The 34 second case for open dialogue, online or off. (Thoughtexchange)

Posted: August 8th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Civic engagement, dialogue, online engagment, The business of public engagement, Transparency | No Comments »

People are well aware of the risks of publicly visible dialogue, especially when it’s online. So agencies and organizations often choose mostly one way information flows: comments and questions are directed to the sponsor privately, carefully reviewed and often trimmed of controversial content, and only then posted in public.

In this clip, Jayme Smithers of Thoughtexchange makes the best case possible, if you only have 34 seconds, for publicly visible dialogue and back and forth.

 

The whole discussion is worthwhile. It features three school superintendents reflecting on their experience using Thoughtexchange, but it’s mostly applicable to face to face discussions and other web-based approaches as well.

They go well beyond the humor, explaining that the benefits of publicly visible back and forth are manifold.

It allows the sponsor to serve as the convener, introducing participants to one another, often for the first time. It elicits new information from participants and gives them the chance to make the case, in their own words, often with particular credibility for their peers, credibility that the sponsor may not have.

The full video also addresses concerns many dialogue sponsors have that criticisms will be aired. One superintendent notes that “the buzz is out there” already. Those discussions are happening anyway. Shifting them to a public forum allows the sponsor to hear them and, often, add data and questions that may shape the discussion in a more productive direction.

Well done.