This week after combing through technology blogs, I decided I want to blog about someone who is attempting to empowering citizens and build communities. Tripp said, “We’re citizens again. We’re looking for companies, politicians, and institutions that will build the best communities” (p. 210).

The most compelling use of technology to build community and empower citizens was done by Texas Rep. John Culberson. Culberson held an e Town Hall. He used ustream.tv to answer questions from his constituents from his Washington D.C. office. In this town hall, he used his web camera to present himself. He used twitter, phone, email, and his website to gather question. In the first 1:30 of the video, there is a very funny slip-up and reaction to the slip-up from a person in the background—it is worth watching, especially if you are a twitter fan. See video here.

I understand this in idea is novel and there are many lesson to learn from this format.

The things I see that need to be done:

1.      Learn to take control of the phone caller. There needs to be some sort of control, so they will not ramble.

2.      The blue light reflection from the screen needs to be neutralized.

3.      The politician or speaker needs to be completely cognizant of their nonverbal behavior (e.g. wiping or squeezing your nose).

4.      Very careful about the people in the background.

I commend Rep. Culberson for engaging the citizens in this sort of dialogue, and there are many lessons to still learn from this type of format.

The Internet tools are creating an empowering dialogue with citizens. This dialogue not only benefits the citizens, it also benefits the politician. Politicians are able to disseminate their message without relying on the interpretation of the press. Additionally, this format works well to get information out to the media and bloggers simultaneously. It will be an interesting tool to follow.