Iceland have turned to social media to ask the population to crowdsource writing Iceland’s new constitution. The main online community Facebook – and other social networks such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Livestreaming – have been appropriated for the Icelandic Government’s communications channels to it’s own people. Compare to Australia’s Future of Melbourne wiki or New Zealand crowdsourcing their Police Act. Metagovernment is alive and well. HOWEVER and it’s a big however, according to my 7 Steps of Social Media Engagement, these look very campaign based. Meaning, short viral spiked events, then over. No long term engagement, or continued input through social media channels.

Nothing like a crisis to force an organisation into engaging with their customers/constituents. I don’t mean that negatively – some individuals and companies rise mightily to a challenge, show what they can do in the hot seat and earn a tonne of social currency. Mayor Giuliani of New York circa 2011, Premier Anna Bligh during Queensland’s natural disasters. And so on. Iceland faced their banks collapsing, the krona currency devaluing or whatever it is currencies do, and the government imploding:

On 26 January 2009, the coalition government collapsed due to the public dissent over the handling of the financial crisis. A new left-wing government was formed a week later and immediately set about removing Central Bank governor Davíð Oddsson and his aides from the bank through changes in law. Oddsson was removed on 26 February 2009 (wikipedia)

Not much fun. In 2009 6 times as many people as in 2005 emigrated from Iceland. Do you know how hard things have to get before a public exodus like that happens? Pretty bloody hard.

So this newish Government has decided to throw open it’s constitution to the People. The old constitution was inherited from Denmark (removed the term “King” and whacked in “President” instead – thank God for “find and replace” in Word. 😛 ). The new constitution is up for contribution on Facebook, although to be fair, the population of Iceland is less than a Masterchef Facebook Fan Page here in Australia.

The comprehensive review of the constitution is being carried out with the direct participation of the Icelandic people. The Internet component is the most direct route for most Icelanders to have their say: members of the public must provide their names and addresses, and can then submit online recommendations, which are approved by local staff to avoid Internet heckling. The ideas are then passed on to the council, and are open for discussion online.

So let’s have a look:

gov 2.0 social media iceland constitution
Population of Iceland (Stjornlagarad?) : 320,000. 2/3 are on Facebook. 3,000 fans (better get to work!)

then Twitter


Odd things I notice besides not many followers  – nice apology for a slow website, nice tone/conversation, light humour (the maximum accepted by Government Departments worldwide in online communities) and a thank you to the Press (well, Mashable which used to be a normal blog and now is traditional media!).  In English. Not many followers, yet.

110 views. Do you speak Icelandic? What are they saying please?

Flickr Photos are deadly dull to me. Might not be to you. They are streaming live their meetings – think of the Australian Senate Hearings or Parliament Floor but on Ustream instead of public broadcasting. Also deadly dull or an important part of collaborative governing? By the way, is representational democracy dead? Do we need representatives to “stand in” for us?

Iceland would be on my bucket list if I had one. Definitely going there one day. Soon.