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Sunshine 2.0: Using Technology for Democracy


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Steven Clift's presentation to the UIC e-Government Conference on May 12, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois

Steven Clift's presentation to the UIC e-Government Conference on May 12, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois

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  • 1. Sunshine 2.0:Using Technology in Democracy
    Steven Clift
    Executive Director
  • 2. Government by Day, Citizen by Night - 1994
  • 3. Sunshine 2.0
    Vision. Demand. Goals. Measures. …for Local Democracy Online
  • 4. Government Online –
    April 2010 report brings fresh data:
    48% of internet users have looked for information about a public policy or issue online with their local, state or federal government
    46% have looked up what services a government agency provides
    41% have downloaded government forms
    35% have researched official government documents or statistics
    33% have renewed a driver’s license or auto registration
    31% use online platforms such as blogs, social networking sites, email, online video or text messaging to get government information
    23% participate in the online debate around government policies or issues, with much of this discussion occurring outside of official government channels.
  • 5. Outline - Example
    1. What government wants to tell us.
    2. What government must tell us. What we feel we need to know.
    3. What we want to tell government.
    4. What we need to “hear” from each other publicly in the context of government decisions.
    5. Community collaboration, problem-solving, and inclusive engagement
  • 6. 1. What government wants to tell us.
  • 7. A home page says 1,000 words.
    Minneapolis wants so:
    Share news it has decided is important
    Highlight “results”
    Use social media
    Provide non-English information
    Promote services strongly
    Minneapolis must:
    Post salaries of top three paid employees for 90 days on home page
  • 8. 2. What government must tell us. What we feel we need to know.
    “public=online”? – Transparency campaign by the Sunlight Foundation
    Accountability information.
  • 9. Timely Access to Information
    Key e-service –e-alerts so you can ACT on information before it is too late!
  • 10. Public Meetings On-Demand
    Linked video, documents
    Also see PublicMeetings.Info
  • 11. Reusing Data – Personalized to You
  • 12. Budgets and Spending
    South Carolina state agencies must put spending information online
    Comptroller promoting local government efforts
  • 13. 3. What we want to tell government
    Communication. Understanding the “will of the people” in government.
  • 14. Contact Me!
    Old and new clash online – “Current agendas are posted in front of City Hall in King Plaza on the elevator walls …”
  • 15. Sorting Policy Input from Service Queries
    Menlo Park, CA
    “Community Engagement Feedback”
    Both citizen and government can track responses
  • 16. DemocracyMap
    Can you “Enter address,” see every government entity that serves you and who specifically represents you (and how to contact them)
    The United States lacks an “open data” set on ALL government jurisdictions, districts, associated websites and elected officials.
    Huge “local up” market failure
    Online working group:
  • 17. 4. What we need to “hear” from each other publicly in the context of government decisions
    Imagining online public spaces and hearings?
  • 18. Great Councilmember Page, But Disconnected from Two-way
  • 19. Tip Toe in the Facebook
    Real-names giving some governments confidence to create Facebook Pages with open comments
    Why not elsewhere?
  • 20. 5. Community collaboration, problem-solving, and inclusive engagement
  • 21. This page left intentionally blank.
    Let’s make this happen.
  • 22. Community collaboration
    Using Technology for Community Building Webinar
    E-Democracy Neighbors Forums – New Zealand!
    Action Alexandria
  • 23. Democracy Home Page
    Let’s be citizen-centric online in government.
  • 24. Democracy Home Page
    How process works, effective participation
    Decision-making information
    Who represents you?
    Good tools for elected officials
    Local laws and rules
    Local elections
    Budgets, spending, and taxes
    Ethics, Freedom of Information, Transparency data, your rights, etc.
  • 25. Democracy “Home” – A world leading local e-democracy city (UK)
  • 26. Democracy “Home”
    Palo Alto giving it a try with “Know Zone”
    Secrecy image?
  • 27. Next Generation Local Democracy Features
    More examples!
  • 28. Gathering Public Input
    Santa Cruz – UserVoice
    Amherst – Localocracy
    Manor “Labs” Texas
  • 29. Freedom of Information Requests
    UK shares results online
  • 30. Deep Transparency
    E-mail sent to all Palo Alto City Council members before meetings
    Data sets in Washington DC
  • 31. Really Deep Transparency
    Post-Communist Estonia appreciates “public=online”
    Tallinn’s Document Register, National X-Road provides secure access to private data held on you
  • 32. Local Open Government Directive
    From CityCamp Colorado came an idea – let’s create generate bottom up support for local open government
    Modeled after Federal Open Government Directive
  • 33. Community-wide Support for Democracy Online
    Webinar preview:
  • 34. The “default” local online news commenting experience is …
    Most people see, expect public conflict.Sharp contrast with private social networking.
  • 35. “The most democratizing aspect of the Internet is the ability of people to organize and communicate in groups.”- Steven Clift in “Democracy is Online” article published by Internet Society, 1998
  • 36. Neighbors Online –
    27% of American adult Internet users (or 20% of adults overall) use “digital tools to talk to their neighbors and keep informed about community issues.”
    14% read a blog dealing with community issues at least once in the last year
    13% exchanged emails with neighbors about community issues
    7% say they belong to a community e-mail list (more women)
    6% communicated with neighbors by text messaging on cell phones
    5% joined a social network site group connected to community issues
    3% followed neighbors using Twitter
    Read full report
    Lower income, Latino, rural need to be included
    Analysis on blog.
  • 37. CC:, E-Lists, Placeblogs, Social Nets
    CC: E-mail
    The simple sheet of paper passed around at National Night Out …
    E-mail Discussion Lists forums, Google/YahooGroups, DC nhoods, Brooklyn parents
    Cornerstone of “citizen journalism” online, sometimes “watch dog” protest sites
    Local Social Networks
    Facebook Pages/Groups, Ning Sites, etc.
    Networks: Everyblock (v2), OhSoWe, Hey Neighbor, i-Neighbors (academic), Front Porch Forum, CommonPlace, Hello Elephant, and perhaps open source, non-profit social enterprise led by
  • 38. City Hall
    Local Media
    Networks”e-mail forwards
    Civil Society
    Creating Public Space - Issues Forums
    Ctizen #1
    Arts Group
    City Councilor
    New Resident
    Issues Forum
    GroupServer e-mails posts web view
    Local Biz
    Subscribe once
    Commitment secured
    Post via e-mail/web
    Citizen 500
    Advocacy Group
    Neighborhood Leader
    Forum Manager
  • 39. Neighbor Issues Forums Stories
    Somali community – 20 missing youth to crosswalks
    “Little Mekong” and BoaLee’s lessons
    Powderhorn Cinco de Mayoviolence
    Community garden
    Chickens in Bemidji
    Leech Lake Native American majority rural forum
    Inclusion evaluation in progress:
  • 40. Conclusion
    Services first, democracy later.It is now later!
  • 41. Sunshine 2.0 Draft Indicators
    "Your" Government/Democracy Page
    How request information via FOI
    Accountability Information - The Transparency Ten Pack
    Open Data Initiative
    Document Register/Info Catalog
    Elected/appointed governance body clear on home page and Elected Officials List
    Appointed Officials and Bodies
    Election Information
    Council Member/Mayor Site Section
    Council Member/Mayor E-Newsletter or Blog
    E-Response Tool - E-Petition Receiver
    Help us pick the top ten!
    Public Meeting Calendar, Agenda, and Minutes
    Public Meeting Documents
    Webcasts - Live and On-Demand
    Performance Data
    E-Transparency System
    311/Web Comment Form/General E-mail Inbox
    Online surveys and polls or requests for comments on reports or proposals
    Policy Pack - Response, Community Engagement, Social Media Use
    Online Exchange with Public (External Tools)
    Online Government Engagement (Government Managed)
    Online Features
    Community Links Section
    Site Search
    Content Management System with Web Feeds
    E-Updates Services
    What's New/What's Popular - Automated
  • 42. Further Information
    As part of Participation 3.0 we are:
    Convening and working to “move the field”
    Plotting a “Locals Online” roll call webinar
    Working with League of Women Voters on “Sunshine 2.0” guide for local evaluation of govs online support for democracy
    Working with on “DemocracyMap”
    Really pushing inclusion in online civic engagement
    Developing next generation partnership proposals by 4Q
    Steven Clift
    @democracy on Twitter
    Slides also available from: