Crowdsourcing Democracy

I’ve been thinking about this for days now. “How do you crowdsource democracy?” It isn’t a new question. In fact, it has been a question persistently put forward in the days of the 2010 election campaign, and even before that.

The question resurged in my mind partly because the way I see how much criticism is laid down before the government, and by extension before society. It appears in general terms to be “whiney”, and for the most part, about entitlement, and not necessarily about building and improving. The question comes to mind partly because we need a mechanism to engage our society as one nation, and a realization that good ideas don’t come from one color. It is partly as well because we need to find the critics who openly critic because they want to make things better, and who do it with civility, and to make their voices heard. We need to find the signal amidst the noise. We need a more, “adult democracy”.

Make no mistake that for the most part— criticism is a good thing. And there are moments when we really do have to be harsh. We really have moments when we have to put the government to task. It is an example of just how vibrant our democracy is, and how much people love our country. You can see how much passion there is. It is that passion I want to tap into and focus.

“We want this. We want that”. Such language, just doesn’t cut it anymore. It is something we’ve all know and heard before. It makes our nation, an ungovernable republic.

So how do we bridge the gap?

How do we filter the noise from the signal?

How do we put people who are really, and sensibly passionate about making a difference, and putting them together with other stakeholders?

We need serious people, doing serious work towards specific end goals.

We need a public-private partnership of sorts, on a social enterprise-scale. A mechanism by which, We the People can sensefully engage stakeholders in society— it could be government, it could be the private sector, and it could be both. We need to be able to tap, as a nation, resources, like ideas that private citizens may have that could help build our country.

I liked how society— We the People— engaged government, and private enterprise on the issue of broadband. People engaged the government and put them to task, but also people offered what they think the government should do it. It was backed up by data. It was backed up by people— across the country, and it was backed up by government going around the country. And in light of the protest, even telecommunications companies are democratizing the smartphone. Make no mistake, the issue of broadband is just a first step, but it is good to know that we did make that first step.

I liked how people were passionate about Manila Zoo, but I also liked the fact that it is also translating to people working on the ground, actually volunteering to make Manila Zoo a better place. It is great that people retweeted the link so much that they did, but it is even better when there are changes in the ground, and I really hope you could be friends of Manila Zoo. It is truly awesome when social media translates into real action in the real world.

A nation isn’t built overnight. A nation such as ours, so damaged, so broken isn’t rebuilt in a year nor a nation such us ours can be built by government alone. Nation building isn’t exclusive to government. Sometimes we forget that We the People are so much part of it. So I find the question, “how do you crowdsource democracy”, apt, in light of the Aquino Administration’s second year.

The president promised that we could dream again in his inaugural address. I think, this is a dream worth pursuing. I think it is time to leave our cynicism by the door, and work. We need a nation of builders, not whiners. We need a people who are idealistic, and optimistic, but grounded in practicality. And we need a mechanism to get everyone who has passion, great ideas and committed to helping build a nation. How else are we to enact change?

What do you think are the elements that need to form to crowdsource democracy? How do you think it should go? How do we engage each other, in a meaningful, serious, and significant way?

Image credit: “Hindi Dilaw” by Betty Abrantes, used with permission.

Cocoy Dayao

Cocoy is the Chief Technology Officer of Lab Rats Technica, a Digital Consulting company that specialises in DevOps, iOS, and Web Apps, E-Commerce sites, Cybersecurity and Social Media consulting. He is a technology enthusiast, political junkie and social observer who enjoys a good cup of coffee, comic books, and tweets as @cocoy on twitter.

Cocoy is also the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the ProPinoy Project.

Cocoy considers himself to be Liberal.

  • J_ag

    I read this somewhere… Barbara Jordan the first black woman legislator in the Texas Assembly said in her first speech that for more than a century both blacks and women were not part of the “We the people”

    Democracy in theory means all (Adults) have a voice. In reality this is done through representative government.

    The reality about politics and democracy is political economy. From the Greeks to the present system in the West.

    From a centralized form to a more broad based participatory system.

    The Phils is facing years of still to happen development in its political economy.

    The heart of the simplistic wang wang culture or the culture of entitlement is the economic system on which this feudal culture thrives.

    Someone should tell Pres. Noynoy “Wang Wang” Aquino that he should look around his clan and the ruling clans that rule this country.

    The idea of nationhood must come from them as they hold the reins of power. But it is their backwardness and utter failure to understand what it will take to develop the country.

    The We the People drive is simply an empty slogan.

    • Bert

      Barbara Jordan was talking political insecurity and hogwash. Women are women, and blacks are blacks then and now, and forever, and have their own places in the scheme of things and human existence as do men, and any others in between.

      As do other living species.

      Nobody is special and everybody is special. But that’s just me talking hogwash, too.

  • I presume your questions are not rhetorical. Step 1 is to enlighten people how important it is to act on behalf of others, rather than only for self. Step 2 is to instill the discipline of thinking strategically rather than transactionally, and to put down the measurable benchmarks that will orient action toward specific achievements and away from things that are simply easy. Step 3 is to accept responsibility for results.

    • Cocoy

      Joe, yes to all three.

  • GabbyD

    did u know kahel is filipino for orange?

    i wonder if this goes for the fruit also?

  • Niña Terol-Zialcita

    Great post, Coy! I’ll be sharing!

    • Cocoy


  • Bert

    Whiners we can’t do anything about because it’s a personal trait. Detractors, well, more so, because it’s a personal objective—to detract.

    • Cocoy

      Well, yes. I’m still finding out that winning formula to filter all the noise, and get that diamond in the rough.

    • UP nn Grad

      a solution gainst whiners is barkada-system. Critique the idol of a barkada and they call you whiner — critique the enemy of the barkada and you are enlightened, di ba?