Internet and Social Media Commandments: For Egypt and Coral Gables. (Thanks to “BuzzMachine.”)

I have found this posting on the value of the internet and social media to revolutions and social change to be very edifying in the context of the revolution in Egypt.

Similarly, it gives some interesting perspectives on the use of the internet by our small town, the city of Coral Gables.

It is impressive to me that the internet is used mostly by city government as a one way information flow.  There is very little collecting of information;  the many times I have tried to use it to get feedback from a city department on a neighborhood problem, nothing has happened (well, maybe once). The city’s website is more like an empty blackboard than a telephone or email.  Yes, certain financial information is published, but budgets are pretty theoretical and we never see the same budget, in the same format, at the end of the year to see what really happened to the money and the revenues.  This theatrics and not transparency.

I am impressed that the candidates for public office set up really beautiful websites and some ask for questions (which I assume they answer), and that is great.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this same interest in the voters would carry over more to than 3 minute responses during commission meetings.  That is about it.

The following is a list of internet and social media rights–commandments–that local governments could beneficially think about in their communications with the community.  Read the original long post if you are interested.

…I keep calling for a discussion about an independent set of principles for cyberspace so we can hold them over the heads of governments and corporations that would restrict and control our tools of publicness. I keep revising my list of principles, from this, to this, to this, to this:

I. We have a right to connect.

II. We have the right to speak.

III. We have the right to assemble & act

IV. Privacy is a responsibility of knowing.

V. Publicness is a responsibility of sharing.

VI. Information should be public by default, secret by necessity.

VII. What is public is a public good.

VIII. All bits are created equal.

IX. The internet shall be operated openly.

X. The internet shall be distributed.

This, to me, is a far more fruitful discussion than whether Facebook and Twitter deserves credit for Egypt and Tunisia. The revolutionaries deserve credit. They also deserve the freedom to use the tools of their revolutions.

via Gutenberg of Arabia « BuzzMachine.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in financing development programs and projects

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