Facebook and Diaspora VoteazăThe uses and effectiveness of Facebook in introducing Internet voting to the Romanian diaspora
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Facebook and Diaspora Votează The uses and effectiveness of Facebook in introducing Internet voting to the Romanian diaspora

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Nenciulescu Oana, Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds, UK ...

Nenciulescu Oana, Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds, UK

“How does Facebook provide an opportunity for the Romanian diaspora to impact the introduction of electronic voting?”

The paper seeks to investigate how Facebook is used by the Romanian diaspora to deliberate on and to impact the introduction of the electronic vote for Romanians abroad, as part of ‘Diaspora Votes’, an ongoing advocacy project initiated by an NGO connecting Romanians worldwide.
In order to assess the effectiveness of Facebook as a tool of inclusion of immigrants in the politics of the home country, interviews were carried out with the campaign organisers so that the initial intentions of using Facebook in the project were determined. Through interviews with the participants in the Facebook debate, the paper aims to find out the reasons of use and involvement in the project and also the level of trust participants have in social media as a tool for debating and impacting policy change. A content analysis of a debate event on Facebook assesses the way in which the Facebook infrastructure works in order to encourage debate and how participants make use of it, looking at the ways in which they communicate.
The paper also attempts to find out whether uniformity of social backgrounds and prior connections with Romanians abroad are reasons of involvement of immigrants in the Facebook activity of the project.

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Facebook and Diaspora Votează The uses and effectiveness of Facebook in introducing Internet voting to the Romanian diaspora Presentation Transcript

  • 1. International Joint Workshop onImmigrant Inclusion by e-participation 2-3.11.2011 University of Helsinki Oana Nenciulescu MA International Communications University of Leeds, UK Supervisor: Professor Stephen Coleman
  • 2. Facebook and Diaspora VoteazăThe uses and effectiveness of Facebook inintroducing Internet voting to the Romanian diaspora International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 3. • Introduction – Diaspora Votează project• Starting points• Research methods• Findings• Conclusions and further thoughts• Questions International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 4. Diaspora Votează project• Launched May 2010 by GRASP(Global Romanian Society of Young Professionals) NGO- ongoing project• Identify problems of the present voting system for the Romanian diaspora, create awareness about alternative methods• 15% of Romanian citizens are located abroad- only 1.39% voted in the 2009 presidential elections International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 5. Diaspora Votează project• After research, public consultations and internal debates- best option – Internet voting comparative study of voting mechanisms online questionnaires online petition (signed by 478 people) 17 offline debates- cities with large Romanian communities Facebook debate International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 6. Diaspora Votează project Policy paper presented November 2010- by research team+public policy experts Long term aim- advocate for a legislative proposal that would be adopted in the Parliament Advocacy phase starting soon Online presence: http://diasporavoteaza.org/ - official blog http://www.facebook.com/diasporavotes -official Facebook page http://www.mygrasp.org/ - official GRASP website International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 7. International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 8. Diaspora Votează project The project aims to ‘reconnect the Romanian diaspora to the public agenda and to strengthen democratic participation not only through the implementation of a mechanism that would facilitate voting, but also by bringing together Romanian citizens who understand they have the right and power to influence political decisions that affect them’. ‘Diaspora Votes’ Official Facebook Page 2011 International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 9. Starting pointsWhy choose to study the importance of Facebook in the project?• Inclusion of Romanian emigrants in the political decisions of the home country and all other Romanian citizens• Interactive factor- debates• Novelty of the project• Ongoing status- witness real time changes• Diasporas, social media and democratic participation• Facebook in an advocacy project International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 10. Starting points Platform for promotion Platform for debate Tool for policy change Diaspora inclusion International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 11. Research Methods• Semi structured interviews with the organisers of the project(communications coordinator, planning and implementation coordinator)• Semi-structured interviews with the participants to the Facebook debate event in October 2010• Content analysis of the Facebook debate event• Email exchanges with the moderator of the Facebook debate International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 12. FindingsInterviews with organisers Facebook use so far: create dialogues with Romanians worldwide find out problems and come up with solutions gather supporters know about the actual needs of the population make the debate more inclusive International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 13. Findings Interviews with organisersFacebook use so far: Facebook not used at its maximum potential until this phase of the project lack of experience of Romanians in using Facebook as a tool for activism + little openness of the political system towards social media spatial and temporal limits- online debate- affect enthusiasm and participation International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 14. FindingsInterviews with participants in the Facebook debate6 of the 19 participants in the debate were interviewed- all located abroadPrior belonging to networks or communities was importantNot a uniform diaspora- very different casesParticipation related to civic sense and to the need to have their sayHost country issues can become more important than the home country issues International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 15. FindingsContent analysis of the Facebook debate event & email exchanges with moderator Participation decreased after the first day -67 interventions in total • time difference • the ‘like’ feature Anyone could join, few spatial constraints Social norms respected, comprehensible information Lack of anonymity- more responsibility International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 16. FindingsContent analysis of the Facebook debate event & email exhanges with moderator No clustering of contributions Some questions remain unanswered( time difference) Casual, informal style sometimes( smiley faces) References to political parties- it’s made sure the project is apolitical by member of the board Easy editing of mistakes International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 17. Conclusions and further thoughtsInteraction-aims turned into uses- include, consult´- even though small scaleVariety of people included, not only the members of diaspora – inclusive and friendly spaceApolitical project- no affiliations- more inclusionSocial norms respected- inviting space International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 18. Conclusions and further thoughtsTechnological limitations- decreasing participation and consequently inclusion?Lack of experience as a country in connecting social media to activism and political change- impacts on inclusionHow much inclusion if networks and communities are so important? Or is that an advantage?The project is on going, is there a need for more diasporic inclusion? International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 19. Questions International Joint Workshop on Immigrant Inclusion by e-participation, 2-3.11.2011, University of Helsinki
  • 20. Thank you very much! Paljon kiitoksia!Vă mulţumesc foarte mult !