E-Participating Online

Innovation, Interaction, Mass Collaboration. These three words and government are not what you would imagine flow together. Times are quickly changing. People are logging online to interact, voice their opinion and connect with others. Government needs to advance alongside the times in order to get a jump-start on the new generation and improve interaction between citizens. By increasingly connecting with its citizens, a government can gain ideas, increase participation, and help make its locality a better place. According to Tapscott and Williams (2006), “’We the People’ is no longer just a political expression – a hopeful ode to the power of the ‘masses’; it’s also an apt description of how ordinary people as employees, consumers, community members and taxpayers now have the power to innovate and to create value on the global stag.” (p. 14-15)

The paper explores the following areas:
• Efficiency: With a successful e-government plan, there is a greater ability to save money and time.
• Crowdsourcing could be used to grasp ideas from citizens as well to earn feedback on various programs. Wikis would be a great example of a way to gain knowledge from crowds.
• A city wikipage can give citizens the option of giving their praises and gripes for various aspects of the city as well as helping improve tourism.
• Mass collaboration will help aid citizens in disaster situations.
• City governments can have citizens vote on various issues either online or through text to encourage an increase in participation.
• Using Social Media tools such as Facebook or Twitter can help cities identify areas that need fixing. Citizens can participate with a tool as simple as a cell phone by having

Critics have responded to these ideas stating they do not believe they will increase participation and it excludes people who do not have access to technology. In reality, tools such as the ones abovementioned help improve efficiency and effectiveness.

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11 comments

  1. Joe West · · Reply

    Your paper touches on a fairly large number of topics. I’m not sure I could have pulled all of that together in a single paper, but perhaps I’m extremely verbose. Did you have an extensive response to the critics in your paper? I see that you refuted their argument, but I’m wondering what evidence you cited. I look forward to reading your actual paper.

    Joe

  2. The idea of connecting politcial particpation with ePA technologies is very relevant for the purposes of this course; my paper also looked at this area. I liked your point about adding in mass participation for disaster preparation and recovery efforts- this matches the construct that the Kiva founder addressed in people reaching out to help each other. I think that in order for this effort to be successful in government, there should be a structure provided to agencies to use as a model (though not a requirement). By giving examples, communication with the public can be facilitated without making agencies build and interactive program from scratch. Great paper!

  3. Hi Jen – First, I really liked the way you laid out your paper. It made it easy to digest. It’s a broad topic and I liked how you called out some specific ideas that would touch upon the broader ideas…Getting participation from the public, in government efforts, is so important. I think that anything we can do to increase participation is worthy of a closer look and some of the ideas you have area great start! 🙂

  4. Casey Seidman · · Reply

    This idea seems strong; however I have to wonder if it advances any new ideas? A lot of research has been done before on this topic. I am just hoping that in your final paper you discuss something different than what is already out there.

  5. I like how your paper brought in such a broad topic and tied it all together. The idea of using mass colaboration is also a very good idea, and could help organize volunteers much better. Also, I would be interested in reading your responce you mentioned to critiques of these ideas.

    Cassie

  6. I do like the topic of the paper, however I feel as I did not get a feel about what exactly you talked about and how you suggested that eparticipation and using technology can improve efficiency and effectiveness. I think I would have a better idea reading your whole paper.

  7. I really like the topic of your paper, however, I would have liked to know how communities or government could increase participation in these areas that you mentioned. Just expanding a little bit more on the topics would have been great, just so that I could get a better understanding of your topics and how they were implemented.

  8. Jenna Roundy · · Reply

    The internet has no doubt made it easier for people to voice their opinion, interact with people all across the globe, and participate in collaborative projects and research. I love the quote you used, “We the People’ is no longer just a political expression – a hopeful ode to the power of the ‘masses’”. I think you provided an excellent overview of the topic and organized it in a very straightforward manner. I like how you provided a section of areas the paper explored with short descriptions of those topics. It sounds like you put a lot of effort and research into the topic and produced a great paper on the topic of online eParticipation.

  9. Starla Ipson · · Reply

    Jen, interesting ideas. I think we’ve discussed these at length in some of the other classes we’ve been in together. Like I’ve said on other postings in this class, I think the government has not so far done a great job of utilizing the tools out there via the Internet. You cover a ton of topics within the larger topic … i would love to read your paper.

  10. This paper seems like quite the undertaking. Your topic headings are interesting, but I am curious to know what specifically you found in each of the six heading areas? Are any od the six areas currently being used, and if so, have they been failures or success? I woudl be interested in seeing your full paper.

  11. Melisa Tarango · · Reply

    Your subject matter is something taking off for many city governments – I enjoy watching/following the evolution.
    Getting the public – all people – including the citizens with limited access to technology to participate in this way is a challenge, perhaps a campaign to give all citizens access and information of how to utilize technology. We take for granted that everyone is familiar with computers, PDAs, texting, etc.
    Your topic is super relevant to what we discussed all semester – I enjoyed it very much and would love to read paper.

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