Useful Arts Co-Founds “Ask the President Elect”; You Can Too

Eight years ago we saw online campaigning emerge. This year the current presidential election established the interactive channel as the decisive element in fundraising, organizing and getting the word out.

Now, candidates and supporters appear ready to transform online political networks into an ongoing dialog that will be as integral to governing as it has become for campaigning.

The eCitizen Foundation: Why I Took 30 Days Away From Blogging
Over the last year I’ve worked with scholars at the MIT Media Lab’s eCitizen Architecture project on systems to support very large-scale civic dialogs. Last month we were fortunate to form a collaboration with Professor Lawrence Lessig of Stanford, who addressed the need for such dialogs by founding the Open Debate Coalition.  I stopped blogging for a month to help launch the eCitizen Foundation, a non-profit that will develop open source solutions to support online civic dialog. (Thanks for staying with us! The break in blogging is over.)

Both the McCain and Obama campaigns have expressed a desire to use this type of method to keep connected with the electorate for debates during the campaign and as part of governing after the election. This is an opportunity to build an ongoing dialog framed by participants, rather than by the media.

Ask the President Elect
The goal of “Ask the President Elect” is to enable all Americans to pose questions or other statements in the form of videos and/or text submissions on the Internet. They and other web users would view and rate the questions so the best questions will rise to the top. In a series of “rounds,” eCitizen will compile a list of most popular questions or comments, which would then be forwarded to the President-elect’s transition team.

With your help, we could turn this great idea into a movement governed by stakeholders that would enable a substantive, public, ongoing conversation directly between the people and the next President of the United States.

Your Ideas, Your Questions, Your Advocacy
If this idea excites you, its easy (and free) to join as a co-founder, or to have updates sent your way. Simply visit the project’s contact us page.  Over the next few weeks, details for posting questions to the President-elect will be announced.

I’m looking forward to encouraging this online connection, and I would be thrilled if you would add your voice to supporting this kind of big civic dialog too.

Dave Wieneke

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