Facebook objected to in NZ Parliament

Posted on August 6, 2010

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Yesterday our local Member of Parliament Pete Hodgson  attempted to table a Facebook page in the House.   Unfortunately, it was objected to.

I’m telling you this because the “Keep Neurosurgery in Dunedin”  was my doing.   Richard Thomson and I set it up to bring attention to the nonsensical proposal to remove neurosurgery from Dunedin.

As I write 10, 931 people have joined the group.   This is in little over two weeks.  It is by far the largest facebook cause in the South (Otago/Southland), easily outstripping “Bring 3D to Dunedin”.

Last month I presented a submission to the Dunedin Digital Strategy.  In it I argued for the Council to implement eGovernment, in particular eParticipation.    I think we can learn from the Neurosurgery example.

The demographics are interesting: 81% female. 69% aged 35 +.   Clearly this is the demographic one would expect to get behind a health campaign, but DCC can take note that knowing that social media is working for that group.

Yesterday I combined all the comments into a pdf.  It came to 108 pages. I am working on an analysis to feed into the panel process.  There is a mix of personal stories, argument from medical people and the community alike.  Most posts are a sentence or two, perhaps 25% would count as a paragraph.  Only one negative comment “go private”, and only two comments off topic. Postings are heartfelt and rational.   Many have made me very proud of my fellow humans.   More than several have brought tears to my eyes.

Another point to note is that much like this site, the facebook group is a conversation, not a one-shot media release. With the massive uptake, Richard (Thomson) and I have had to to work very hard to maintain that flow.  In the last few days people from the community have been taking up that facilitation role (one young woman from Gore has been amazing).  We’ve also had many clinicians giving people detailed feedback on their questions.   Again, I think we can learn from this for  eGovernment.   This new way of consulting is really about collaboration. It works best when everyone is part of the conversation.

(11,015 by the time I finished).

Video of question-time.

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Posted in: Dunedin, government