Heading into the second decade of the 21st century, we constantly hear about how social media, geolocation, mobile apps and similar technological innovations are changing the way we interact with each other. But how are they changing the way we interact with our governments (particularly local governments)? Are they offering new opportunities for civic engagement? Are they changing the way residents view their role in local government, creating new opportunities for citizen involvement? Or are they cementing old ideas of citizens as customers by facilitating the delivery of government services?

These questions are of particular interest to those of us at the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership as we seek to help solve public problems by promoting citizen's participation in governance. We have created this blog to provide up-to-date information relating to what is being called "Government 2.0." We hope what you find here will help local governments and their residents make the most of the technology available for genuine citizen engagement.

New to Gov 2.0? Check out our foundational documents »

Voter Registration the Facebook Way

Facebook’s Voter Push boosted registration across the United States. In California, over 123,000 people registered or updated their status within a day.  Marissa Lang, the Tech and Culture Reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, discovered the Facebook effect in California was postive:

The spike in activity was driven by voters aged 17 to 25, those accounted for 36 percent of the online voter activity for the entire state. Secretary of State Alex Padilla credits social media, specifically Facebook for driving voters to register to vote.

Ms. Lang discovered that over 372,000 Californians  registered to vote over the span of five days. You can read the full article on Govtech, here.

Contributor: Ariana Romero, Pepperdine School of Public Policy, MPP Candidate ’18. 

Tip: 5 Ways to Promote Online Engagement

Do you need help increasing your online engagement efforts? In a recent article published on informz.com, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at Informz, Vivian Swertinski shares with readers 5 Ways to Promote Online Community Engagement. In her article she points out:

It’s been reported that 74% of millennials feel technology helps them stay connected to the people in their social network, at work, and at home. It’s not surprising that audiences that grew up with technology often prefer to interact with colleagues and peers through online channels. These preferences are not likely to change, in fact, millennials will purposefully seek out organizations that make it easy to engage through digital channels.

As a result, she recommends (1) promote online community and networking opportunities at the time of recruitment, (2) welcoming new members to the community should be a part of the onboarding campaign, (30 promote popular topics and encourage audience members to join the conversation, (4) recognize individual community contributors, and (5) incorporate online community in the member renewal campaign as appropriate.

To read more, including access to online engagement resources click here.

Contributor: Brian Stewart, Pepperdine School of Public Policy, MPP Candidate ’17. 

Davenport Event: Election 2.016

Readers in the Los Angeles area and greater Southern California region, can attend The Davenport Institute’s “Election 2.016 – Technology and Civic Engagement” conference. The event is scheduled ahead of the historic 2016 presidential election as a one-day conference on Friday October 14, from 10:00AM to 5:00PM, and will explore how technology is changing the way voters engage in the election process.

Along with the Davenport Institute, tech innovators, academics, political strategist, election officials, and students from all across the state of California will explore:

  • How technology is changing the way voters access information, and the types of information available to them.
  • How technology is changing the way voters engage in the political process at all levels of government from local through national.
  • How technology is changing the way voters vote through election technology.

The conference will include a lunch keynote panel with chief social media strategist from Senator Rand Paul, Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, and President Barack Obama political campaigns.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information and to register click here.

Contributor: Brian Stewart, Pepperdine School of Public Policy, MPP Candidate ’17.

What is Civic Tech?

“Civic Tech” has become a bit of a buzzword lately.  But what exactly is it? The Omidyar Network,  in collaboration with Purpose, recently released an extensive report on Civic Technology called “Engines of Change.”  GovFresh took that report and summarized it in a helpful infographic that outlines key components of “civic technology.”

That infographic is available here.