Heike Hermann: The promises of digital political communication and the reality in South Korea
While South Koreans are frequent users of social media, politicians have not yet embraced these communication channels to engage with citizens. The most popular digital communication tool is Kakao Talk, which is used by 37 million users. Kakao Talk provides closed space for communication. Facebook and Twitter are public social media and popular in Korea, but politicians are only followed by a few numbers of people. A quarter of politicians on public social media is not or not very active. Most items posted are news items often about the politicians themselves and the posts are often not about policy. 3/4 of politicians do not respond to comments, hence politicians don’t really engage with citizens via Facebook. Most politicians have a Twitter account and two thirds actually use it. However, only 10 percent of politicians have more than 15000 followers which is not a lot considering the Korean population. Twitter is mainly used for engagement with news agents and similar.
Dal Yong Jin: Understanding of Smartphone Divide: From Digital Divide to Digital Inclusion in the Smartphone Era
Over the last 20 years, Korea had great development in the ICT infrastructure. It was expected that smartphones would bridge the social and digital divide, but it has not quite been up to expectations. There are two major problems in the discourse of the digital divide: (1) Inequality in physical access to the technology and (2) the knowledge to use ICT effectively. Koreans must spend among the most money on communications. While the first divide will disappear in the future, the second divide – usage skills – is systematic and structural problem.
Ben Huffman: E-Participation in the Governance Process: Redefining its Worth and Modality
Focus of the talk is the Philippines that made good progress in the global e-participation index. Physical access is a core factor in these rankings, but capability to make use of the access is almost equally important. In the Philippines, free internet access is facilitated to make use of governmental services. The e-government services are provided in English, but this is language barrier, as there are 2 national languages and 8 dialects in the Philippines. The e-government service might also intend to train English of the citizens, which should be realised differently. Other barriers are the need to login in at some public access points, as not all that have access to an interne access point have login data.
Robert Krimmer: Internet Voting: Elections in the (European) Cloud
Estonia is often narrowed down to e-stonia as they have implemented and use many electronic services. The talk discusses, why do some countries use e-voting and why do some countries not use e-voting? The use of technology and innovations in voting processes happens already in ancient Greece and Rome, and the use of paper ballots is also use of technology that was not there before. Casting votes in parliaments often happens with the use of electronic devices nowadays. By using the electronic voting you change the electorate, as people from elsewhere can participate. Especially for citizens that are abroad, voting ins difficult, as they can go to embassy or send their ballot via mail (which is getting slower). Internet voting is not about democracy but it is a service to make citizens participate in elections.