The Internet and new technologies bring incredible possibilities for citizen participation to government. Never before have meetings at every level of government been accessible to the entire country, rather than just those who are able to attend in person.
While rulemaking is a relatively unknown process in government, it touches almost every facet of life. In fact, agencies make over 4,000 rules every year, with far-reaching implications for citizens. These rules determine how food safety is audited, who will have access to government health care, and whether polar bears are considered an endangered species. When agencies develop rules, they are required to solicit public comments and take those comments into account before the rules are finalized. However, while technically open to any and all, the rulemaking process is effectively hidden - and is ready for innovation online. We can increase public participation in the regulatory process using tools like social media and online communities.
New technologies like social media provide opportunities for government to engage with citizens. Integrating technology, social interaction, and content with government gives the opportunity to reach out to citizens where they already are.