As a proponent of using technology to advance all my favorite activities, I was happy to read about Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee member Donald Scarinci was tweeting about the last CCAC meeting in Philadelphia. The posts on his Twitter account (@Scarinci) made for an interesting read as to what was discussed at the meeting.
If you are unfamiliar with Twitter, I recommend that you read my previous blogpost about the service.
A few days after the meeting, I heard from Scarinci via email who said that he had been studying Twitter for a few months before deciding to use the service. This is understandable because for the uninitiated, Twitter can be confusing. Scarinci, whose interests include law, numismatics, and art, decided to try Twitter to share his interest with others. “I decided to go forward with Twitter in order to communicate to people and at the same time make it worthwhile for people to follow. I didn’t want to focus just on law or just on numismatics or just on art,” Scarinci wrote. “I wanted to show myself as a full multidimensional person—opinionated, insightful, diverse, sensitive, at times insensitive. If used thoughtfully, twitter will allow me to display my personality and my interests as a mosaic rather than as a single static snapshot.”
What makes Scarinci’s perspective on using Twitter interesting is that it provides an insight into one member of the CCAC. Many of us never meet the CCAC members. Sometimes we hear them speak at various shows. But using Twitter as a way to allow us to meet him, at least virtually, allows us to understand at least one of the personalities making the selection on the coinage we care about.
When Scarinci contacted me, I said that I wish I would have known before the meeting because I would have followed his tweets. Since discovering his tweets, I have added @Scarinci to my list of followers on both the account that I use with this blog (@coinsblog) and my personal account. Although it was difficult to be one his followers when he tweeted he went to Katz Deli in Manhattan the other day (stop thinking of their corned beef… it’s the best!).
After a recent online and public “discussion” with CCAC member Gary Marks about the lack of communications from the CCAC, it was refreshing to hear from Donald Scarinci with a very different and positive attitude on communication with the public. Scarinci wrote:
Reporting from the CCAC meeting as it was happening is something I always thought should be done. I never understood and still don’t understand why the Mint does not web cast the CCAC meetings. We are, after all, a citizens committee. Each one of us on the committee has different perspectives and different levels of knowledge about numismatics and about art. The CCAC is very much as congress intended it to be—a peoples’ committee. While imperfect, it is probably the only way to debate and decide coinage designs in a democracy. So why not bring people in as the discussion unfolds and involve anyone who has an interest into the very core of the process. Twitter allows that to happen in real time without attaching people to a viewing screen for hours at a time. Instead anyone interested in the subject can get information in brief sentences. If the writing is clear and simple, the communication will work for busy people with day jobs even better than a web cam. That’s my opinion.
I applaud Scarinci’s initiative and appreciate his efforts. I hope the concept of using modern communication techniques can be institutionalized by the CCAC and the US Mint and expanded to include more citizens in the process. Scarinci will be tweeting during future meetings. I will be following those updates (@Scarinci) and suggest anyone interested in the work of the CCAC to follow, too.