Haley Van Dyck is a 24-year-old with a big job at the Federal Communications Commission: finding new ways to communicate better using technology. Serving as director of citizen engagement for the FCC’s "new-media" team, she is the driving force behind the freshly unveiled online Consumer Help Center, an update to the FCC's outdated website.
The changes are the result of President Barack Obama’s open government directive and an independent initiative of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, according to Politico. Van Dyck claims that these changes mark the beginning of "a consumer-centric focus” on the part of the FCC.
For the last 12 months the new-media team (comprised of six "specialists" has been trying to present all of the FCC's projects in an accessible, easy-to-digest way using all kinds of technology a social messaging including tweets, podcasts, blogs and crowd-sourcing platforms.
In addition to their efforts in areas we've already mentioned, Van Dyck and her team have been rolling out websites that support the FCC's positions on a variety of issues including Broadband.gov (focuses on the National Broadband Plan) and sites that solicit the public’s opinions like OpenInternet.gov, and Reboot.FCC.gov.
The changes to the FCC website are also a placeholder for a more robust redesign slated to go live at the end of the year.
"Communication is our middle name at the FCC, and we want our agency to be at the forefront of embracing new forms of communication and public engagement," Van Dyck tells Politico.
"Creating more avenues for citizen participation in government is one of the most important and exciting elements of my job," she added. "By lowering the barriers to participation, we can bring more diversity to the voices in Washington."
Now if the FCC could just stop entertaining lobbyists in secret meetings, many good and reasonable citizens might be more likely to embrace Van Dyk's proclamation that "Communication is our middle name at the FCC." Sure, it's true in the literal sense, but sometimes not in practice.