I’ve very happy to announce that we’ve firmed up deets for the Tri-Valley’s first “Citizen 2.0” training (East San Francisco Bay Area, CA), to be held at the end of March in Dublin.
This is very important to me, because the main reason I do this blog is to spread the word about how busy folks can use modern communications tools to take direct control of their democracy. Social media and 2.0 culture has the power to engage active citizens and businesspeople with their local community and government in ways not seen since the decay of small town life. This changes everything, from business development to governance.
I hope that you are promoting similar projects in your communities as well. Please tell us about them in the comments here!
This free training will target entry-level folks who don’t know a Twitter from a MySpace but may already be engaging their customers with newsletters, or their government with public comment. PR pro George Millington, Realtor and social media enthusiast Jonathan Fleming and I are taking on this project with support and help from two local bloggers who run Around Dublin, a pro bono effort to promote Dublin, CA businesses and engage citizens with their government. Around Dublin has several hundred daily readers, and we will be cross-promoting the event with flyers, Craiglist ads, word of mouth, and other traditional and “new” media. We also hope to get a local business or two to offer raffle prizes to get folks in the door, and we’re providing food, because what good event is complete without it?
So, what does a Citizen 2.0 training consist of? This is what we hope to convey in our two-hour program:
Participation in local government is important. It’s the only way to influence policies that may affect you, it keeps politicians accountable, and local government decisions and community effort are key to driving local business development.
Barriers to participation are significant. It’s hard to make the time to stay up on local government or to get motivated to get involved. If you have been involved, it can be discouraging to not see any change from your efforts, or you may simply feel like you have nothing to contribute.
One of the ways to break down the barriers is Citizen 2.0. This is a community member engaged through simple Web communication tools to know what’s going on in their City, with the means to quickly and easily add meaningful input. Citizen 2.0 is streamlined activism for modern life. It’s the blog I built to harness energy around modifying a local library project, and it is bringing people together around community and economic development in non-traditional ways.
Social media is the Web-tool enabled culture that drives Citizen 2.0. We’ll cover the culture of collaboration, transparency and immediacy of Web 2.0, and give an overview of blogging and an introduction to tools such as Facebook, Skype, Yelp, Twitter and Google Alerts. This demo will include how to “talk the talk” when it comes to getting started with these tools.
We’ll close with advice on how local citizens can make a difference using social tools to build community, advance issues, drive local business development, and participate in local policymaking. We’ll also pump the Around Dublin blog and its ongoing evolution. During a final Q&A, we’ll also be signing folks up for Twitter.
As you can tell, I’m very excited about this. I hope it’s interesting to you as well, and will spur continued creativity in community building in your neck of the woods.