As cities the world of online engagement really moves into the 2.0 phase- with residents engaging government and one another as well as simply seeking information online, some local governments worry about how to make sure that the voices they’re hearing are really the voices of their residents and not people who don’t even live in the community. Salt Lake City, whose Open City Hall has been mentioned before on this blog, has tried to limit the reach of outside influence on to city matters. They have required people to register to be involved and make them share their address, which is “geocoded” to protect the individual registering. This gives a more credible voice the people of Salt Lake City as they seek to offer input to their city:
Outsider influence can occur when a government puts its public forums online. Once a forum is online anyone outside as well as inside the community can try to influence the conversation. Local governments want to focus on feedback from their constituents, not outside interests. . .
. . . While the comments from people living outside of Salt Lake City could be informative, the city’s residents, staff, and officials were able to use their online platform’s analysis and reporting tools to easily filter the feedback and focus on comments from constituents living in Salt Lake City. They were even able to drill down and analyze feedback by council district, within the downtown area as well as by gender, age group, and key words.
You can read the full article here.