From the previous post, I would like to expand on what I am interested in civic engagement and active citizenship.
The use of social medias and the impacts of social networking services like Facebook and Twitter appear to be significant and changing the world. For example, #Egypt and #Jan25 are listed as hot topics for the last couple of days in US, and there are thousands of Facebook Pages with good causes; but I am concerned that these social networking services are not significant enough to make changes in the real societies and not designed to encourage real participations. People on Facebook are your friends and have some connections in real life; you follow people on Twitter who have similar interests or connections. These are great for catching up with your friends and seeing what is going on your neighbors but are not necessarily great for finding things that matter to you and issues that affect your life; it tends to be narrow-minded and hard to see outside of your confort zone.
I love Facebook and Twitter, no question about that. But say people retweet about what happens in Egypt or "Like" Cancer campaigns in your local town, these "actions" are not necessary enough to make impacts in real life. Social networking services are great for spreading words and following on information with your interests. However, there are more problems than you know in your society and often need your participations to solve problems. Also these problems might require more than online participations to address issues. Having active participations, people find satisfactions from the activities and benefit them directly by solving problems.
I am proposing a platform that is action-oriented and designed to increase civic engagement and encourage active citizenship.
On the website you can find problems around you, where you live and what you care about, and join discussions, give donations, share with your friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter. Problem providers are from city governments, local communities or simply people with problems. They describe problems, discuss with communities, organize meetings and host workshops. It can also connect with similar problems and browse solutions from already solved issues, getting advises from other communities which are also facing similar issues.
Workshop and Conference:
I believe that a face-to-face communication is an essential way to participate and solve issues; people meet and discuss issues, act together and enjoy doing things together. Conferences and workshops provide opportunities for the creations and problem solving activities. It has to be real; it cannot start online and finish online. there's got to be a physical interaction and participation. So this service encourages workshops and organizes regular conferences to address issues and cerebrate progresses on problems. It also provides networking opportunities to participants and encourage innovations.
Communication between government and citizens:
Lack of interactions between government and citizens are crucial problems that we face today. Problems today are too big that cannot be solved by government alone, and government does not have enough finance as well as manpower to handle all. There needs to be an interface between government and citizens to see what problems we have and how we can collaboratively act together to solve those. This also encourages people to participate in local politics, served as monitoring what government is doing and how they are using taxes. The notions of OpenData and OpenGovernment should come together to address this issue. Government should be more open to public and transparent to have the public good understandings of current issues around us; government data should be more open to encourage more creations and civic engagement. Therefore, this service will promote OpenData and OpenGov (or you call it Gov2.0) in public sectors and work together very closely.
I am looking for partners who can work together and make this happen. I'd love to hear what you think and get feedback.
I would like to acknowledge Haegwan Kim for the inspirations. Can't wait to work with him on Vabel!