Category Archives: Uncategorized

Broadband = Citizen Involvement

Government agencies are blogging and tweeting faintly, thumbing into blog e-topia where Gov is already 2.0. Next year’s insiders know what that means. This year’s insiders are already operating in Gov 3.0.

Eugene J. Huang, the Government Operations Director of the National Broadband Task Force, delivered a speech at MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media on Feb. 24th, about Broadband and the Future of Civic Engagement.

“The FCC launched a presence on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites. Since launching on Twitter last fall, we have amassed more than 330,000 twitter followers, making us the third highest of any government agency – behind only the White House and the CDC.” said Huang. FCC sponsors a public access blog where the Broadband Task Force members post updates.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) uses social media platforms to provide access to current health information, providing, for example, reliable information about the H1N1 virus to the public.

Why broadband?

It will expand access to information in our society. A democracy depends on informed and engaged citizens. Broadband internet access will permit more people to reach farther into public information held by governments as well as enable communication among citizens. Broadband would facilitate citizen diplomacy. Citizens can use broadband-enabled tools that will advance democracy and include more participatotion at all levels.

Broadband will facilitate “open and transparent government, public media, social media, engaging citizens in government innovation, and modernizing our democratic processes. We believe that broadband has the potential to transform civic engagement. But this transformation will not occur on its own. It will take a commitment from all of us – our government, our elected leaders, and the American people – to renew our democracy in a broadband enabled twenty-first century,” said Huang.

“Social media … isn’t a pilot project. … Government should use a variety of new media tools – from those primarily used to communicate, to those that enable more intensive participation and that specialize in co-production and co-governance. Social media is also giving rise to citizen-to-citizen diplomacy,” said Huang. Social media tools are connecting individuals across nations and regions. “As one example, the State Department recently launched its “Virtual Student Foreign Service, enabling college students to become “dorm-room diplomats”. These students are then matched with embassies and students in other countries to build transnational relationships and cultural understanding through digital citizen-to-citizen diplomacy,” he said.

Government is making progress with using social media to improve communication, transparancy and customer service. “Recognizing the promise that social medial holds, our federal government should accelerate the adoption of social media technologies across all agencies,” said Huang.

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White Boarding

What is whiteboarding?  Could be technology, or a process, or could be confused with waterboarding. I wasn’t sure so I looked the term up and this is another case of a noun becoming a verb.  Start with a  flat white slick plastic wall mounted board that thinking+visual people use to plan projects or sketch venn diagrams.  You’ll need the markers  Stephen Colbert  likes to huff.

Transfer that tool online and the collaboration options expand.  Online discussion and brainstorming using the whiteboard option is productive.  Participants — especiallly those who are visual thinkers — can express ideas.  The talkers can keep on talking while the visuals outline the concepts and processes. This speeds up the synthesis of ideas explored by a group by moving key verbal expressions to a shared digital platform.   Distance learning classrooms have used online whiteboards for years in virtual classrooms.

Keep the on-the-wall whiteboard option with the markers for quick demos and individual schemas.  Add collaborative brainstorming tools for effective crowd creative sessions. 

Random Resources:  Dabbleboard    Thinkature   Whiteboarding 101

Why does diplomacy need to consider whiteboarding online?  Because  sometimes a sketched image conveys 1,000 words.  And it’s ever so useful when people don’t share a language or cultural framework.