Open government may benefit quality of life

by: Kate Maeder

Reset Views is Reset San Francisco's featured guest blog by thought leaders and opinion makers in SF

We can’t escape it – our Smartphones, apps, home computers – we’re constantly connected to the web, but more importantly, to each other. The more we talk and share information online, the more social our community becomes.

San Franciscans are so high-tech.

We love Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Groupon, LinkedIn, Zynga, Smartphones, iPads and anything else that screams web 2.0. In fact, the Web 2.0 Expo will be hosted later this month at the Moscone Center, where web designers, developers and social media-ites will gather to talk about the latest social media platforms and web 2.0 tools.

Yet too often left out of this conversation is the power of social media and these online tools to transform San Francisco into a Government 2.0 city. And that starts with transparent, open government.

Did you know that open government may benefit our quality of life?

According to a recent study by the Pew Internet Project, if government were more open and more transparent, we’d be happier and more inspired to make our city better.

There are a number of San Franciscans championing open government and the Gov 2.0 cause: GovFresh founders, Adriel Hampton and Jay Nath, Tim O’Reilly, and a number of other “Gov 2.0 Heroes” – and although there’s been progress over the last few years, City Hall can do better.

And one way to do better is to “crowdsource” our ideas and their ideas, empowering us to get involved and to get engaged.

So, what is crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is collecting ideas and solutions from citizens to solve a problem. Using social media and web 2.0 tools, City Hall could effectively collect a number of creative ideas from us. And in this economical time, we need out-of-the-box thinking to get The City back on track.

Why don’t politicians empower us to get more involved and to get engaged? Why don’t we ask City Hall to crowdsource our ideas using these tools?

San Francisco is home to the most innovative and creative people in the world. So, why can’t our city government reflect this innovation, and why shouldn’t we demand it to be open and transparent using social media and available web 2.0 tools?

Yet not only should we demand open government at City Hall – but also politicians should work to empower the very people they represent.

And maybe that’s the only way we can truly make government work – by getting us more involved – a radical idea, I know. The end result not only means more voices and more ideas in city policy, but also, according to Pew, it means San Franciscans will be a happier bunch.

We all know that San Francisco is the greatest city in the world, and we have so much pride for the amazing things in this city. So let’s harness our positive, collaborative energy and get our city working again.

Sign this petition

Sign this petition to ask elected officials to empower us to make our voices heard and to crowdsource City Hall – Log in and add your comments and ideas below.