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The Importance of Active Engagement


Aimiee_Sarah at laptopIf you are reading this blog, chances are that you care about your community, as do many of your friends and neighbours.  There are many activities and projects occurring in every community that are important to residents. However, there has ben a longstanding challenge of reaching many of these people.  After all, not everybody dreams about ways to engage with local officials online.  Traditional ways of promoting public consultation activities—such as newspapers articles, radio ads, or posters in civic buildings—are becoming less effective, with increased competition for our attention.

For public engagement to produce useful outcomes, residents need to be actively invited to join the conversation about topics that affect them, and provided with convenient opportunities to take part. This is where PlaceSpeak comes in. Our geo-notification system informs you when a topic launches in your area, allowing you to connect with topics with a single click. We also offer an easy way to send emails to your friends and neighbours, inviting them to connect with topics in your community.  And if you are active on social media, each of out topics includes buttons to share topics with your Facebook and Twitter followers

Another benefit of PlaceSpeak—and online consultation in general— is that it is an easy, time-efficient way to engage with local issues in a meaningful way.  As Mark Funkhouser, the Director of the Governing Institute wrote in a recent article:

Citizens are not apathetic but they are rational. Give them an opportunity for meaningful engagement with others in their community about issues that directly affect them and their neighbors instead of three minutes at the microphone, and they’ll show up.

The Internet offers great potential, for meaningful, ongoing engagement with others in their community. Unfortunately, few platforms have been able to live up to this promise. Many online consultation tools attempt to connect with residents on a one-off basis. By connecting your residential addresses to your online profile, we create a citizen-centered network effect, enabling you to engage with a variety of local topics that may interest you in a secure, transparent way.


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