By: Giselle General
In this day and age, thanks to technology and social media, it seems to be very easy to share one’s thoughts and opinions.
This is a quick review of one of the ways I try to get involved in the community, through the power of technology, and why it is worth considering.
I would describe the Insight Community (weblink is https://www.edmonton.ca/programs_services/public_engagement/edmonton-insight-community.aspx) as an online questionnaire program run by the City of Edmonton. Every month, if you have subscribed, you will receive an email with a link to a survey, that answers questions on different topics that the City works on.
How Does it Work?
It’s an easy process. Anyone interested can go to the link and create an account which asks demographics related questions. And then once a month, an email arrives in your mailbox with the survey for the month, what topics it covers, and the deadline.
Why do I do this?
It’s relatively straightforward and easy. I also sometimes feel like I only find out about city issues or changes in programs, bylaws and procedures after the fact. When the shovels are on the ground for that infrastructure change, or the brochures and set and the staff has been hired for a program, it can be more difficult to tweak things around. Since the Insight Community Surveys are part of the public engagement process that city staff need to do, I feel like I am getting an advanced preview of what they are working on. It is also a great opportunity to learn about what is going on outside of my immediate neighbourhood, since sometimes there are also questions about upcoming city-wide infrastructure projects.
Some concerns I hear about the survey is the allegation that it is deliberately self-affirming. Another concern is that allegation that people who may not necessarily know about a topic are giving their opinions on it.
That being said, I personally try not to stress about these parts since it is something I cannot control, and I feel like there are adequate opportunities in the questions to provide written answers. If there is something that I really feel passionate about that is either not covered by a the current survey or that the survey cannot convey my opinions about it, I know that I can contact my elected representative though an email, letter, or phone call. Some lucky constituents may even have an elected representative who is also active on social media, and in that case they can be contacted that way as well.
So, go subscribe and spend a few minutes every month learning about the city and sharing your input! At least for me, these few minutes feel so productive, a time away from browsing for too long on social media, haha!