Friday, March 12, 2010

Live blogging: ASU roundtable discussion on new media and civic engagement along the border

I've been invited to live blog a roundtable discussion on civic engagement in border states at ASU. Donna from Democratic Diva and Rachel Alexander from IC Arizona are also here. Donna will do a summary later, while Rachel will be doing a "live blog" sort of report on her site.

This post will hereafter be best read from bottom to top.

12:59 - meeting over. Another event starting up, but I have to go to work. Later!

12:56 - An ASU law prof is asking about information collection/availability from the government, stating that there are gaps between what the government knows on a topic (in this case, border issues) and what academics know.

12:52 - DHS advises that if people on the site ask for a conversation with a senior official on the site, it will happen. Folks just have to sign up and ask.

12:49 - Others are pointing out that making the site "value-neutral" could (and probably will) make it "valueless".

12:47 - One attendee is pointing out the website is "fluff" with no room for criticism/discussion of government border policies. He thinks it will be ineffective.

12:44 - It turns out that academics can ask long, convoluted questions that cannot be easily summarized. Who knew? :) In other words, I have no idea what the next question was really asking.

12:40 - An activist is wondering if the website can be used to highlight the plight of students caught up in immigration snafus, if the site can be used to get the attention of senior officials. Short answer: yes.

12:37 - There is a high-level group working on facilitating secure cross-border trade. Wants to use social media to get info out on both sides of the border.

12:35 - ASU prof? reminds folks that border issues go far beyond just immigration (commerce, environment, etc.)

12:32 - Erin Gross (sp?) of Canadian consulate advises against conflating immigration and fighting crime.

12:24 - Braun is highlighting an example where social media can be used as a "force multiplier", getting information out about an issue such as human trafficking. In larger cities, people are aware of the issue, but in smaller cities and towns, the average person may not realize that it is an issue in their hometown.

12:19 - This program, highlighted on this website, will be focused on utilizing social media to help address Southwest border issues and to promote government transparency to the average citizen.

12:14 - Jake Braun, a White House liason from the Department of Homeland Security is the featured speaker/moderator today. We are doing introductions right now - lots of ASU staff and students, as well as some interested folks (including from the Canadian consulate).

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