Awarded by UNICEN.
PI: Antonela Tommasel
Democracy and formal political processes depend fundamentally on effective communication and informed decision-making on public issues. The development of digital technologies, the expansion of the Internet and the growth of social networks have generated profound changes in political forms at a global level, modifying the bases of citizen participation. These new technologies have been established as a new way to channel and facilitate citizen participation in a given territory, offering new communication tools with government entities and their authorities. EParticipation involves the use of the information and communication technologies, mainly Internet, as the means of participation in democratic and consultative social processes. The goal of eParticipation is to support active citizenship with the latest technological developments, increasing access and the possibility of participating, and promoting a government that is open and close to citizens. Considering that democratic systems favour the interests of large groups of citizens, the more voices supporting a political proposal, the greater their chances of success. However, achieving effective citizen participation is a challenge, given that the simple fact of having access to online services does not imply the willingness of citizens to participate. In this context, social media sites could have a preponderant role in terms of citizen participation, making individuals not only feel that they have access to the information directly and permanently, but also the right to be involved in the public discourse and decisions. Consequently, it is necessary to carry out studies for determining the current status and perspectives of citizen participation in the context of social media. Thereby, this project aims to study and characterize the relationship between digital citizens and government entities in social media, in the context of eParticipation, to enable the definition of practices and strategies that lead to the efficient use of social media for communication between public institutions and citizens.