Let’s think about public meetings for a bit. Several groups of people have an even harder time than the rest of us at attending public meetings.
Most of us just have excuses of a busy life, apathy, etc.
But some people don’t. Consider the following:
I blogged about the influx of Hispanics and Latinos into the U.S. last week (see: How Can Social Media Help Governments Serve the Booming Hispanic Population?).
So, how can Spanish-only-speaking Americans understand what is happening at a local government meeting? They only have a few options:
- The local government can provide a translator.
- The citizen can bring someone along to the meeting to translate for them.
- If the meeting is recorded on video, closed captioning can be added and they can watch the meeting later.
- Or they can watch it immediately if the translation is done live on the TV.
Let’s say that you’re hearing-impaired. You want to be informed about your local government, but you don’t have time to make meetings. The meetings aren’t on video and aren’t closed-captioned.
Or, let’s say that you’re unable to attend public meetings due to a disability that doesn’t allow for you to travel easily. At the same time, there are issues that your local government is dealing with that affect you and you want to be actively involved.
What if public meetings were on video and online? But wait. What if they also had closed captioning in English? What if there was also a transcript that was easily made available by a vendor for the local government? Government officials (and citizens) could easily research past meetings to see what happened. And for areas that have a high population of non-English speaking citizens, what if the closed captioning was also available in Spanish so that someone could watch a translation of the meeting online?
What if local Clerks didn’t have to deal with most of this because much of it would be done by someone else – saving Clerks time?
What do you think?
Would more local governments be interested in posting video of their public meetings online if:
- they could be done in closed captioning by a vendor?
- the closed captioning was also done in another language?
- there was a transcription made available by the vendor so that government officials (and citizens) could easily search a word-for-word record of what happened in past meetings?
I’m not saying that our company does all of this.
But — what if we did? Would it serve your community well?
Let us know in the comments below… I look forward to your thoughts!
CA cities having hard time dealing w/ FOIA requests.
- “Now, IT officials working in California cities are saying that they are overwhelmed by the complexity of the public archived information being sought.”
- “Although responding to record requests has traditionally been a function of a city clerk’s office, in recent years IT departments have become heavily involved in the process as federal and state laws have included electronic documents under the public records umbrella.”
- Article: “Transparency Bill Ups E-Discovery Pressure on California Cities” (GovTech.com, HT)
- “comScore, Inc. … released data from the comScore Video Metrix service showing that 174 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in March for an average of 14.8 hours per viewer. The total U.S. Internet audience engaged in more than 5.7 billion viewing sessions during the course of the month.”
- More stats in the release…
- “as mobile development in the federal government continues to ramp up, tools to help agencies and individuals assess how (and when) to intelligently proceed are increasingly important. Recognizing that every situation is unique, an understanding of a few critical questions should provide some clarity for those making the decision on how best to proceed with mobile development.”
Sunshine Review’s Post: “Open government and data resources“
- “Through FOIAchat, a weekly live chat Sunshine Review hosts on Twitter, we’ve run into a lot of really great resources for those of you hoping to learn more about your government. Usually, it takes some investigation to get data and documents from governments, but these resources host searchable information online for you to utilize.”
- The U.S. Hispanic population is on the rise. How can Gov 2.0 help local governments serve this population of citizens?
So there you have it! Any more ideas? Let us know in the comments!
The Hispanic Population in America is on the rise. The overall growth in the U.S. States of Hispanics (or Latinos) was 15,171,776 from the 2000 to 2010 Census (U.S. Census Bureau, only U.S. States).
But the growth isn’t just happening where you might think it is.
Take a look at this map. It shows the growth of the Hispanic population (per county) from the 2000 Census through the 2010 Census. (Dark Green = most growth. Red = Decline in Percent Change. Click here for a larger size image. Notice that the most growth in the population (as a percent, since the 2000 Census) is not happening in the Southwest.).
Notice that the most growth in the Hispanic population (as a percent, since the 2000 Census, including Latinos) is not happening in the Southwest.
Where are large populations of Hispanics?
Here’s an interactive map of the percent of Hispanics per county for 2010*.
*minus Alaska & Broomfield Co., Colorado; from the U.S. Census Bureau
Reaching out to Non-English Speaking Citizens
Marketing and Public Relations are things that local governments do all of the time. (If you have a poorly designed website, don’t use social media, or rarely speak with reporters, that’s still saying something).
More and more, local governments are going to have to converse with a rising Hispanic population (some of whom would have a much better experience with government if things were in Spanish).
So the question becomes, how can local governments reach out and help it’s citizens who don’t understand English all that well?
Can technology help local governments communicate with Spanish-speaking Americans?
- Use Facebook: What if the local government had a Facebook Page where questions can be asked & answered in Spanish? This way, fellow citizens can answer the question in Spanish… saving the local government time and resources to form a response. Hispanics (like everyone else) use Facebook, so it reaches them where they’re at.
- Use Blogs: Post on multiple topics that describe (in Spanish) how certain government processes work. It allows for citizens to comment on the posts and get clarification from each other. At the same time, future readers of the posts might have their own questions already answered. Example posts:
- How to pay a parking ticket.
- How to pay taxes.
- Where to vote (and how to register).
What ideas do you have? Are there examples of local governments using social media to reach the Hispanic Population? Let us know in the comments!