Thursday, January 18, 2007

Paul Wells on goverment and social media

Paul Wells, famous both for his column in Macleans and his popular Inkless Wells blog, wrote this week about speaking "to some civil servants about new media, social media and other jargon terms for the rising use of blogs, Youtube, social networking sites and the Wiki concept of communal editing and online brainstorming." (Boy, would I ever have loved being a part of THAT conversation! If all goes according to plan, I might get my wish at the next Third Monday gathering, as the early buzz says Paul Wells himself will be the guest speaker.)

He goes on to talk about the potential of social media to facilitate the process of public consultation and citizen engagement: "One of the niftiest ideas I've heard is that a policy proposal could, itself, be wiki'd: Publish a discussion paper and then invite people — either any ordinary Canadian who wants to participate, or perhaps a password-equipped community of experts and stakeholders — to amend the document themselves, just as Wikipedia entries are amended. Post the paper, notify stakeholders, wait a month, then come back to see how it's grown."

And just so I stop short of reproducing his entire blog post verbatim, I'll exhort you to visit his post for a round-up of some government initiatives in this area.