Good question! And something I will discuss in Peoria, AZ next month.

Here’s an observation that was shared in the panelist briefing:

It seems there is a debate regarding how social media can be utilized to involve the public in making better decisions. Everyone tends to agree the tools are great for sharing information and keeping up with social relationships, but the debate seems to develop when you talk about using these tools to have a conversation which leads to a consensus decision.

Three initial points:

  • One of the characteristics of social media, to me, is that it is widely distributed and completely decentralized. There is a bit of tension that arises from the fact that for any kind of decision making process at least some centralization is required at some point.
  • On the Inform part of the IAP2 Spectrum, social media provides great opportunities for conveners.
  • There are a number of interesting experiments happening that may in the future improve our handle on large-scale, distributed conversations.

There’s a lot more to it, of course.

Any spontaneous comments while I further collect my thoughts on this? Feel free!