Hi World


I'm passionate about citizen participation
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Hello cyber visitor, welcome! My name is Despina, I’m an Australian and a government employee and I’ve started this blog because as a researcher on the policy implications of Web 2.0 and citizen engagement by government, I thought I should take the practical plunge into blogging. I’m an enthusiastic exponent of using the web to expand public sector communications and in particular, to explore the potential for enhanced dialogue with citizens on policy and priority setting in government.  This little blog is a  platform for me to share what I can (and there are restrictions given my government role) but more importantly, to learn about e-participatory developments from you. Let’s talk, share and collaborate on all things e-empowerment! I welcome your contribution on this theme.

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24 Comments on “Hi World”


  1. Despina,

    Very nice site – easy on the eye and already a lot of interesting content building.

    Would you like us to link to it on the CIN blog?


  2. The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.
    Your intrepid nature will put you in great stead.


  3. Good for you Despina. The only way to learn is to read, lurk for a while, then jump in. Public servants around the world seem to suffer from restrictions in Web 2.0, but the boundaries are being pushed. My research suggests that blogs are great for single issue and low to medium traffic, but become congested and confusing with high volume, multi-topic conversations. Wikis and other Web 2.0 tools seem to work better for large-scale public consultation. I’m sure you’re following the Deliberatorium at MIT. Very interesting. Keep up the good work.

  4. Sophia Koulbanis Says:

    Great to see a blog in VicGov – well done Despina.

  5. Yvonne Thompson Says:

    Boundaries are being pushed, but being open and sharing information is still like swimming against the tide for those of us working in government. The tide is clearly turning, but Royal Commissions, Inquiries and such like instill fear and an excuse for further retreat into old lock-down behaviours by battle-shy senior management. The attempt to shift entrenched culture is no less daunting than attempting a revolution. Go Bolsheviks.

  6. billybean Says:

    Good luck with the blog. I started almost a year ago to see how we might use blogging in youth work, along similar lines to yourself for Citizen engagement. It’s amazing how it grows.

  7. citizenengagement Says:

    thanks billybean – you didn’t send me your blog.
    Happy to consider it for my blogroll

  8. Yvonne Thompson Says:

    Until December 2009 .au Community Domains (auCD), a not-for-profit established to facilitate the development of Community Geographic Domain Names (CGDNs), is providing free licensing and website hosting to approved community groups, with a website based on their town or suburb name.

    Importantly, these domain names are protected as a community asset, and will form a network of netorks.

    Each gazetted town and suburb name in Australia (except capital cities) has a website address based on the simple combination of locality, state or territory and the country code – for example: http://www.ballarat.vic.au.

    This is a uniquely Australian initiative with interesting potential. As demonstrated by the popularity of Google Earth, humans tend to be deeply rooted attachment to ‘place’.

    How the websites evolve is up to the community, but they can only enhance community resilience .

    The websites cover unique and locally driven content and can also selectively link to a variety of other pages in websites of community interest.

    The auCD websites provide a trusted local voice and are already innovating and using the website functionality to springboard initiatives.

    For example, residents in Koonwarra use their community website to rally defences against the threat of bushfires by providing access on information and community “ownership” of the fire plans (www.koonwarra.vic.au/news/fire-plan).

    Imagine then a national network of online community-maintained fire plans, and what communities could learn directly from each other’s experience.

    http://www.aucd.org.au/resources/communitywebsites).

    Following are links to information about the Koonwarra Website Groups’ community fire plan: http://www.aucd.org.au/news/firekoonwarra/, or http://www.aucd.org.au/news/fireplanworkshops/

    Contact is leonie.dunbar@aucd.org.au


  9. Hello Despina,

    Good luck with your new venture. I think the interface between government and people via web 2.0 technologies will be a great step forward for participatory democracy. Best ofluck engaging with the wider community on this issue!

    Lauchlan

  10. Mark Roberts Says:

    Hi Despina – had a good look at your site and liked it, especially your photo so that anyone can “see” who it is they’re communicating with and the allied links on the right hand page – I expect you saw the article in Saturday’s Age A2 21 February 2009 which talked about the way people like to communicate – and also the attached link dealing with democracy issues. I showed one of my very tech savvy friends your site and as a GenY he is a firm believer that such sites will be enormous in five years time – my only concern is how do you engage those Gen Y – and others – who are not interested in computers or have no access to them. I suspect funding and education programs are part of the answer. Nevertheless I’m sure government’s will be able to communicate effectively on a mass scale when issuing emergency warnings or other items of interest – and seek people’s votes and support as Barack Obama did so effectively!! Nothwithstanding the prevalence of on line communication and it being the way of the future (and present with email etc) I still like to ring someone if I want an issue resolved!

    http://www.apo.org.au/webboard/comment_results.chtml?filename_num=262014

  11. Shirley Silverstein Says:

    Hi Despina,
    Good luck with this new endeavour. I can see how you might expand public sector communication and dialogue with citizens on policy and priority setting in government with the younger ‘Facebook’,’blog’ and ‘twitter’ participants who are members of Gen X and Y. However, I wonder how successful this approach will be as a means of engaging with more than a small percentage of Baby Boomers – (even those of us who are computer savvy), or indeed, with older members of the community. Clearly, if their participation is desired, some form of promotion / education will be essential.

  12. Susan Inglis Says:

    Enjoyed reading your site Despina – looks like there is some useful information there and good to read the interesting comments and challenges about how to engage with people moving forward! Susan

  13. adrielhampton Says:

    Nice blog – thanks for posting the link at GovLoop!

  14. Melanie Says:

    HI, I just stumbled upon your blog from http://www.govloop.com.

    I manage a program that assesses city’s development processes for efficiency and transparency. One area we review is how effectively and consistently a city engages the public. We are eager to incorporate web 2.0 into the review as a way to encourage more cities to engage people using online tools. I look forward to reading future posts and using this as a resource.

  15. Jim Gilliam Says:

    I’ve built a site, http://WhiteHouse2.org/ that does much of what you describe. It started focused on the priority setting side of things right before the election, but I’ve been expanding it based on people’s feedback.

    Many people wanted to start collaborating on policy, so just this week I added wiki-style documents for that.

    I would love to get more people in the public sector involved. Also, I am working to make this a platform that any organization, agency, etc, can use on their own website to foster citizen engagement.

  16. Hylkia Says:

    Hi Despina,

    Looks really good – easy to find things and easy on the eye. Would it be useful to contain a link to America Speaks ?


  17. I just joined the Government 2.0 Canberra Group on Google

    http://bit.ly/Tu9gc

    “Government 2.0 is not about social networking or technology based approaches to anything. It is a fundamental shift in the implementation of government – toward an open, collaborative, cooperative arrangement where there is (wherever possible) open consultation, open data, shared knowledge, mutual acknowledgment of expertise, mutual respect for shared values and an understanding of how to agree to disagree. Technology and social tools are merely an enabler in this process.”

    Government 2.0 Camp Australia, to be held in Canberra, the national capital, will be a BarCamp-styled unconference welcoming ideas and opinions from across society at all levels – the public, the executive and our politicians.


  18. I’ve started using AGIMOs govdex GovDex … supports collaboration with a secure space for govt agencies to manage stakeholders and projects, with file and document sharing, meeting management and centralised information and contact management.

    GovDex community owners and administrators can design and manage user access

    I’m on a national working group reviewing the street address standard AS/NZ4819 and the confluence wiki and abi8lity to share documents is a real help.

    https://www.govdex.gov.au/user/index.do

  19. Steph Says:

    Hi Despina

    Interesting blog – delighted to hear there’s a Department for Innovation in Oz too!

    Will follow your links with interest.

  20. David Barrie Says:

    Hi Despina

    This blog is great! Take a look at mine…i think we are thinking on similar lines. looking forward to future RSS streams.

  21. citizenengagement Says:

    hello David
    thank you for your link – it’s a much more eclectic and visually appealing blog than my little effort. I’m still a newby in this space and rather restrained by official requirements.
    Loved the heading The Architecture of Hope – sounds like a poem!
    Despina

  22. Jennifer Dawson Says:

    Best of luck with your blog

  23. Mark Watson Says:

    G’day Despina

    I am working around the field of Design Thinking and Service Design. Quite a new field in developing government response to programme development and community consultation.

    Check out Wenovski
    http://wenovski.ning.com/

    Regards

    Mark Watson

  24. Dee Locklin Says:

    Just found the site. Great resource!


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