The Digital Democracy

Elyse Yates

Sherri Greenberg

Sherri Greenberg
LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin

Elyse Yates
CEO, Influence Opinions

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Google Fiber Austin, 201 Colorado St.
Downtown Austin
5:15 p.m. – Doors and Bar Open
6:00 p.m. – Presentation, Q&A
7:00 p.m. – Reception
Free and open to the public

In the last several years, smart phones, email, websites and social media have changed information delivery significantly. Today, governments and officials at all levels — federal, state and local — are using social media to communicate with constituents and clients. And, government websites allow people to access documents, renew licenses and access data. 
In addition, political campaigns run at lightening speed in the digital age making Facebook pages a must and Twitter accounts essential to the news cycle. Some research even shows that people are more receptive to receiving political information via Twitter than any other source. Furthermore, the press uses social media to constantly monitor political campaigns with events unfolding in real-time enabling never ending coverage, for better or for worse. Today, campaigns obtain mountains of information about voters from their taste in food to taste in news. Campaigns use this information to micro-target messages that go straight to smart phones and mobile devices.
Social media and data usage by government officials has matured as a method of communicating with their constituents, but do new technologies really make a difference when it comes to governing and running political campaigns? Is the digital age really a game changer?


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Sherri Greenberg is a lecturer and Fellow of the Max Sherman Chair in State and Local Government. Her current teaching and research interests include: public finance and budgeting; public procurement and contracting; public pensions; online governance, transparency and civic engagement; campaigns and elections, state and local government; education and housing. Her recent publications are “Texas Financial Transparency: Open and Online”, “ Federal Lines of Business E-Government Initiatives: Progress and Effects”, “State E-Government Strategies: Identifying Best Practices and Applications” and “Beyond the Bid: An Evaluation of State and Local Government Procurement Practices.”

Greenberg served for 10 years as a member of the Texas House of Representatives, completing her final term in January 2001. In 1999, the Speaker of the House appointed her to chair the House Pensions and Investments Committee and to chair the Select Committee on Teacher Health Insurance. She served two terms on the House Appropriations Committee, and served on the Appropriations Committee’s Education, and Major Information Systems Subcommittees. Other committee assignments included the House Economic Development Committee, Elections Committee, and Science and Technology Committee.

As a public finance professional, Greenberg served as the Manager of Capital Finance for the City of Austin from 1985 to 1989, overseeing the City’s debt management, capital budgeting, and capital improvement programs. Prior to that she was a Public Finance Officer at Standard & Poor’s Corporation in New York, where she analyzed and assigned bond ratings to public projects across the country.

Professor Greenberg received an M.Sc. in Public Administration and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, she serves on the national board for the American Society for Public Administration and is a board member for the Section on Women in Public Administration, as well as a CenTex Chapter board member. Also, Greenberg is a board member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Austin and an appointed member of the City of Austin General Obligation Housing Bond Review Committee.
More on Sherri Greenberg

Elyse Yates is the founder and CEO of Influence Opinions™. She offers more than two decades of experience and expertise in arenas as diverse as politics, high-tech, public affairs, nonprofits and entertainment – not to mention clear big picture vision, incredible insight and strategies that work. She is driven by a natural inquisitiveness and genuine interest in people, media and messaging.

Prior to launching the firm, Elyse was a Managing Director for Public Strategies, Inc., the recognized leader in public perception management for Fortune 500 companies. During her tenure there, Elyse built an interactive business unit and a media relations division, managed the marketing and branding of the company, and led teams consulting for a broad spectrum of clients including: Perot Systems, the San Antonio Spurs, Schering Plough, Seton Healthcare Family and Southwest Airlines. Earlier in her career, Elyse was media relations specialist for IBM, where she helped found the IBM software Image Team and worked closely with media nationwide. Among her earlier political credentials, Yates served as deputy spokesperson for then-Governor Ann Richards and as associate director of the Texas Consumer Association.

Elyse has volunteered in leadership positions for many years, including serving as past board president for Planned Parenthood of Central Texas. She currently serves on the board for Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) and for The University of Texas’ School of Natural Science.