Governments and non-profits around the world are experimenting with social media as a site of civic engagement. Online public participation is a young field however, and little is known about the benefits or limitations of these projects. This Net Tuesday (Net Squared) presentation looks at the use of social media for activism and participation in government. Recently in Vancouver, Canada, hundreds of residents and commuters participated in a July 2011 Facebook conversation about the City of Vancouver’s Transportation Plan.
We use Facebook, a lot. 750M accounts. In Canada, 50% penetration. That’s 16.7 million user.In US, 38% of population
Activism is intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. includes radical and non-radical behaviours
Chile student protests
Gov 2.0 is a governing method that utilizes online, mobile and Internet-enhanced face-to-face techniques to offer communication between government, citizens and stakeholders. The intent is to increase transparency of operations, improve public participation, and inspire collaboration and innovation through better government openness, accountability, and effectiveness. These changes are fundamentally transforming the way government works, both internally and externally
That’s a lot of residents who’ve got valuable on the ground experience, expertise and willingness to help shape more responsive policy
Governments around the world are using interactive Internet technology to engage citizens in the design and execution of government services, an effort known as Gov 2.0City of Vancouver taking some bold approaches to engagement, this is one of a number of experiments that is part of the Greenest City process
Problem: but the rapidly changing nature of digital media together with limited research on online public participation means that little is known about the benefits or limitations of social media-based public engagement.
I partnered with the city to explore the use of Facebook as a site of civic engagement. Facebook-based public discussion about the City of Vancouver’s Transportation Plan, This study applied best practices of in-person public participation methods to online small group discussions hosted with a specially developed Facebook application.
Explore the viability (from citizen and government perspectives) of social media as a site of government-led public deliberation on sustainability policyAffordances of the tool / how does the Facebook deliberation application encourage or discourage participation?Does participation impact participant’s views of sustainability?Is it possible to host ‘serious’ thoughtful dialogue and deliberation in a social media context where there is a norm of ‘light’ engagement
500+ participants Vancouver area-residents and commutersVoluntary, targeted selection
Three simple tasks
Technology challenges are inevitable!
High levels of interest and satisfaction with the overall approach and location within FacebookParticipants’ views on benefits: at your own pace, wherever you areDrawbacks: too little time for complex discussions
Flexing Facebook's Civic Muscles
Image: EddSowden Susanna Haas Lyons Public Engagement Specialist Researcher, University of British Columbia firstname.lastname@example.org @zannalyonsNet Tuesday| Vancouver | Nov 2011 http://Engaging.ly
Can Facebook help us build astronger society? Activism Participation in Government
Idealware 2011 Facebook Survey500 non-profits’ view on benefits of their Facebook presence
What’s one example ofactivism on Facebook thatstands out to you, and why? Mobilize Organize Recruit Fundraise
How often do you normally use Facebook? 3.0% 11.3% Several times a day Several times a week 51.1% Several times a month34.6% Several times a year
Have used the Internet, your mobile phone or both to do any of the following in the past 12 months?Post on a social networking website US Internet Users, PewEmail someone about a government n=1676 policy or public issue City of Vancouver Internet Users, Mustell Join a group online that tries to n=428 influence government EVTF Participants, n=1 36 Post online about a government policy or public issue 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Participant Age City of Vancouver Public Meetings 19-24(written respondents) n=120 25-34 Facebook 35-44 Participants n=537 45-54 55-64 2006 Census, Vancouver 65+ 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Participant Gender70%60%50%40%30% Male Female20%10%0% Facebook COV Public Meetings COV Website Participants, n=537 (written respondents, n=239 resp.s), n=129
• This is all experimental • Take risks • Plan to learn from our #failsImage: Denn
5 Must-Dos for DigitalEngagement1. Ensure a value exchange2. Focus the discussion on a clear and compelling question3. Make it easy to participate at all levels of skill, time and interest4. Find and encourage early adopters5. Plan to learn from your #fails and #wins