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Th U.S. needs to create civic social networks

Th U.S. needs to create civic social networks
From TechCrunch - December 29, 2017

Whether an elected official is school board member in a small town or a U.S. Senator representing an entire state, constructive dialogue enables those leaders to engage the people they serve.

Communication between the electorate and their government representatives has increased dramatically during the last decade, and social media has played a significant role in that expansion. From Silicon Valley to rural Arkansas, policymakers are struggling to keep up with and make use of these technological advances. However, the social media platforms we have today usually do not create the kind of productive discourse useful for accurate representation and good government.

Meanwhile, citizens across the country are already utilizing social media to communicate directly with companies like American Airlines and Taco Bell to receive real-time, unfiltered feedback. Shouldnt citizens be able to do the same with elected officials?

Unfortunately, the incredible volume of highly politicized, paid advertising and misinformation diminishes the possibility for authentic communication before it even starts. The American people and their government need a new platformor a serious modification of existing platformsto engage each other in a more effective way.

Let me explain.

Most people equate government to politics and vice versa. In truth, there are actually two legally distinct sides to each elected office in Washingtonthe official side (duties of the office) and the political side (campaigning).

Generally speaking, those two sides cannotand should notbe mixed. For example, I should not be using official time and resources to fundraise and engage in political campaigns: I need to spend that time talking to my constituents (not just political supporters) and representing their views in the policy-making process.

The division between official and political is reflected everywhere, including social media. For example, I have both official and political Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Each of them serves a unique purpose.

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