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Italy’s Wiki Mayor

Social media played a huge role in the collaborative ncampaign that led Giuliano Pisapia to being elected mayor of Milan. Now he says it will also help ensure he doesn’t sell out.

What’s the Latest Development?

Social media, Twitter in particular, played a key role in the very collaborative campaign that saw Giuliano Pisapia elected mayor of Milan. But the collaboration between Pisapia the candidate and his supporters did not end with that. The first message that Pisapia the mayor delivered to the city was “Don’t leave me alone”. When a journalist asked him how he would deal with the inevitable pressure of interest groups he serenely replied: “There are hundreds of thousands of Milanese out there that are not going to let me sell out.” Pisapia believes in the wisdom of ‘his’ crowd. In this sense, he is a real wiki leader.

What’s the Big Idea?

The 140 characters of Twitter are hardly suited to designing policy but a threshold has been crossed: some of the mayor’s supporters are migrating from (partisan) cyberactivism to (nonpartisan) collaboration with a city institution. “If the new Milan administration plays its cards right, it could give rise to a world class participation experience, in which citizens not only contribute to policy design, but to policy delivery as well. I recommend it goes for it: wiki government is very efficient, and not nearly as disruptive as it sounds.”


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