Big Fan of The Electronic Town Hall
Over the past few months, I’ve seen several local elected officials engaging with the public through social media — not just some faux survey or pimping a fundraiser, but actually seeking substantive input on policy questions. I’m thinking of two school board members in particular. Debbie Rose authored a Facebook post on Spanish language in elementary schools, and Bill Fox in this forum kicked off a discussion of school safety. Both, I thought, were very effective means of engaging directly with the public, and at least as effective as an old-style town hall meeting. In fact, probably more. Think about it. The electronic forum is quicker, more interactive, easier to organize and likely more candid given the ability to provide pseudonymous feedback.
In short, social media provides a great tool for those policy makers actually interested in what their constituents think, and they should not be afraid to use it liberally.