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9:35AM

How about Mobile Democracy?

 

Former Vice President Al Gore and online entrepreneur  Sean Parker spoke yesterday at the premiere digital conference SXSW about using social media tools to move people to action online. Check out a clip from the discussion or see what people quoted him as saying on Twitter -- pretty interesting stuff, and Consensus Inc. was there taking notes in the front row!

  • @ConsensusLive: 1st row seat to and : "our democracy has been hacked" and social media and tech needs to fix it
  • @chuparkoff: How come all these cool platforms aren't being used to get anything done? Asks @sparker with @algore #SXSWi #GoreParker
  • @anis_salvesen: We're still in the very early days in terms of using social media tools to activate people. #sxsw #GoreParker

I couldn’t agree more! Do elected officials really want to hear from the public? If so, why do we cling to an obsolete system of public involvement that was designed in the horse-and-buggy era? The LA Times posted a cynical view but the NIMBYs and special interests are not going away – they have overtaken the in-person public meetings – but at least the Internet opens it up to stakeholders who are more reflective of the broader population. Who is able or willing to make the commitment required to speak before a public meeting? Arrange time off from a job or get a baby-sitter? Spend four dollar a gallon gas trying to find the location, then a parking place? Stifle the anxiety at having to speak in public, perhaps in front of unpleasant neighbors who disagree with you? Watch the hours slip away while waiting for your item to be called?

Is it any wonder that the majority of legitimate stakeholders on any issue are not represented? 

Did you know?

1.   The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth by the end of 2012

2.    By 2014, mobile internet should take over desktop internet usage

3.    86% of mobile internet users are using their devices while watching tv

With the growth of the mobile market, isn’t it time to revamp our antiquated system to allow participation using the many methods of communication at our disposal today?