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Expert Labs: Putting The 'Public' Into Public Policy Wasn't Easy

document Distributed Knowledge
Summary The premise behind Expert Labs was that the federal government could and should engage in conversations with people on their existing social networks. The idea was to use existing commercial social networks to crowdsource policy decisions and to synthesize the responses in an intelligent manner. The tool that the team built, ThinkUp, was a free, open-source web application that needed to be downloaded onto a server. Once installed, it allowed its users to download all of their social media activity into a database that the user controlled.
Description Expert Labs' Clay Johnson has recommended that agencies should reach out to the public on channels that are more familiar to them than through the obscure web forms that appear on agency web sites, or simply by publishing their existing rule-making procedures through the centralized web site Regulations.gov. He suggests that one way of doing this is through tighter integration of agencies' rule-making tools with social media so that citizens can submit their comments and ideas through those channels.

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