March 27, 2008
CHARLOTTE, NC -- Imagine – another way to interact with Mecklenburg County government while wearing your bathrobe, in the middle of the night … or any other time. It's now completely possible, thanks to MecklenBlog (
MecklenBlog is an easy-to-remember moniker for the more official-sounding "Mecklenburg County Government Web Log." It's all part of a pilot project being tested through a joint venture of Mecklenburg County and The Lee Institute. The Lee Institute is a nonprofit organization that serves people, organizations, and the community through leadership development, design and management of collaborative projects, support of community collaboration, and citizen involvement.
The goal of the pilot project – called MeckConnect – is to find out what motivates people to become engaged and involved as owners of their community and their local government.
"The Board of County Commissioners is seeking enhanced citizen involvement," said Mecklenburg County General Manager, John McGillicuddy. "We're looking for new and innovative approaches to engage people in ways that are meaningful to them. One avenue we're testing is interactive social networking tools on the Internet, such as weblogs."
In addition to providing links to information on County services and commentary, MecklenBlog is posing questions to see what, if anything, people have to say about public involvement. Readers may comment as they wish, or can propose a new topic or question. A member of County staff serving as moderator will respond as needed. However, the main objective is to learn from those who access MecklenBlog.
"We want to find out what makes people get involved and what stands in their way," said Lee Institute Executive Director Anne Udall. "In particular, we want to find out what their local government should and should not do to help people become more engaged in civic matters."
Public input from this pilot will be used by County leadership to develop comprehensive goals, strategies and initiatives for sustainable public involvement efforts, consistent with the Board's goals for citizen involvement.
Funding for the MeckConnect pilot project is provided to The Lee Institute by the Foundation for the Carolinas, Knight Foundation, and Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Mecklenburg County is providing in-kind support including staff time. MecklenBlog, which went online February 27, 2008, is hosted offsite at no cost to taxpayers.
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Media Contact: Bill Carroll, 704-432-0362 or
or Pat Martin, Lee Institute, at 704-714-4448