Online comments in public hearing surpasses in-person

We like to talk about unprecedented change facilitated by technology, such as:

“E-mail is not a threat,” said USPS spokesperson Susan Brennan in a 2001 Wired article. “(Postal mail) is universal. The Internet is not.” In the US at that time, the postal mail system peaked, when 104 Million 1st Class letters were sent. Shortly thereafter E-mail became the dominant form of communication while postal number have fallen sharply and steadily since then.

Last night witnessed a watershed moment in public hearings: planning commissioners received more comments via than in-person. The planning commission case, a zoning ordinance amendment, received nearly double the comments on the website as compared to in the courtroom. Online views of the presentations continue to far outstrip in-person attendance as well.

Here’s the stats:

In-person attendance

Online video views (4/8 – 4/18)

Online visits (unique pageviews 4/8 – 4/18)

In-person comments

Online comments