Clay Shirkey has an interesting piece in Foreign Affairs arguing that the real potential of social media is in supporting civil society and the public sphere rather than for any particular foreign policy aims. It’s especially pertinent (and prescient) in light of the unrest in Egypt. We can’t help but think the same basic argument applies at the community level domestically as well . . . we suspect that social media tools are much more important for building and supporting a strong culture of civic participation at the local level rather than as a tool to advance any particular policy, program, or political effort.
Ethan Zuckerman in Fast Company Design makes his argument about the importance of folks who can serve as bridges, spanning across and bringing together very different cultures. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s trusted advocate model relies on a similar sort of insight: find people who are trusted by the community you are engaging and engage them as ambassadors and connectors.
National Center for Dialogue and Deliberation offers an alternative to conventional citizen deliberation methods that they call “Creative Deliberation,” an approach intended to open up the span of potential solutions to a policy challenge.
Community Matters touches on the creative civic engagement techniques used by city folks in Manor, Texas to spur participation in a new QR code program. In a separate post, the Case Foundation gives its take on QR codes and some of their potential uses.
Orton Family Foundation riffs on the Onion’s recent expose: “Majority of Government Doesn’t Trust Citizens Either.”
Engaging Cities writes about a new Institute of Development Studies report that attempts to quantify the benefits of citizen engagement.
Jason writes on the PlaceMatters blog about our first Xbox Kinnect, and I posted an interview with Doug Walker about the exceptionally cool planning tool CommunityViz.