How can we make our city a better place to live? This seems like a simple question and one that is often mulled over by local officials on a daily basis. The key part to the question is “WE”. What are local officials doing to include their citizens to become part of the solution to the question? And better yet, how are you as local leaders utilizing technology and communications to foster civic engagement?
I came across the question via the website changeby.us, which is a social network for grassroots leaders. This is a simple, yet exceptional use of technology for citizens to share their ideas, to work with their local leaders and to generate ideas to make their community a better place. In today’s fast-paced society of constant, partial attention, with many distractions, there is fierce competition to engage the community. Local leaders and citizens, though, have a common bond that helps with this attention span conundrum. They care about their community! Here is the challenge for Michigan’s local leaders; how do you embrace and utilize technology to facilitate more social connections between you and your citizens?
With one click, a tweet or status update, information can be easily shared. Although utilizing social networks for sharing information is important, local leaders should also utilize technology engagement to create and support opportunities for people to interact with others. Engagement technology should connect people, build relationships, increase participation in governance, simplify community discovery and enhance the ability to act. Creating a technology engagement plan is vital to increasing civic engagement in your community. What will you do in your community?