The Electronic Journal of e-Government publishes perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-Government

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Journal Article

e‑Participation and Governance: Widening the net  pp39-48

Lee Komito

© Jul 2005 Volume 3 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 58

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Abstract

As a solution to declining political and civic participation, many governments are seeking to increase the number of citizens who participate in policy‑making and governance. Contrary to early expectations, recent research suggests that new information and communications technologies (ICTs) may not increase participation rates in formal organisations, and so may not improve participation rates. The Mobhaile project in Ireland is an example of a local government initiative which combines service provision ('e‑government') functions and facilities for voluntary, community and business organisations that enhance social capital in local communities, while also enabling civic participation functions ('e‑ governance'), in a single web‑based geographical interface. Such projects enable citizens to access government services and encourages them, as part of this process, to also participate in local activities that build social capital in the community. The resulting mix can be an effective basis for greater political and civic participation.

 

Keywords: eInclusion, eParticipation, community politics, Ireland, governance, social capital

 

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Journal Article

Government as Part of the Revolution: Using Social Media to Achieve Public Goals  pp134-146

David Landsbergen

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEG Conference Issue, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp83 - 235

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Abstract

Social media is growing rapidly because it supports some important social needs. Government will need to understand how social media support these social needs if government is to use social media well. Social media supports the increased reliance on human networks, the need for rapid interactive communications, the need to blur what is private and public, and the need for engaging multimedia. Whether government can use social media will depend upon how well government can see, understand, and attend to these needs. Can government move from hierarchical, controlled communications to where it is just an (important) node within a network? Social media is about fast, interactive communications. How will bureaucracies adapt to the increased pressures for timely responses? Social media, therefore, presents novel and challenging strategic, policy, and managerial issues for many US governments. This paper reports on an environmental scan of the important issues facing US governments and the creative ways in which they are adapting to the challenges. This is supplemented by an in‑depth participant‑observation study of the use of social media by several departments within the City of Columbus, State of Ohio, USA. Proponents of social media, like those of the early days of the Internet, are wildly enthusiastic about how much social media can do to improve government. Claims are made that this technology is paradigm‑shifting, like the printing press, which put knowledge into the hands of the ordinary person. Given the many policy and managerial issues yet to be resolved, it is clear that there is no technology imperative that will necessarily drive government to become more democratic. Early web government pages could have been made more interactive, yet they primarily took on the task of broadcasting a one way instead of a two way flow of information. There is no reason to believe that Twitter would not follow the same path. It could easily become an application whose only benefit is in more quickly broadcasting information to a mobile phone. A better way to think about social media is that it merely provides a small window of opportunity, which for a short period of time, allows government to comprehensively reexamine how it does things, and thereby, provides the opportunity to change policies and procedures in a way that improves government. Governments typically ask how can we adapt social media to the way in which we do business? A very different question is how can social media provide us a way to do things in way that we have not done before? The question that is asked will determine whether a revolution will actually place.

 

Keywords: social media, Gov 2.0, e-governance, eGovernment, social capital

 

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