Customer Success: Online Dialogue on Cannabis Retail Stores

Following the legalization of cannabis in Canada, municipal governments in Ontario could opt out of allowing private cannabis retail stores by passing a resolution prior to January 22, 2019. Municipalities could opt in at a later date, but once they had chosen to opt in, they would not be able to opt out.

The Town of Aurora wanted to hear from residents to determine whether to allow private cannabis retail stores. The Mayor created a Facebook poll on his Page asking whether private cannabis retail stores should be permitted. However, the poll responses were distorted by people who had created additional Facebook accounts to vote multiple times and by people who resided in other municipalities.

PlaceSpeak announces integration with NationBuilder

Today, PlaceSpeak announced its integration with NationBuilder, a community engagement software used by organizations worldwide. With elections looming in Canada and the United States, potential candidates are beginning to think about the most effective methods for engaging with the public, building strong relationships, and ultimately turning people out to the polls.

North Saanich Residents Association to engage with community on PlaceSpeak

Residents in the District of North Saanich will now have the opportunity to stay up-to-date on local issues and share their perspectives through the new North Saanich Residents Association (NSRA) PlaceSpeak page.

The NSRA was established in 1948 to promote public interest and participation in the affairs of the District. As online methods of engagement became more ubiquitous, the NSRA recognized the importance of communicating more effectively with members and reaching a broader spectrum of the North Saanich community.

3 Paradigm Shifts in Online Citizen Engagement for 2019

In 2018, the concept of “bots” and “trolls” became seared into public consciousness. Beyond miscreants harassing others online, the public became starkly aware that well-funded and coordinated efforts on social media had the power to shape political outcomes, fundamentally changing the nature of online civic and political participation. It was also a turning point for concerns around data privacy, both for the public and for governments.

The upcoming year will see innovations which seek to empower communities and enable meaningful, respectful online dialogues, all while putting individual privacy at the heart of the process. These innovations will push back against advertising-based, algorithmic models which have empowered bots and trolls and emboldened those who seek to manipulate political outcomes.

PlaceSpeak 2018 in Review

As 2018 draws to a close, we reflect on some of the challenges and opportunities that have emerged over the past year. While online methods are no longer optional for decision-makers wanting to engage with the public, privacy and security have become top of mind. PlaceSpeak continues to offer solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing online democratic participation and citizen engagement today.