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Why Engaging Citizens Online Helps Public Participation?

Face-to-face engagement is often limited by time and space, comparing to online engagement. With the development of online technologies, digital tools that can solve problems and improve life quality are more and more popular. Citizens are willing to express ideas and report issues through digital platforms. Here we explore eight reasons that online engagement is beneficial to public participation.

 

1 Broader reach and more inclusive

Everyone is entitled to the right to speak. Online engagement provides opportunities for marginalized groups to voice and connect with others cohesively. Digital technologies can reach to the people excluded from physical forums and meetings and attract young people to participate.

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2 Cost-efficiency and better management

Involving citizens online instead of organizing face-to-face meetings saves time and money. Digital technologies also allow simple management of user data and reduce administrative processing time.

 

3 Fast feedback and better responsiveness

By processing data automatically through technology, online engagement shortens the feedback loop. Time saved in the idea-collection process can be spent on quicker response and better communication with citizens.

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4 Built-in transparency and accountability

Feedback and decisions made through third-party technologies guarantee transparency of the engaging process. In return, citizens develop trust towards administrators and online engagement establishes positive public-private relationships.

 

5 Easy accessibility to external resources

Online engagement technology can easily link with external work-assisted software to integrate with other digital technologies. For example, WeSolve bonds with surveys and polls. Thus, the digital engagement platform also reduces the time spent on the conversion of different software and improves user experiences.

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6 Network creation and community ownership

Digital participation engages people online and creates an online social network. During the participation process, community ownership is shaped in the online community, which encourages community envisioning and improves project implementation.

 

7 Reduce misunderstandings

Online engagement delivers information and resources to citizens directly. People can easily get access to the content that is within their interests. Thus, myths and misinformation are eliminated during the information exchange process. The reduction of misunderstandings promotes effective communication.

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8 Decisions made of higher quality

Higher inclusiveness, faster response, and more extensive resources deepen engagement and formulate a better and more effective participation process. Decisions made through a deepened process contributes to higher quality.

 

WeSolve is an advanced digital engagement platform to serve public administrations and social organizations to facilitate public participation.

Simplicity is our key concept. Our concise interface design improves user experience and promotes effective communication which contribute to better decision-making.

References

1 Le Blanc, D. (2020). E-participation: a quick overview of recent qualitative trends (No. 163). Working Paper. URL: https://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2020/wp163_2020.pdf

2 Dubow, Talitha, Axelle Devaux, Christian Van Stolk, and Catriona Manville. (2017). Civic engagement: How can digital technologies underpin citizen-powered democracy?. RAND Corporation and Corsham Institute. URL: https://www.rand.org/pubs/conf_proceedings/CF373.html.

3 Schwanholz, Julia & Graham, Todd & Stoll, P.-T. (2017). Managing Democracy in the Digital Age: Internet Regulation, Social Media Use, and Online Civic Engagement.

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About The Author

Yunyue Peng

Master student in Nature Management at the University of Copenhagen, focusing on public participation and citizen action in nature conservation and sustainable development.