What is democracy for?

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what is democracy for?You can try out mobile messaging before, during and after this year’s Notwestminster.

Have a think about this question:

“What is democracy for?”


Send a text starting with NOTWM
then your thoughts
to 07786 205 227

(it only costs the same as texting your friend’s phone)

You’ll get a reply with a link to read other people’s answers.
It’s public but anonymous, so you can be as honest as you like.


Help us to share our text experiment

Please print out a few copies of these instructions and leave them in a cafe, a pub or anywhere else where you live.

Print these instructions on A5 paper (PDF)

Print these instructions on A4 paper, two copies per sheet (PDF)


Where did the question come from?

Our question was asked by Anthony Zacharzewski,
as part of the evidence he gave to the
Kirklees Democracy Commission.

Why use mobile messaging?

Participation using mobile messaging has a different feel to participation using social media. On social media we are performing and managing our identities for an audience, often a complicated mix of work, interest-group and personal contacts.

Mobile messaging is often for an audience of one, and we only communicate with a small group of contacts by messaging. This means that when mobile messaging is used as a way for people to take part in civic conversations, it feels anonymous.

This can be very helpful for encouraging heartfelt contributions and for welcoming people who are less confident about speaking up in meetings.

Two councillors in Camden used text messages to try and involve more people in a participatory budgeting process as long ago as 2008.

This is one of the messages they received:

“We are 6 mums and we’d like to plead with you about giving the Winch Project funds so it could carry on the wonderful activities for the children. Please as it is the only chance for all low income families. Please.”

One of the councillors involved said afterwards:

“Using texting definitely led to a net increase in participation in the democratic process. It probably almost doubled the participation in the local area forum vote.”

Thumbprint Camden


Thumbprint - share local knowledge by text message

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