Research Papers II, Day 1

Yannis Charalabidis: Social Media in Policy Making: the EU Community project approach

Abstract: Policy networks are highly important for the formulation and implementation of public policies, so it is quite valuable to exploit modern ICT in order to support them. This paper presents a novel method of supporting the large policy network of the European Union (EU), which consists of numerous actors geographically dispersed all over Europe, through advanced social media exploitation, in order to improve the quantity and quality of their interaction, and increase efficiency and effectiveness. Based on a series of workshops, in which a large number of individuals involved in EU policy network participated, initially its structure has been analyzed, and then the proposed method has been formulated. Furthermore, the architecture of the ICT infrastructure required for the application of this method has been designed. The main pillars of the proposed method (corresponding also to the main modules of its ICT infrastructure) are: profiling of important EU policy actors’ and reputation management, relevant documents’ storage and relevance rating, and finally advanced visualized presentation of them.

 

John Sinclair: The role of e-governance and social media in creating platforms for meaningful participation in environmental assessment

Abstract: EA is now carried out in over a hundred countries worldwide and has deep roots in many nations. Critical to its evolution has been the advent of more meaningful processes for participation. The use of the Internet as a tool of participation, as well as the scope and ambition of EA, has been growing since their inception. This work explores the evolution in the use of e-governance and social media in EA and thereby its potential contribution to meaningful public participation, through considering the literature and case studies in Hong Kong and Canada. The cases and literature revealed that e-governance in EA is being almost exclusively used for sharing information and not for generating dialogue. Social media is being used primarily by participants in EA cases to share information, but is also being used to organize themselves and their input to EA cases. In addition, we found the innovative use of virtual cloud environments for collaboration and the establishment of one of the first websites for starting, signing and submitting public petitions with a focus on the local environment. Suggestions are made regarding how to better connect the rise in e-participation and conventional EA public participation.

 

Alois Paulin: Redefining Digital Government – Reaching beyond Myths, Unsustainability and the Digital Divide

Abstract: In this article we aim to define a subject-centered perspective on digital government utility and propose research considerations how to address such perspective. Base on a case study of Slovenia we summarize arguments why in our view digital government research and development endeavors so far missed to utilize the potential of ICTs for generating sustainable change to the government of juropolitical societies and argue for a system that would utilize ICTs for building towards a governance system that was never ever possible in human history so far.

 

Sanju Menon A Value-based Design Approach for Online Deliberation

Abstract: This paper presents a theory-driven approach for the design of online deliberation platforms. We start with a brief overview of recent trends in deliberative research, capturing in particular 5 salient values of deliberative democracy namely- Impartial accessibility, Reasonable discourse, Epistemic value, Binding Decisions and Dynamicity. These deliberative values will then be used to review the effectiveness of current online deliberation approaches. We then explicate the challenges involved in such value-based design for deliberation and propose our own set of 11 design approaches that can help improve the legitimacy of online deliberative processes.

 

Lotta Westerberg: Social Media and Change Agents in Iran Perspectives from Tehran and Baluchistan

Abstract: Most research on the use of social media in authoritarian regimes do not go beyond classifying the country as authoritarian and does not consider continuous forms of collective action (e.g. voting). This study fills this gap by embedding long-term macro- and microanalyses. Through in-depth interviews with change agents in two distinct regions in Iran it highlights that it is not only the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ that impact the potential for using social media for political mobilization in authoritarian regimes, but also the ‘who.’

 

Pauline Leong: Political Communication in Malaysia: A Study on the Use of New Media in Politics

Abstract: To gain and retain political power, politicians use the media to persuade the masses to vote and support them, especially during elections. Barisan Nasional (BN) has successfully used the media to maintain its power for the past 57 years, making it the longest-serving elected government in the world still currently in office. But the emergence of the Internet has challenged the status quo. The purpose of the research was to investigate how new media has influenced the political process and communication strategies in Malaysia and its impact on the political landscape. The researcher interviewed 19 respondents: politicians, bloggers and media consultants from both sides of the political divide. The findings showed that new media, especially Web 2.0, has expanded the public sphere and enabled more Malaysians to participate in the democratic process – through information dissemination, mobilization or crowd-sourcing. However, the cyber-war between BN and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has caused confusion and disinformation – affecting the quality of democratic decision-making. Nevertheless, new media has enabled more voices to emerge and challenge the political hegemony. Communication is increasingly two-way, with the public expecting greater engagement and interactivity with their political representatives.

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