E-Democracy: Can blogs and wikis enhance the participation of gen Y in the democratic process?
|e-Democracy: Can blogs and wikis enhance the participation of gen Y in the democratic process?|
|Published in||Proceedings of the European Conference on e-Government, ECEG|
|Keyword(s)||Blog, e-Democracy, Gen Y, Participation, Wiki (Extra: Blog, Community involvement, Democratic participation, Democratic process, E-democracy, Magic Bullets, Mainstream media, Newspaper readership, Participation, Political debates, Sense of community, Wiki, Blogs, Government data processing, Newsprint, Websites, Information technology)|
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e-Democracy: Can blogs and wikis enhance the participation of gen Y in the democratic process? is a 2006 conference paper written in English by Backhouse J. and published in Proceedings of the European Conference on e-Government, ECEG.
Over the last decade or so, a significant proportion of citizens in many liberal democracies have demonstrated a declining interest in the trappings of the democratic process and a related apathy about voting itself. There is a particular concern for the attitudes of young adult citizens, part of the demographic often-called Generation Y. For this generation, many of the customary styles of community involvement and interaction with government no longer seem relevant to the way they live their everyday lives. For example, while newspaper readership in general is falling worldwide, this trend is especially noticeable among Gen Y. They are not adopting the reading habits of their parents. This is a noteworthy development since newspapers, as part of mainstream media, have traditionally been an important source of information and engagement in political debate. An obvious response to this dilemma is to use ICT technologies, including blogs and wikis, to provide replacements for, or indeed enhancements to, traditional communal and democratic artefacts. Stereotypically, these are the technologies that Gen Y relates to and that help provide their sense of community and involvement. This paper reviews the nature and growth of blogs and wikis. It examines the literature on the relevance and effectiveness of these technologies for enhancing democratic participation particularly for Gen Y. The paper concludes that these tools have some potential to engage a significant proportion of Gen Y constituents. Nevertheless they are not a magic bullet. These tools need to have a societal fit and to be implemented in a way that encourages broad participation rather than just strident involvement by a few activists. Even amongst Gen Y, a generation usually considered being ICT literate and eager, there is a risk that systems not well implemented, will only serve to increase disengagement.
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