About 90 people are coming together in DC over the next few days for “Strengthening Our Nation’s Democracy 2” — a working session organized by AmericaSpeaks, Demos, Everyday Democracy and Harvard University’s Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation. Invited guests come from a broad range of backgrounds, including electoral reform, public deliberation, community problem solving, and collaborative governance, as well as key members of the Obama administration. (Click here for background materials, confirmed participants, meeting agenda, etc.)
This will be an opportunity for participants to learn more about different aspects of the democracy movement (not just dialogue and deliberation), while forging a collective set of priorities. Together, we will work to identify the most important things that we and the new Administration should do in the immediate future to strengthen our democracy. The sponsoring organizations feel that now is the time for us to determine how we can bring together our approaches to democracy building and create sustained energy for strengthening participation – and I couldn’t agree more!
The August 2-4 meeting will build on the results of a similar convening last July in which participants developed a set of recommendations for the Obama and McCain campaigns with regard to strengthening our nation’s democracy, as well as two forums convened this spring among federal managers to provide input on the Open Government Directive.
NCDDers may remember a heated discussion about the “Agenda for Strengthening Our Nation’s Democracy” on the NCDD Discussion list last December (especially about suddenly being asked to endorse an agenda many in the field felt was created without their knowledge or involvement). I know some of the organizers of the upcoming event paid close attention to that discussion and took a lot of what was said to heart. I believe this follow-up gathering is larger and more inclusive, in part, due to some of the concerns people brought up on the list.
I’ll be attending the event, and I’ve been thinking about what I can do to help the whole NCDD network feel more included and informed about what’s going on at this meeting. I’ll be there, doing my best to represent our community, but I’m hoping to involve some of you in what’s happening and tap into your knowledge and experience while I’m at the meeting.
The main way I’ll be doing this is by posting questions and insights on my Facebook page. If they are short posts, I’ll use Ping so they go to LinkedIn and Twitter as well. Rather than taking detailed notes and posting them to the NCDD blog (which I always think I’ll do at events and then I get caught up in the moment and the people), I’m planning to listen for points of contention, unanswered questions, and interesting insights and ideas that NCDDers who aren’t in attendance might have insights on. If this works, we can have mini-discussions on Facebook from Sunday night through Tuesday afternoon, while I’m involved in similar conversations face-to-face with the folks in DC.
After talking to Andy (my husband; NCDD’s Creative Director), I decided to use Facebook for several reasons:
- Many people check Facebook regularly throughout the day. Unfortunately I don’t think many of you check the NCDD blog throughout the day.
- I tend to get more responses to my posts on Facebook than on the NCDD blog, in LinkedIn or on Twitter.
- I have a stronger presence on Facebook than on any other social media platform. I have over 1500 Facebook friends, most of whom are professional colleagues who are interested/involved in dialogue and deliberation work. So my posts show up on over 1500 people’s Facebook pages.
- NCDD’s Facebook group has over 1100 members, and I can send an email message out to all of them to let them know I’ll be doing this.
- Many NCDD members are on Facebook, so it’s convenient for many of you.
- If internet access at the hotel is spotty, I can still use my Facebook application on my iPhone.
Hopefully those of you who aren’t on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn won’t feel too excluded. I’ll add a post to the NCDD blog about SOND2 soon after the event, and I’ll share highlights from the Facebook discussions in that post. Of course, participating in those three technologies is free, so you can always sign up now! Be sure to search for me and send “Friend requests” or follow me on Twitter (otherwise, you won’t see my posts).
Add comments to this post if you have questions or concerns. I know I’ll be seeing some of you in DC in the next couple of days; hopefully I’ll “see” even more of you on Facebook. LinkedIn and Twitter as well!
And in case you need a bit more direction, here’s all my and NCDD’s social media links…
Sandy Heierbacher’s Social Media…
NCDD Social Media…
FaceBook group: www.groups.to/ncdd/
LinkedIn group: www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=990997
YouTube: www.thataway.org/6fa6ec (public playlists of NCDD videos and D&D videos in general)
Flickr: www.flickr.com/search/?q=ncdd2008 (over 400 photos from the last NCDD conference)