daniel Bevarly

Amanda – The symposium at the Poynter Institute was about Preserving Civic Education and citizen participation put on by the First Amendment Foundation.

We had a panel that included a public administration academician, an open records expert, a newspaper editor, and a LWV national board member. Good discussions with different perspectives.

My brief presentation focused on the use of the Web and citizen participation. I spoke about three concepts. The first amplified the comments in this video; primarily the ability and benefit of Web 2.0 to capture the informal dialog around public projects, issues, events, policies etc. and make it available to others, and more importantly to policy makers.

You know those thoughtful conversations and debates we have with friends, family, peers where we present our opinions and ideas in a variety of venues or social gatherings. At times like these, we say to ourselves “if only our public or elected officials were here to hear this…”

When government asks for our input, it traditionally occurs through formal public forums –the venue where most of us do not go to express our opinion. Historically, there is great value that can be captured in the formal process; namely the public’s perspective. It’s just that’s its common place now that that is not where the public goes.

Capturing the informal dialog using Web 2.0 has great value to citizens and to government officials, Information and knowledge can be shared hopefully resulting in more informed decision making.

So that was one of the discussions.

One theme we continued to return to was the lack of civility that exists today in civic engagement processes. The lack of respect and the refusal to accept differing viewpoints all translate to the inability to advance concepts, issues and discussions and creates gridlock in building consensus or making decisions. Would you agree or add to this?

Amanda Blount

Thank you Daniel!

I love this type of thing. If only the people up high could hear what we say when we are around our friends. It would be terrific if someone was actually listening.