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Open Recommendation

Social Media in Rulemaking

Summary

Social media offers new opportunities for engaging the public. ACUS is working on recommendations about social media in rulemaking, based on a Consultant's Report by Professor Michael Herz of Cardozo School of Law. You can follow, and be part of, this process here.

An initial draft of the recommendations was open for public discussion until November 6, when the Committee on Rulemaking considered possible changes. This meeting produced a revised draft. You'll able to review and discuss Committee Draft 2 here until the Committee's next meeting on November 13. All the Committee's changes will be in the Plenary Draft, to be debated at the 59th ACUS Plenary Session on December 5. You'll be able to review and discuss the Plenary Draft here until November 27 . Comments and discussion on RecommendationRoom will be part of what ACUS considers when deciding to adopt final recommendations, along with comments submitted to ACUS on their project page.

Committee Draft 1 Public Outreach - 7

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Subtopics

1|Broadening opportunities - 3

Proposal

1. As part of the rulemaking process, agencies should explore the use of social media, online platforms that enable broad opportunities for public consultation, discussion, and engagement.

Read the relevant part of the Consultant's Report: The Promise of Web 2.0; Social Media and The Appeal of Social Media for Rulemaking

Comments3

This recommendation goes beyond "public outreach"; it is a general endorsement of the use of social media in rulemaking so should stand alone before the other sections, or possibly in its own section, called "In General" or something like that.

Or perhaps it should be made more specific.

I agree. "Social media" is a huge range of tools (check out the mouse over glossary definition) There are several places in the recommendations where being more specific about the kinds of tools (e.g., social networking vs. discussion) would be useful.

2|Reaching new audiences - 1

Proposal

2. Agencies should use social media to inform the public about agency activities, the rulemaking process in general, and specific rulemakings. Agencies should take an expansive approach to alerting potential participants to upcoming rulemakings, posting to the agency website and sending notifications through multiple social media channels. Social media may provide a more effective means to reach interested persons that have traditionally been underrepresented in the rulemaking process.

Read the relevant part of the Consultant's Report: Current and Potential Uses of Social Media in Rulemaking and Outreach

Comments1

Social media messages should also be coordinated and integrated across platforms, linking back to the agency's website or blog as well as more traditional media outreach and events.

3|Message content that alerts and engages those new to the rulemaking process - 1

Proposal

3. Agencies should recognize that raising awareness among missing stakeholders (those directly affected by the proposed rule who are historically unlikely to participate in the conventional comment process) and other potential new participants in the rulemaking process will require new outreach strategies beyond simply giving notice in the Federal Register, regulations.gov, and the agency web site. Thus, agencies should:

a. Develop a communications plan specifically tailored to the rule and to the types of missing stakeholders or other potential new participants the agency is trying to engage.

b. In outreach messages, clearly explain the mechanisms through which members of the public can participate in the rulemaking, what the role of public comments is, and how the agency will take comments into account.

c. To motivate action, be clear and specific about how the proposed rule would affect the targeted participants.

d. Ask organizations to pass on the participation message to members or followers, while: (i) discouraging mass comments; and (ii) recognizing that these organizations may need to be persuaded that such individual participation will benefit organizational interests.

Read the relevant part of the Consultant's Report: Beyond the Usual Suspects and Regulation Room

Comments1

"mass comments" might be unclear to some.
How about "discouraging solicitation of large numbers of duplicate, or near-duplicate, comments" ?

4|Teaching effective participation skills - 2

Proposal

4. The General Services Administration, the e-Rulemaking Program Management Office, and other federal agencies, either individually or (preferably) collaboratively, should use social media to create and distribute more robust educational programs about rulemaking. These efforts could include: producing videos about the rulemaking process and how to effectively participate through commenting and posting on an agency website or video-sharing website; hosting webinars in which agency personnel discuss how to draft useful and helpful comments; maintaining an online database of exemplary rulemaking comments; or conducting an online class in which officials review a draft comment and suggest ways to improve it.

Read the relevant part of the Consultant's Report: Education for Effective Commenting

Comments2

Perhaps add "or webinar" after "online class"?

Powerpoint slides are also an effective information-conveying medium for many people.
A bit old-school, but putting them online on a site like Slideshare makes this appropriate for a recommendation on using social media.

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