5 Ways to Combat Noise with Citizen Engagement
April 29, 2019 – Lane Hartman
Citizen engagement is a central priority to governments of all sizes. A key to effective citizen engagement is the ability to wrangle often chaotic public discourse into productive, fact-based conversations that drive a better community. New technology can make it easier to take control of the public conversation by educating residents before they get to the table, providing context along with data, and leveraging technology and the conversation to gain support for strategic projects.
Align Data with Context
Transparency and open data are important. But simply publishing data to meet transparency goals is not enough. Data without context is meaningless.
Present pertinent data along with context about what that data means to foster a healthy conversation with your residents. This can ensure that everyone begins the conversation with the correct information and that everyone continues speaking about the matter at hand.
Tools like OpenGov’s Interactive Stories can help create and share content easily to combine your data with images, maps, and narrative context.
Set the Norm for How Your Government Communicates (Internally and Externally)
Finding a platform that colleagues across the entire government can use to create stories and strategic plans gives consistency across all departments. OpenGov’s Stories makes it easy to present a strategic plan, share it with the rest of your colleagues, make amendments, and then push the story out to the public on your website or on social media.
Educate Residents Before they Get to the Table
In order to have a productive discussion, you have to have an informed citizenry. Finding a way to get complete and accurate data out to the public is key to fostering fruitful discussion and promote alignment on the big issues and plans facing your community. One way of accomplishing this is to compile and publish an online story that can present the facts along with a productive narrative to get ahead of the conversation and educate your residents from the get-go.
Use Technology to Garner Support
If you are trying to pass a new measure, but are struggling with generating public support, technology can be your answer. Use a tool like Stories to present both the facts of the measure as well as what effect the measure would have on the community. Track public opinion with supplements like surveys to ensure that that your efforts are generating the support needed.
Take Busy Work Off Your Plate by Presenting Commonly Requested Data
Most governments can get bogged down by endless FOIA requests. Modern communications and reporting software allows you to host commonly requested information online so it is always-up-to date enabling you to send those FOIA requests to a central hub where they can get all the data they need.
Want to hear more from those who have actually used OpenGov to productively steer conversations? Listen to this on-demand webinar featuring three customers who have leveraged new technologies to garner support for initiatives, educate residents, and set the norm for how their government communicates both internally and externally.