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Minnesota E-Democracy. Steven Clift http://www.publicus.net Copyright 2002. Minnesota E-Democracy. World’s first election-oriented web site in 1994 … so what?. Minnesota E-Democracy. 1994 – Election information, online candidate debates, political discussion. Minnesota E-Democracy.

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Minnesota E-Democracy

Steven Clift

http://www.publicus.net

Copyright 2002

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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Minnesota E-Democracy

  • World’s first election-oriented web site in 1994

  • … so what?

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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Minnesota E-Democracy

  • 1994 – Election information, online candidate debates, political discussion

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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Minnesota E-Democracy

  • Election Over.

  • People kept talking.

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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Minnesota E-Democracy

  • 1994-2002 …

  • Hosting the “Online Commons”

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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Capitol Forum

MN-Politics-Discuss – 400 Members

MN-Politics-Announce – 500 Members

MN-Politics-National – 100 Members

4 Topical Spaces

E-Democracy Legislative Study Group

Election Content Promotion, Online Candidate Debates

Communities Forum

Minneapolis – 700 Members

St. Paul – 300 Members

Winona – 250 Members

Board role, governance

Other external forums, great diffusion after 1997 …

Minnesota E-Democracy Today

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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Online Civic Communication Model 1994-98

Commons serves as public group communication organizer, multiplier, and amplifier; “leaks” into private communication

Group communication

remains highly private

without commons

vs.

Commons

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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Online Civic Communication Model 1998+

One-way content,

semi-public online

advocacy without

commons

Diffusion of interaction,

viable two-way options

tied to online advocacy

and one-way content

vs.

Commons

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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Minnesota E-Democracy

  • Lessons

  • Eight years is a long time online.

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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Minnesota E-Democracy Lessons

  • 1. Declare victory. Set reasonable expectations. Building momentum is more important than immediate success. Answer why question every step of the way. Goal: To improve the outcome of the public policy process with effective and meaningful citizen participation.

  • 2. Many-to-many discussions represent the unique strength of this new medium. One-way content is a carry over from old media and political communication. Geography matters. The more local, the more relevant to a broader cross-section of the population.

  • 3. Facilitation is essential. Moderation is not. Focus conversations on issues to overcome personal and ideological conflict.

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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Minnesota E-Democracy Lessons

  • 4. Building civic space is a public good. Non-partisan, advocacy neutral online public spaces for information exchange will not exist without public interest efforts.

  • 5. E-mail is king. Participants and readers are key to value. Value of e-mail and convenience is supreme, often underestimated. Web-only systems tend to work with larger audience sites, highly motivated users, or for special online events and consultations.

  • 6. Sustainability. Promoting self-governance and volunteer spirit key to sustainability.

  • 7. Scalability limited by current all-volunteer foundation. However, complete professionalization of facilitation would make expansion unaffordable while professional training and outreach required.

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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Minnesota E-Democracy Lessons

  • 8. Expansion requires resources for coordination, training, promotion, distributed management/facilitation and adjudication.

  • 9. Technical barriers exist. Use of proprietary software tools and lack of access to technical expertise to adapt open source options limits our advancement as well as the long-term potential of our model to expand in a cost-effective way within and beyond Minnesota.

  • 10. Conversation has value. Think agenda-setting among opinion leaders and media. Build respect among participants and foster public opinion formation. Worry about the direct influence on government decision-making process later.

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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If I had a million dollars, I’d be … … building a grid for community conversation, online consultation, and public interest communities of practice/implementation.An illustration from another presentation …

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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Citizens Commons

Childcare

Housing

Parks

Graffiti

Recycling

Online

Consultation

Online

Civic Events

Communities of Practice / Interest

etc.

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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More?

e-democracy.org

publicus.net

Steven Clift – www.publicus.net


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