This post stems from yet another great talk on Ted, which as well as using the phrase “technosis externality clusterfuck” with reference to urban archictecture, also leaves you with the fantastic “don’t refer to yourself as a consumer, you are a citizen”
The point being that a consumer or customer is passive, they are served. A citizen has responsibilities as well as rights.
This idea appeals greatly and is highly relevent to what is happening in social media, with “consumers” wanting to become participants . However where it is most relevant is with council engagement.
I have heard several councils refer to their Constituents as Customers, no doubt there is some logic as the council provides a service. However it is a dangerous linguistic channel to follow. The Constituents are Citizens, but are sadly quickly forgetting it, a consumer led culture has allowed them to detach themselves from their social responsibilities and such language only serves to perpetuate this myth.
The Council should not merely serve the Consumer, it should work in partnership with the Citizen to achieve shared goals. Reducing society to a series of market segments, will not help it solve it’s problems, as Barnet Councils honest YouTube vision (hat tip to Dominic Campbell, FutureGov) highlights