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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday 7 August 2014

What Marvel and Open Government Have in Common

In politics, information that could be shared often gets held back - and this for a number of reasons.  Marketing is key; during a campaign in particular, you want to roll out your platform in stages to keep momentum going, to throw your opponents off balance, so on and so forth. 
Sometimes, though, information gets withheld because the people holding it like knowing things that others don't.  The holding of information is valuable to them.
I love referring to film makers because when you get an amazing director with a great story - say, a Josh Whedon, a Bryan Singer or a Chris Nolan - they would love to share what they know with you.  They would love for you to be excited along with them. 
These folk don't hold back info for personal gain, but out of respect for the audience.  Good story tellers want you, their audience, to have the best, most fulfilling experience possible.  Sometimes that means keeping details back so that you can experience the full impact all at once.
Think The Sixth Sense, the first Matrix or more recently, The Lego Movie.  Not knowing those plot twists going in made the story that much more powerful.
And Brolin is right - we don't have a lot of surprise, of wonder any more.  We're oversaturated, we're impatient, we're disengaged.  Politics is a great example of this - or at least, good governance is.
How might we empower people to feel about democracy and civic engagement the way they do about a film franchise like Marvel's?  A great starting point would be to have leaders who respected the people as much as good directors do their audiences - and did everything, including info sharing, in a way that made their experience richer
Which is exactly what Open Government and Open Data are about.  Done properly, public information that has never seen the light of day will be open, accessible and easy to both navigate and use.  It'd be like citizens having the chance to be part of writing the story of society, in the way a good Twitter chat does. 

Picture everyone having the chance to be a contributing player in society - to design and be their own hero in a pantheon of civic heroes.

That's what Richard Pietro's doing - look at the fun he's having, the experience he's having, the brand he's building - and the contribution he's making.
Open Government is a powerful story just starting to be written, but with an arc that is as exciting as it is important. 
It's something those of us already part of the growing Open Community know, a feeling we're dying to share.
The best part is that it's not up to us as to when the whole story will get revealed - that's something that only you can decide by joining in.

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