With presidential primary season picking up steam, we bloggers have started contemplating the effects of social media on the primaries. Some candidates are using ustream.tv to have live videochats with voters. Other candidates have put up flickr streams or delved into Twitter. The forerunner among younger voters even sends mobile alerts and provides mobile wallpaper and ringtone downloads. Exciting times, but what if this social media frenzy went past the elections and carried over into the presidency.
Imagine if you will, a world where government is fully transparent. The president videocasts his life live, turning off the cam only when discussing matters of national security. He polls the populous Twitter-style to get feedback on upcoming proposals. Cut the weekly radio address–Radio? What’s that?–the president of the Social Age does a weekly Seesmic post.
New Media President meet your new staff member: Director of Community Relations. The Director and his underlings are responsible for all outreach and relations with the populous. Just like any good community manager, he follows all online dialog and responds thoughtfully. This doesn’t mean spitting out spin at negative postings. Instead, he actually listens to and addresses the concerns of the populous-at-large.
The Director of Community Relations is also responsible for maintaining and tracking feedback. Like Dell’s Ideastorm, the web community can post ideas to the appropriate department and also vote digg-style on submitted ideas. All ideas get tracked through completion. A idea/policy development wiki will also be set-up, allowing interaction between thought leaders, academics and government agencies.
As long as it’s not top-secret, all government employees will be encouraged to blog. As much as the Social Age president would like to blog daily, he simply can’t. His style is more micro-blogging through Twitter or Utterz. Instead, his full cabinet will blog, each member responsible for content every two weeks. Supreme Court justices and Senators will blog in the style of TechCrunch’s CrunchNotes, allowing the world to see the back story behind or reasons for decisions and opinions.
What’s the public thinking? Instant polling and voting through SocNets get immediate response on hot topics. Voting in elections may also be done through cell phones. OpenID coupled with YouService-like security prevents voter fraud.
Finally, forget having to go to DC to see the National Archive. The New Media National Archive (lovingly dubbed Archive 2.0) stores the Prez’s videocast and flickr stream. All government documents will be able to be searched and accessed from anyone’s home computer.
Because more people can get involved, disenchantment is low and voter turn out is high. Yes, the government of the Social Age will create a more true, transparent democracy where politicians and citizens interact.
How do you think social media could be used in government? Would it create a government for the people, by the people? Or would it create a 1984 nightmare?
[All you Sci-Fi Buffs should check out Vengeance on Varos, a Doctor Who episode where citizen vote instantly by touching the TV!]