Open Government. Direct Democracy, first in series.

This is the first of a series on Open Government and Direct Democracy.

Today I am focusing on a look at where we are as a Society with regard to creating Digital Democracies and a true participatory political environment.

There is a lot of talk on Twitter and Facebook and  lots of other social networks including this one Y2G about the recent election of President Elect Barack Obama and how he so skillfully utilized the latest social networking tools in both creating and retaining followers and in mobilizing millions of people to make “micro donations” which resulted in his record breaking fundraising.

What does this mean for Open Government, Direct Democracy and other terms of the electorate being engaged with the elected?

There are websites that allow you to track legislation and contact your elected officials in a secure manner like You2Gov, and there are others focused on creating conversation between the officials and the people they work for. In 1776 when the the United States was founded in Philadelphia during a hot summer with no air conditioning, the people came together and met face to face and heard each other out. Over the past several decades as media has coalesced into a one directional broadcast model, the interactions and dialogue have been allowed to shrink dramatically. It became a one way tunnel. Now we are taking that space back, and showing the need for open dialogue between elected and electorate.

The explosion of social media in the last 5 years whether YouTube, MySpace or blogging sites like Huffington Post has brought those interactions and dialogue back into the front. We are now beginning to experience Democracy in the most direct and digital ways like it was envisioned to some extent by the founding fathers. The dialogue is front and center and the officials are listening to some extent, which will only increase as time goes on.

You can now use our site to call the President, Vice President, and your other elected officals from the site. You can blog your own thoughts on thousands, nee millions of outlets. You can organize in ways unheard of 10 years ago. You can take advantage of these tools to become a better and more informed citizen. Why are you not taking advantage of these tools? How come you just tune into your social media or your TV and watch these historic World changing events happen? The tools are there, and in our case are free, it is your turn.

Next: Part II

Why is Open Government so important?

Alan W. Silberberg

CEO You2Gov

You2Gov Founders Write Article for Huffington Post

Political Power for Real People

Political Power for Real People

Below is the text of the original Huffington Post article written by the Founders of You2Gov as it appears today on the Huffington Post. Please go to the original URL below to comment directly on this article. Thanks Arianna and David.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-w-silberberg-and-ralph-j-shapira/bloggers-lead-media-to-re_b_131155.html

Bloggers Lead Media to Report McCain/Palin’s Campaign “Lies”

Can you imagine our buttoned-up mainstream media calling McCain and Palin “liars” had bloggers not exploded with that epithet over the past month, and proved it, lie by lie? With blogs leading the way, the MSM’s customary restraint fell away like scales from their eyes because gentlemanly “balanced” prose couldn’t adequately convey the truth, and because the stakes are so high.

The MSM knows their failure to call this spade a spade enabled GW Bush to bootstrap two lying campaigns into a profoundly dishonest administration that has disgraced and weakened our great nation. They don’t want to be patsies all over again. This time, it needs to be done right, and everyone recognizes just how high the stakes actually are.

This is yet another case of the Internet transforming our political processes. It has enabled citizen journalists to find wide audiences, unblocked by traditional media “gatekeepers. It has diluted the political influence of monied interests by raising overwhelming sums from millions of citizen contributors. It mobilized armies of partisans for political organizing and campaigning.

And it has significantly advanced the cause of finding the truth. While traditional media have disparaged blogs as being unreliable, that chaotic, unmediated world known as “the blogosphere” has led the way in ferreting truth from falsehood.

We think politically-oriented social networking is the next step towards democratizing our Republic. Micro-niche social networks are the wave of the future that is already casting its water upon our shores. By providing forums for citizens to test and compare their views, networking tools to enable like-minded people to cooperate in groups to effect change, extensive information resources for research and education, and communications tools to facilitate dialog with elected officials, networks like You2Gov will help break the stranglehold our traditional media and political parties have exerted on our great public discussions, reinvigorating our democracy.

Users of You2Gov actively utilize our tools to contact members of the House and Senate directly from the Internet during the financial crisis that is gripping the United States. There is extensive one to one dialogue and one-to-many dialogue occurring each day on multiple websites and social media like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, blogs and podcasts not to mention email and telephone. What is starting to develop is a cohesive currency of information, tested and verified, that is flattening our ability to achieve power plurality with our leaders. As time goes on, these tools will make each citizen a recognizable base of local power, much like companies and trade groups now enjoy.