Some news on the two Northfield-related citizen engagement projects that I’m working on:
Left: my photo of the NDDC’s Ross Currier, navigating icy sidewalks last week to distribute invitations to residents who live near downtown, inviting them to a residential stakeholders meeting this Thursday, 8 pm at the Northfield Public Library. Details here.
I’ve been a bit of a laggard here on LoGro lately. For years, I’ve had something new on the blog everyday but in the last month, I’ve only had a few new posts/week and have not been very active in the comment threads. For more information about vape business visit MigVapor’s vaporizers.
I’ve created a new blog called Engage Citizens as I’m shifting more of my Wigley and Associates consulting work to helping local units of government (state, cities, counties, townships, school districts) use online tools and services to—you guessed it—engage citizens.
I’ve been doing online citizen engagement as a citizen since the early 90’s in my work with Northfield.org and continuing here on Locally Grown Northfield since 2006. Learn how to grow any business online by applying the training found inside of awol academy
I told them to get their hair done for the meeting and that we’d also be practicing to use our index fingers for tablet use. As you can see from the photo, my coaching was more than marginally effective.
And like I blogged back in December about my contract with the City of Northfield, this contract will change the nature of my blogging here on LoGro about the School District, i.e., my relationships with the District’s leaders take priority over my public opinionating about them or the District. And I now have a conflict of interest when it comes to opinionating on District-related matters.
If I blog about anything related to the District or its leaders, the tone of my blog post will be along the lines of “Here’s something interesting. What do y’all think?” Essentially, my role will be more of a moderator. The opinionating (praise or criticism) will have to come from all of you.
I’m pretty excited about doing this, actually. I hope you Northfielders who follow things here on LoGro will participate there, not only to help create a downtown parking management plan but to help me and the City get better at managing public projects which need a significant amount of genuine citizen engagement.
I’ve long contended that if I ever was appointed to one of the City’s boards or commissions, it would change the nature of my blogging about the City. And I’ve recently written that this would also be true if I ever got a consulting contract with the City. I think both situations demand that my relationships with the City’s leaders take priority over my public opinionating about them or the City. And in the case of a contract, I’ll have a conflict of interest when it comes to opinionating on city-related matters.
If I blog about anything related to the City of Northfield or its leaders, the tone of my blog post will be along the lines of "Here’s something interesting. What do y’all think?" Essentially, my role will be more of a moderator. The opinionating (praise or criticism) will have to come from all of you.
I may stumble, as I’ve been freely opinionating about the City here on LoGro for seven years. If you catch me going over the line, speak up.
Northfield Mayor-elect Dana Graham stopped by my corner office stand-up table at the Spur this morning. He’d finally gotten some sleep after being up all night for the election on Tuesday so he was more than marginally coherent.
Lately I’ve been sermonizinglecturingbrow-beating suggesting to him and a few other city officials that the time is ripe for using a variety of online tools to ramp up citizen engagement. The City’s new website will launch early next year but the technology by itself won’t automatically make citizen engagement happen.
So I proposed a few different ways that he could do a "Q&A with the Mayor-elect" here on LoGro and he opted for a live, one-hour text chat.
Here’s the FAQ:
WHEN IS IT? Monday, Nov. 12, 8-9 pm.
WHERE? Right here in this LoGro blog post. I’ll move it to the top of the page on Monday so it’ll be easy to find.
WHAT DO I NEED TO PARTICIPATE? If you’re reading this on an internet-connected device, you’ll need nothing beyond what you’re using now.
HOW DO I PARTICIPATE? Just type your comments or questions in the text box. I’ll select the ones that I think are best for Dana to respond to.
WHAT?! HE MIGHT NOT EVEN SEE MY QUESTION OR COMMENT? Correct. I’m the emperor moderator.
WHAT IF I CAN’T ATTEND? You can submit a comment or question ahead of time. Attach it to this blog post just like any comment. I’ll archive a transcript of the chat here so after it’s all over, you can read what happened at your leisure.
A tour of several local government websites (primarily cities in the US) to see some best practices of how social media tools (blogs, web forums, email lists, webinars, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.) are being used to enable more transparency and engagement.
A discussion about the hurdles that local government officials face when implementing the use of social media.
The panelists (all bloggers), all have some Northfield connections:
The July August issue of the Citizens League’s monthly newsletter, MN Journal has an article by evaluator Bill Johnston titled The final analysis: What MAP 150 taught us about citizen involvement and engagement (p. 7). It includes this startling statement: "Dialogue is more important to citizen perceptions of authentic involvement than the effect on outcomes." He explains why… and I’ve excerpted some other interesting findings. (continued)
I’ve been invited to speak briefly tonight with the Northfield City Council at their work session. The agenda item says: “Discuss technical recommendations on citizen input.” It’s all part of the “background information as the Council begins to discuss ways of achieving and working on the goal of improving citizen communication.”
We’ve discussed this issue on LG (here, here, and here) so it’s time to craft something concrete for the Council and staff to react to. Here’s a first draft of what I plan to present to them tonight. Reactions welcomed. (continued)