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Models of Government Blogging

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Information about Models of Government Blogging

Published on June 30, 2007

Author: manuel.perez

Source: slideshare.net

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Presentation of paper at Communities and Technologies 2007
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Models of Government Blogging: Design Tradeoffs in Civic Engagement Andrea Kavanaugh Hyung Nam Kim Manuel A. Pérez-Quiñones* Philip Isenhour Center for Human-Computer Interaction Virginia Tech *presenter

Blog Use in Government • Case study of the of a blog in the Town of Blacksburg • Situate its use within the context of blog use in local Government in the US • We present the design tradeoffs encountered, and propose model of use that addresses concerns

Blogging trade-off: control vs sociability • Social communities require social interaction and cooperation • In blogs, this occurs through comments (sociability) • To avoid spam/flames, login is required (control)

Trade-offs faced by Government Officials • Goverment goal: provide more information. What if erroneous information is posted in a government hosted site? • Government limits direct public feedback in blogs (by turning off comments) • Citizenship goal: engage in discussion, provide feedback to government, participate in deliberation

Gov. Communication • Government uses communication mediums to inform the population & seek feedback • New mechanisms present new opportunities: RSS feeds, Podcasts,Video Blogs, etc. • ...but most are still one way (broadcasting)

Blog Communication Support • Broadcasting of information (blog entries, rss, aggregators), • Feedback from readers (blog comments, trackbacks), • Community interaction (trackbacks, commenting, blogroll)

Government Blogging • Google US Government search, several blog search engines (e.g. Google, Technorati) • July - October 2006 • Found 52 blogs from 25 different states

States w/Blogs UT, NC, MN, IL had more than 5 blogs among states with Gov blogs; 13 had only 1

Gov. Blog Authors US Senators 19% 10% Council Member Others 8% US House of Representative Commisioner Governor 6% Governor Mayor 4% US Senators 6% Council Member Commisioner 47%

More details • • Only 11 blogs (21%) did Most website and blogs not provide RSS feeds were not clearly connected via links • California’s Governor • provides video feeds URLs to blogs were answering questions often buried in the government website • Representative in Texas • kept campaign 52% of blogs did not commercials in YouTube have links to official government websites

Example 1

Example 2

Public Participation • Many blogs did not allow citizens to post comments. • One of them enabled citizens to comment but only to selected entries. • Most entries were closed to comments.

Categorization • Open system - allow • Semi-open system - allow citizens to post author to read comments comments without any before they are made restriction public • 50% anonymous, • 13% anonymous, 5% require login 2% require login • Closed system - does not allow citizens to post comments (28%)

Categorization Open Login 3 Closed Open Login 15 Open Anonymous Open Anonymous Semi-open Anonymous 26 Semi-open Login Closed 1 Semi-open Anonymous 7

Town of Blacksburg • Spring 06 - taskforce for revising the Town Comprehensive Plan • Public process - committee meetings, minutes and video of meetings are part of public record • To Blog or not to Blog?

Town Concerns • What if citizens write things in the comments section that are inappropriate? • We might have to “censor” the comments!? • Are we liable for stuff written by citizens on blogs hosted in our machines?

Installed blog in BEV • Only members of task force (9) allowed to comment • However • Blog RSS added to SW Virginia News aggregator • Discussion can occur outside of Town website

Task Force Blog https://secure.bev.net/townplan

How the blog was used • Used for internal communication, with public disclosure • Comments posted by taskforce members • Links to revisions of documents • Used as reminders of topics to be discussed later in face-to-face meetings • Good use of tags

Tags as organization tools • Tags in blog allowed taskforce members to organize postings • Served as public record/ documentation • Help focus the discussion

Citizen Blogs Our model Links and trackbacks • Addreses concerns of town officials Aggregator • Supports control • No posting on their site • Supports public discussion • Trackbacks Government Blog

Summary of Findings • Some reluctance from government officials to allow discussions in blogs • Proposed model addresses tradeoff tension (control - government & participation - citizen) • Usability of some advanced features still difficult for some government officials

Thanks... Any questions?

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