Gov 2.0, News, Public Participation

The use of Social Media in Public Govt Meetings

Is there a way to enhance public meetings using social media tools?  Today, most municipalities only offer live streaming which is great but not interactive.

Taking a look at TV, newscasters are beginning to use Twitter to get an immediate sense of what people are thinking about. However, this requires moderation or you’ll run into problems like the Twitter experiment at Trinity Church in NYC. Could we use the many eyes of the public to moderate Tweets/comments?  I personally like the approach of CoverItLive where event hosts have a large number of tools to help manage comments.  Are there other tools or approaches?

-Jay Nath


4 thoughts on “The use of Social Media in Public Govt Meetings

  1. In Petaluma our Technology and Telecomm Advisory Committee has been testing e-commenting using our website. People can post public comments to topics on the agenda or just general comments using a web form. The comments are read during the item live, and can be viewed on our local public access or by watching it stream live. A few other committees are giving it a go before it may (or may not) be tried during a normal city council meeting.

    • Jay Nath says:

      Hi Tiffany,
      That’s great to hear Petaluma is innovating in this space. Are all public comments read or just a select few? Have you had any issues (e.g. off-topic, abusive language) that required moderation? I’m interested in seeing how your experiment unfolds.

  2. The government’s use of social media is a work in progress. The key and challenge is making this interaction between government and the public useful. Also, we need to make sure the interaction does not disrupt the legislative process. The last thing we need is for it to take longer to get things done within the government.

    E-Comment technology is a great example. The city of Arcata, CA is a great example ( Click on the links that invite citizens to comment on items before they are brought before council.

    The public can also push content to their own social media sites via the Share button in the lower left hand of San Francisco’s on-demand video player ( Once the content is published to sites such as facebook, members of that network can comment on the video content.

    There is a lot more to come in this area. E-Petitions, automatic syndication of content across the social grid and legislative action tweets are on the way. While not all of the government/social media ideas that are implemented will end-up being good ones, the useful ones will stick.

    • Jay Nath says:

      Hi Charles,
      Thanks for sharing where this space is heading and how Granicus is part of that effort. I tried the link to Arcata and it looks like it requires registration. Is that true? Also the SF link gives a permission denied error.

      Do you have a blog or other area where people can provide feedback on your initiatives? I’m sure the community has many ideas on how to improve the legislative process with social tools.

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