Exploring Social Media as a Public Participation Tool
Why Public Participation?
The idea of public participation is the foundation of a participatory democracy. Democratic legitimacy
really depends, above all else, on the character and quality of public decision making. Public participation
in a democratic society helps to hold government accountable to the people it serves and ensures the
people have a voice in matters that affect them. Many people may not participate due to a lack of
confidence in their knowledge of the subject, or in their communicative ability. They remain inactive
because they feel that the outcome will affect them in a way that would cost less than having to gain the
knowledge and competencies in order to participate.
The design and methods used in the public participation process can also be barriers themselves. There
are multiple traditional methods that can be used to design a public participation process. The oldest
and perhaps most widely used form of public participation is the public meeting. Today a public meeting
has become widely defined as a meeting where people can gather to ask questions or give opinions on
various matters pertaining to governance. It is also argued that public meetings today have become
antiquated and ineffective in achieving genuine participation.
Why used social media?
With the rise of social media networking sites since 2004, the public participation process may be
completely re-imagined. Today, technology allows for an entirely new generation of forms and practices
of public participation that promise to elevate the public discourse in an unprecedented manner while
providing an interactive, networked environment for decision making (Evans-Cowley & Hollander, 2010,
p. 397). While recognizing the potential of social media as a tool for public participation, Evans-Cowley
and Hollander conclude that the current use of social media tools and technologies has not yet brought
expected results. This may be attributed to the constantly changing of social media technologies, as well
as a lack of working knowledge of the technology and how it can be applied in the public participation
process by planners.
Social media is abroad, interactive network such as facebook, twitter, linked, youtube, etc. The Benefits
of Social Media such as connecting with the other people and processes more visible, Increases
participation by wider audience, namely younger adults, can lead to a more
personalized connection with citizens, and cost-effective. Why should you use social media? Because of
it, we could disseminating information the city desires to communicate to the public, easy to organize
around place based planning issues, provides the ability to conduct outreach at a new and exciting level,
and strong community support produces better plans. There are so many users use social media, from
young until adult. The main thing to keep in mind is that social media is social. When engaging with people
using social media, it is important to keep the conversation going. Social media is a relatively new
phenomenon, and it is changing rapidly. The sheer volume of information about social media can be
overwhelming, and it takes time and energy to collect and analyse the volumes of information.