The Possibility of Civic Engagement In A Digital Age

In the pre-digital age when "officials" and "civic leaders" could know more than citizens, the only viable means of community and civic engagement was in public hearings to voice grievances to decision makers and voting for others who assume the role of decision making surrogates for the community.

These days when we can use our phones to learn and communicate anything, not to mention make all manner of secure financial transactions, we don't need intermediaries, especially when more of us can be more knowledgable than any elected or appointed among us. In the future, all we will need are technologies that can make all kinds of real time, historical and contextual data available and people to facilitate open source engagement for collective decision making.

This kind of full engagement will require a bottom-up citizen collaboration approach. It is less likely to occur at the hands of people who will lose political power as it shifts to the distributed and collaborative power of the collective. It will take just making it happen and as it does, new leaders will emerge who will be elected precisely because they actively champion the disintermediation of public governance.