Entrepreneurship

What are your views on the future of tech disrupting politics from an engagement perspective?

Angel Otero Consultant en Freelance IT Consultant & Service Provider

October 5th, 2016

Especially now that we have the elections coming up in the US I find that a question of this nature has good timing.

ChrBaudry

October 7th, 2016

Here is what I wrote on the homepage of virtual-town-meeting.com ...

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Virtual Town Meetings engage citizens in participating in the decisions made in their name. Virtual Town Meetings are live forums where citizens, experts and elected officials discuss in an informal but organized manner during one or two hours on a regular basis.

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Think about several hundreds of people gathered under the same roof and discussing in groups on different subjects: the attendees discuss and then move to another group of interest. Virtual Town Meetings reproduce the same organization except that the roof is replaced by the Internet and that participants stay at home and use their webcam.

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Citizens, experts and officials see each other while conversing and their facial expressions convey the intensity and the richness of human dialogs. Dozens of conversations happen simultaneously and all the participant are active: they listen, intervene or move to another conversation.

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The purpose of Virtual Town Meetings is not to make decisions but to share and spread information and perspectives so that the decisions made by the citizens' representatives rest on a broader democratic foundation. The time between Virtual Town Meetings allows personal convictions to re-arrange themselves and evolve.

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ChrBaudry

October 7th, 2016

William Holz 

Thanks for your comment. I need to think about it. More soon...

ChrBaudry

October 7th, 2016

A practical case happening right now in Berkeley after a murder was committed and neighbors started to antagonize because of drug situations.

Nancy Armstrong-temple is a social worker / neighborhood actor looking for a process that "really" solves the issue.

She explains the situationhere: White Kids and Black Kids vimeo.com/185753360

Her solution: asuccession of town hall meetings (with experts) for the neighborhood community to discuss(traditional + virtual for people who cannot attend physically), alternating with city meetings.

Town Hall meetingsand non violent conversations:

She associatesTown Hall meetingswith Marshall Rosenberg's nonviolent conversations.

It is not a traditional "Town Hall" meeting of course, but the words "Town Hall" help participants understand how it works.

William Holz

October 5th, 2016

I certainly think there's a big window for a company that's focused on 'doing good' to take advantage of all of the opportunities and laws that are currently being utilized by more purely profit driven companies.

In particular, I could see a Google/Valve/Mondragon hybrid forming that takes advantage of things like Citizens' United both to increase their corporate value but also as a recruiting tool or to reduce turnover.  Given how much time and effort people donate to charity, I could see many of those same people getting great value out of knowing that their other 40+ hours a week also contribute to a good cause.

I don't know that we're talking about future scenarios that could put a stake in the two-party system, but there's room for serious influence at the primary level at the very least.

Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

October 5th, 2016

Would you please rephrase the question? Sent from my iPhone

ChrBaudry

October 5th, 2016

In terms of engaging citizen, I think that what is crucial is to find attractive and convenient ways for citizens to spend time understanding the challenges threatening their community.

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That's what town hall meetings do. Town hall meetings are informal public meeting open to everybody in a town community with attendees discussing the issues of the community.

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The problem with town hall meetings is that participants need to be physically present under the same roof which restricts its use to small towns.

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The way for tech to disrupt politics from an engagement perspective is to leverage the Internet to mimic town hall meetings with hundreds of citizens having simultaneously dozens of conversations on community issues.

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Using the Internet and webcams, virtual town hall meetings free participants from the physical presence limitation.

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Check virtual-hub.org for a virtual town hall meeting application used for the Nov. 8th election in Berkeley.

Stephen Cataldo

October 6th, 2016

1) We are the media. But no one teaches us how to be competent media. People are unfriending their political opponents instead of convincing them. Virality tends to create walled gardens that don't want to be walled gardens: the Sanders movement really wanted to influence people outside itself, but didn't know how, didn't spread the right articles. I think that movement-leading politicians will need tools that coach their million online activists to be more effective communicators.  
2. News and politics is currently in a junk-media phase similar to when fast-food first exploded in popularity and health-food wasn't an idea yet. We expose ourselves mostly to our own side, and caricatures of the other side. A lot of people don't like this but feel stuck. I don't think this can be fixed -- junk food and junk media are here to stay. But maybe 10% of the news media market might transform with a health-food revolution, with comment systems that promote the best ideas and purposeful control of the news you watch (not just your friends facebook feeds) to make sure you get both sides.

(I would love to join/co-create teams interested in ideas along these lines.)

ChrBaudry

October 7th, 2016

Issues at the local, regional, state and national level are complex are require a lot of time for the citizens to understand them and support the right decision. And decisions made by elected officials need to have more advantages that disadvantages. There are very few black and white issues, very few decisions without some negative consequences.
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Since citizens are busy and spending time to understand local issues are not priorities, the key is to find an "ENTERTAINING" way to attract citizens and spend time discussing issues.
By ENTERTAINING I do not mean fun, but raising issues that are very practical and impact directly citizens' life. It can be transportation...
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TOWN HALL MEETINGS are used by smaller towns to gather residents and address issues or hear candidates. It is not about making decisions but about understanding the take of many people on an issue.
I suggest to combine the town hall practice with the Internet to overcome the proximity limit.
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Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

October 7th, 2016

Town meetings are designed to get people together to hash out civic problems and to vote. Virtual meetings are not designed to get people together, and identities can be hidden or faked. Virtual town meetings are an efficient but lousy way to conduct Punic business. Sent from my iPhone

William Holz

October 7th, 2016

Christian, what are your thoughts on using the virtual town meetings concept not in a 'civilization of birth' nation model, but instead inside a 'civilization of choice' worker co-operative model?

It seems like that'd solve most of the risks, and allow people to influence their own lives directly (campuses as charter cities, Dunbar-sized 'monkeyspheres', googleplexes, etc.) as well as to leverage the power of the corporation to influence their local environment/government (putting rulings like Citizens' United to potentially good and positive use if we've got an ethical hiring model)