We at GroupSRC are strong believers in the power of reddit to connect citizens with their public officials (See Why we need crowdsourcing technology to communicate with our politicians). The best way for any Mayor or public official to experiment with reddit is to conduct a simple reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything).
Many communities have active subreddits with citizens who want to discuss local issues and communicate with their local leaders. A reddit AMA is a nice event that allows leaders to be accessible and talk to a large audience in an organized manner.
Here are the top reasons why every mayor (or public official) should do a reddit AMA…
1. It’s like an online “town hall” meeting. The forum is open, but instead of people standing in an over-crowded room, everyone can submit questions and statements from the comfort of their home. We love the intimacy of a town hall meeting, but for most communities they don’t give everyone a chance to participate.
2. Reddit provides efficient filtering of large audiences. The economical up/down vote system gives power to the crowd to decide which questions are most important so you don’t have to sit in council meetings past midnight.
3. Many local communities have active subreddit communities which contain a very targeted audience of citizens. How often does a Mayor get a chance to talk to 5,000 – 50,000 people at the same time? There are dozens of local community subreddits that have thousands of subscribers who are ready to communicate, provide feedback, and ask questions that matter to them.
4. It is important for Mayors to show their willingness to use new internet technologies for civic engagement. A Mayor who is willing to communicate with citizens through all possible channels will prove their ability to adapt to new means of civic engagement. Also, most Mayors who hold reddit AMA’s receive press afterwards.
5. It’s not that difficult to do an AMA! All you need is a little preparation and a few hours of your time. With a little help from a staff member (or GroupSRC), the Mayor only needs to dedicate 2-3 hours of their time to conduct a worthwhile AMA. See below for more details on setting up and executing a reddit AMA.
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