1. Just responding to the points you’re talking about in your video.

    It’s a great idea to use social media as a tool to rally your troops and create engagement. But creating meaningful engagement is a time consuming process. Sure you can create a petition and get them your backers to sign it to create pressure or be indicative of support, but how much ownership is the crowd that follows going to have over a petition.

    I think as humans what we really value, at least it’s what I value, is the time and attention of others. Sure you can create an email form and mail merge a response to include my name at the top… but is that really any different to saying Dear sir/madam, the recognition of my own identity is pretty much the same, except in the former I’ve entered in my personal details to receive that personalisation…

    Social media is a medium, our attentions, our trust, and the time we have are all in their own ways limited commodities.

    1. Good lord, Gov as Platform is not petitions, I was specifically thinking of Brazil, who put up 11 million dollars for crowd sourced local council projects. Not petitions! :p

      1. Crowdfunding is an excellent example as the projects can be encapsulated in a couple of pages of detail and voted on based on a ‘like for like’ basis. There are X dollars & Y projects. Each project is independent and costs Z. Therefore you can only fund X/Z projects.

        However government policy doesn’t work in the same manner.

        Let’s take parental leave. A proposal that every parent should be entitled to 12 months paid parental leave after the birth of a child has to be considered based on the impacts on the community, on business (small, medium and large), on population growth rates, on immigration, on economic impact, on the tax impact as well as on the direct dollar cost.

        Add the dependencies and interactions on other policies and suddenly you go from having a containable issue to a wicked problem – one which is extremely hard to encapsulate in a few pages stating, if we do X the impact is Y, if we don’t do X the impact is Z.

        That’s where direct democracy begins to fall down. Athens did not have direct democracy – only land owners (male, wealth and most fairly intelligent) were allowed to vote. Slaves, women and labourers missed out.

        With representative democracy a much greater range of people get to vote, however they don’t get to vote on every decision.

        That’s partially because many of the decisions being made are very complex and require full time professionals (we call them politicians and advisors) to grasp and understand – and even then they often don’t understand them sufficiently.

        There is certainly enormous scope for public works and legislation to be suggested and even voted on directly by the public – however there may be a cost where unengaged or underinformed communities make decisions that are not in their best interest… and only have themselves to blame – either for not engaging or not taking enough time out of their lives to become an expert on the consequences and ripples of a decision.

        What governments do need to do, however, is open up decision making processes to external scrutiny as completely as possible (privacy and national security considerations aside) and involve citizens as much as they are able and willing to be involved in all stages.

        Where achievable citizens should be able to participate in voting – perhaps in a non-binding plebiscite – but there’s issues with making this mandatory (does the public want to read thousands of pages of legislation each week and make decisions – foregoing their leisure time) or with making it voluntary (where only the most passionate, not necessarily the most affected, vote).

        So a long way to go, but no real time limit. Democracy will evolve and, to some extent, away from representative models, but I don’t expect it will end up totally, or even a large extent direct.

        1. I’ve heard that argument before – none of us are dumb as all of us. And I’m not convinced. We – humanity- have collaborated on some pretty sophisticated issues in the past and done just fine. The whole of the internet would be excellent example of that including LAMP (foundation technology of Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl).

          A platform that took all the social objects (truly Gov 3.0 not 2.0) and brought them together so that people could see the impact of any one decision on the others would be awesome. There are also a lot of games that teach this stuff (serious games) such as the Macdonalds game on iphone where you run a maccas with decisions on cheap products vs expensive, climate impacting solutions or cheaper ones etc.

          “That’s partially because many of the decisions being made are very complex and require full time professionals (we call them politicians and advisors) to grasp and understand – and even then they often don’t understand them sufficiently.”

          Crowdsourcing can fix the problems of a small group of people working full time on something. We have experts that could collaborate on part of the solution. Checking in and out of problems e.g. SourceForge and working on them. There is plenty of scope for big problems not just small ones. World Hunger is currently a “serious game” that is getting a lot of funding an airtime as millions collaborate to solve the issues. If we can crowdsource banks, equity investment and health, why not policy?

          No one person can understand all the issues – not even a politican. Crowdsourced, Gov as platform fixes that.

  2. The opp that social media and the Internet as a whole represents for self-governance is perhaps a powerful motivator for those in government to monitor and control the flow of information?

  3. You really explained this well. I am grateful for this very informational post. Lot of things I don’t yet understand though. I am glad you shed some light on representational democracy.

  4. You really got a solid point there. The last video is really funny but reflects the issue well. When is the exact election in your place? I hope the winners will practice true democracy.


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