Engaging the Public Through Technology

As I mentioned before, William Erskine has created a blog for the Public Engagement in Land Use Planning Task Force. This blog posts the comments of Task Force members but also allows the automatic posting of emails sent to the Task Force.

Since I began on the Columbia Budget Committee four years ago, I have tried to increase transparency. I started by posting reports online, then minutes of the meetings, and this year, the committee operated a mailing list for discussion among committee members. This list was open to the public, who could read, but not post, to the list. I think in the future, combining such a mailing list with Erskine’s blog model, that allowed the general public to join the discussion through the blog comments, can increase participation in the process.

Given that both groups are comprised of volunteers who have day jobs, what other things can we do to increase transparency and citizen involvement in these projects? How can we increase communications, without adding static? And how can we inform the public that these communications avenues exist?