Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Ways Of Consulting The Public

My colleague Jim McNamara of the the University of Technology Sydney is doing more research on government and social media. This follows his research on the use of social media in the 2007 Australian Election. Jim's research is always spot on, so watch this space.

The information below is taken from directly from Jim's recent blog post.

Twelve months on from the Australian Federal election and a landmark online campaign, Kevin07, in which the Rudd Labor Government made much of using Web 2.0 for public consultation, how is the government performing in e-democracy?

This is the question being asked in a follow-up to the 2007 Australian Federal election research study reported on this site. A group of researchers from the University of Technology Sydney are investigating which Federal Government departments and agencies are using Web 2.0 tools for public consultation - and how they are being used.

The research is also looking at international experiences in the US, UK, Canada and other countries where what is variously called e-government, e-democracy, cyberdemocracy and a host of other terms is being attempted.

One thing to emerge early in the research is that electronic delivery of information and services needs to be separated from online consultation. Many governments worldwide have made considerable progress in online delivery of information and services ranging from e-tax returns and online passport applications to electronic payment of fines.

However, use of the interactive capabilities of Web 2.0 for consultation and civic engagement is much less in evidence - and practice lags behind the rhetoric.

The research study will be reported early in 2009 in papers submitted to political science and communication journals and in an upcoming book hopefully.

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