It just keeps getting easier to participate in policymaking in the United States, but that may lead to some problems not far down the road.
Today, the FCC debuted a National Broadband discussion site built on the Ideascale crowdsourcing platform which lets users read, discuss, and rank FCC issues in the same fashion as services like Digg and Yahoo Buzz.
In addition to the FCC’s official blog, the Commission has opened a Facebook profile, Twitter feed, YouTube channel, and an RSS feed, all accessible through the FCC Connect site.
Chairman Julius Genachowski even debuted the first FCC video blog yesterday, in which he personally issued the call to everyone. “We’re looking for all the opportunities we can to take advantage of new media and technology to harness the expertise that we have all over the country around communications,” Genachowski said. “There are so many people who have something to add to FCC proceedings, ordinary consumers who have a view on the way that our communications infrastructure and devices effect their lives.”
At the Government 2.0 Summit this week, deputy CTO in the office of the president Beth Noveck cited the FCC’s Broadband.gov as an example of the Obama administration’s move toward a more open and transparent government. In three to four weeks, the Open Government Directive will be published, providing an outline for how government agencies will release information and engage the public in a fashion similar to the FCC.
But this influx of public comment could become seriously problematic, especially with government agencies already prone to delay.
In a discussion with Washington, DC radio personality Kojo Nnamdi on Wednesday, White House Director of New Media Macon Phillips said that one of the main challenges of this adoption of social media is the government’s ability to consider the sheer volume of input from citizens.
“But be careful what you wish for,” Phillips said. “You can seek to engage the people and it overwhelms you.”