The Online Public Engagement Emporium launches

The Local Economy Revolution book doesn’t talk specifically about online public engagement, but it does emphasize some of the factors that necessitate change in how we do public engagement – and make good online public engagement so critical today:

  • the people we need to get involved aren’t all gentleman farmers anymore (they have a lot more demands on their time and come from a whole lot get more varied perspectives;
  • People are increasingly used to being able to flip between analog and digital communication methods, even to talk to the same people about the same topics, and
  • Everyone has the potential to be their own newspaper publisher – your residents can get their opinions, their frustrations and their demand for change in front of more people faster than ever before.

Some of you may know that I am the Managing Editor of EngagingCities, an online magazine that shares news about the intersection of public engagement, urban planning and online technologies.  I also use to produce a white paper summarizing online public engagement tools and platforms at the Wise Economy Workshop.  But trying to keep that thing updated proved to be almost impossible.  They just keep inventing new ones too quickly!

As a result, I just moved all of the last white paper’s content over to a new web site:


In my mind, I’d like to have kind of a circus theme on this thing to go with the “Emporium” language — big top, lions jumping through rings, elephants, etc. (No clowns – they’re creepy…).  But since I don’t know if thing can pay for itself yet, it will have to wait for the dressing-up.

On this site, you’ll find a summary of several online public engagement platforms, some definitions of terms, and a few options if you decide you’d like some help with selecting the platform that will best fit your needs.  I believe that each tool has unique advantages and limitations, and my intent when I am advising is to find the best match between client and platform.  So I worked out a pretty simple (and cheap) way to help you get that advice. One of the things that I’ve learned from my tech friends is that you don’t have to know exactly where you’re going with something before you throw it out into the internet universe.  Sometimes you’re just throwing spaghetti.  So

I don’t know exactly what this site is going to turn into.  We may add content to help readers better understand the different options, but none of that is worked out at the moment.

In the meantime, if you have an online public participation start up that fits the Emporium’s criteria, send me a note at  If you represent one of the sites that’s already on here and something’s out of date or just plain wrong (Really?  That could happen? Damn right it could), please send me a note as well.  We’re not going to list every tiny widget and setting here, but I want to make sure this thing gives people the right place to start.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s