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Sparking dialogue on the vision for a Civic Voice Archive: @OpenEnviroData Twitter Chat
February 7, 2021
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On February 1st. 2021, The Open Environmental Data Project (OEPD) hosted a Twitter Chat about rebuilding trust and legitimacy in government via digital and processional modernization methods. Through this dialogue, the vision for a Civic Voice Archive was introduced as a new method for community-based environmental engagement, and to ultimately build a modern information vehicle for congress. Using the hashtags #CapitolStrong, #CivicTech, and #CVAChat, we incorporated our dialogue into the ongoing conversation of democratic inclusion This Twitter Chat was designed to appeal to a diverse audience, including researchers, environmental justice advocates, members of our democratic institutions, and the public. As such, we invited our collaborator on the Civic Voice Archive Project, Lorelei Kelly, and Natalie Ward, who helped establish the State Chief Data Officers Network, as panelists. The seven questions for the chat were similarly developed with a diverse audience in mind, and were designed to be answered by both experts and non-experts.            


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Our Twitter Chat highlighted the result of the Insurrection on January 6th to set the context for the restoration of trust and legitimacy in government. Moreover, it tied into our next sequence of questions that dove into how modern digital tools can pave the way for successful restoration.                               

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With the use of modern digital tools, it is imperative that our democratic structure adopt effective communication systems with the objective of creating inclusive, transparent, and efficient digital services that will allow for the facilitation of civic engagement. In the process of building digital structures in our democratic framework it is necessary to address community concerns and needs. Creating a nurturing environment for community input is the first step into creating a tool like the Civic Voice Archive. Generating community engagement starts with establishing trust. Better governance begins with including and filtering authentic local input on the issue at hand. Congress is in need of creating feedback models and methods between institutions and people in order to bring back trust and legitimacy to our democracy.               

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Our Twitter chat aimed to highlight issues at hand as well as the necessity of an improved democratic framework through the implementation of modern digital tools. The Civic Voice Archive introduces a way for relevant environmental information to be held in a common data repository that could fundamentally change and improve the dynamics of our institutions and their constituents.                

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Introducing the CVA in our Twitter chat allows for public opinion on such a concept that would transform the way people interact with their public officials and democratic institutions. With a detailed conversation on trust, legitimacy, and modern digital tools, we arrived at even more questions on how to establish the integration of tech and civic engagement. The work towards democratic inclusion is ongoing and the objective of creating an equitable society remains present and diligent.