SeeClickFix transforms the way you speak to your government

Now, imagine a world in which every resident feels empowered and can play an active role in their neighborhood. Imagine if everyone trusted and felt taken care of by their local government.
SeeClickFix.com, “How It Works”

One way the internet has become a significant force in our lives is by allowing unaffiliated volunteers to organize around projects without paying for traditional structures of management. Detailed in a book called Here Comes Everybody by internet theorist and NYU professor Clay Shirky, this ability to “casually organize” has manifested itself a myriad of ways. Some have been quirky — such as the infamous flash mob of frozen pedestrians in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal — but Connecticut startup SeeClickFix is attempting to parlay this organizational ability into a comprehensive tool to connect constituents more closely with the governments that are responsible for them.

SeeClickFix is a web application that allows users to highlight issues they want to see resolved in their communities. These highlighted issues can then be:

  1. Rallied around and commented on by other neighbors
  2. Responded to by governments
  3. Monitored by media outlets.

In this way, SeeClickFix ties all three members of a functioning democracy into a conversational ecosystem. Issues range from relatively harmless, with issue #69395 complaining about a “bad dog food smell” in Oklahoma City, to more concerning ones such as a “deathtrap” intersection in Wilmington, North Carolina, as highlighted by issue #69092.

SeeClickFix is at the vanguard of a movement known as Government 2.0, whose general goals are to increase transparency, accountability and efficiency of the government by increasing G2C (interaction between a government and its citizens) on digital mediums. One thoughtful aspect of SeeClickFix‘s design is their choice to keep the term “community” undefined, thereby allowing hyper customization for anybody in the ecosystem.

That way, the “neighborhood” that I have set up to be alerted about could be as small as the East Village in New York, or as large as the entire New England area. One could even potentially create a completely new virtual neighborhood comprising of the area around my grandparents’ house in New Delhi, and Northridge, CA where my parents live—allowing me to stay on top of civic issues that affect the people I love the most.

With good design, an intuitive process, and even a point system to encourage civic activity amongst users, SeeClickFix has the potential to become a de facto rallying point for community issues of any size. That being said, like most internet applications, SeeClickFix will not be relevant unless it is adopted by a critical mass of users. The more people like you and me who are willing to take action in our communities by reporting new issues and supporting existing ones, the more coverage media outlets will give SeeClickFix issues, and the more pressure will be put on governing bodies to engage in dialogue and take action.

So far the progress looks encouraging—communities all across the US are participating in this system and taking civic improvement into their own hands. However, I did notice several issues just within my own  neighborhood that had been closed unsuccessfully due to a lack of progress. If SeeClickFix grows as planned, the next time you veer to avoid a dangerously large pothole anywhere in the world, the solution could be just a click away.

Photo credit: Via Flickr by Extra Ketchup

49 comments

Joanne p.
Joanne p2 years ago

ty

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Beverly C.
Cathy K8 years ago

A GREAT IDEA! Hope it's workable on a large scale.

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Bee ZZ
Past Member 8 years ago

Very Good article! Thanking...!

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patricia m lasek
patricia lasek8 years ago

I tried it. No info for my area. Needs some work.

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Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman8 years ago

Noted, thanx

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Kunal A.
Past Member 8 years ago

Sounds like a good idea. Although I don't see it working in countries/ cities where accountability is non-existent, such as India.

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Claudia McCall
Claudia McCall8 years ago

Sounds great, till the corporatists have their way with it at least.

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David N.
David N8 years ago

Thanks for the article. Sounds like a good idea.

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Chinmayee Jog
Chinmayee Jog8 years ago

What a fantastic idea, very impressive :) It'll be a great tool for change, and the government will become more aware of what kinds of non-urgent problems its citizens are having.

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Marti Williams
Marti Williams8 years ago

Noted...sounds great...

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