We asked Public Consultation and Engagement experts the following question regarding the Impact of Social Media, and they were kind enough to share their insights with us:
How is social media influencing public opinion, and how far have public and private organizations reached in utilizing it towards strengthening their outreach?
MANITOBA CLEAN ENVIRONMENT COMMISSION
Reaching the public with a well-constructed communication plan using plain language information goes much farther than technical, bureaucratic jargon or a bombardment of advertising. Plain language documents need not contain a great deal of details, but can instigate interest when they focus on the local concerns that may impact the individual. Even in this age of ubiquitous electronic communication, a phone call or a local meeting can go a long way. We find that the public needs to be treated as individuals with local concerns rather than just an advertising target.
WHITEFEATHER FOREST INITIATIVE OF PIKANGIKUM FIRST NATION
Andrew J. Chapeskie
CITY OF BELLEVILLE
ENBRIDGE NORTHERN GATEWAY
CITY OF VANCOUVER (BC)
John Miller, CPF, CTF, BA, MA
There is a very long list of reforms required. Humans have governments in order to facilitate a degree of collective influence — especially “democratic” ones. To start with I’d say pick up the tools that already exist but have been set aside. Here are two:
- Citizens don’t bite. Government officials can do more than “inform” the public. The angry sounds that citizens make indicate there is wisdom underneath and a stifled vision for their community. With just a little courage, knowledge of group dynamics and humane processes, and the patience to listen and inquire …wisdom and consensus will emerge.
- Engage early in the process on the bigger, often more meaningful and contextual questions like values and vision.
- Elected officials need to re-inhabit their roles and rebel against being told what to think. They can sprout some ears, ask open-ended questions, convene deeper dialogue among their constituents, and thereby unearth a source of political legitimacy and power for themselves as a by-product.
And just for fun, print up a bunch of t-shirts that say, “I’m a citizen not a consumer”.
MUNICIPALITY OF CLYDE RIVER (NU)
Companies and government should be more transparent. CIBA should be published publicly so that all Canadians know what our country is benefitting from the impact. To hide such agreements is seen as crooked and secrecy does not go well in the eyes of the public. Any alternatives to such activities should be explored that may be less harmful to the ecosystem.
JACKSONVILLE COMMUNITY COUNCIL (FL)
Continue reading expert insights on:
- What are the two key challenges faced by public consultation and engagement professionals today? Read insights
- How relevant, or applicable, are the traditional engagement strategies in securing sustainable community support? Read insights
- How is social media influencing public opinion, and how far have public and private organizations reached in utilizing it towards strengthening their outreach? Read insights