to the International Teledemocracy Centre home page

HuWY : Hub Websites for Youth Participation


eDem 2010 Workshop, 7th May, 2010

at the 4th International Conference on Electronic Democracy, Centre for E-Government, Danube-University Krems, Austria:
Conference program (pdf)

Workshop: Social Networking Tools supporting constructive involvement throughout the policy-cycle

Organisers; Ella Taylor-Smith (Edinburgh Napier University) and Ralf Lindner (Fraunhofer ISI)
Contact: or


This workshop follows on from Social Networking Tools and Widgets to Promote or Expand eParticipation Initiatives held at eDem 09.

The focus for our 2010 workshop is on using SN tools, specifically to support involvement (rather than enabling involvement through publicity).

Policy cylcle

5 Stages of Policy Cycle

We want to find out what kinds of tools are supporting involvement at which stages in the policy cycle

For a brief overview over the policy cycle framework see W. Jann/K. Wegrich (2007): "Theories of the Policy Cycle", in: F. Fischer/G.J. Miller/M.S. Sidney (eds.): Handbook of Public Policy Analysis, Boca Raton, p. 43-62.

Workshop format

In order to work out how the SN tools fit into the policy-making process, we are asking participants to categorise the tools in advance, using a framework we have prepared and distributed as a spreadsheet (reproduced as a table below). The framework includes four criteria which aim to define the tools' interface with the policy-making process:

  1. Policy-making target (i.e. level and type)
  2. Policy-cycle stage
  3. How do policy-makers respond?
  4. How do you measure its impact?

The criteria "How do policy-makers respond" aims to identify interaction tools used at this end of the eParticipation process. We are interested to see whether and how SN tools are being used to gather inputs or feedback from government or elected members, as well as inputs from citizens.

SN tools and initiatives that have been entered into the framework in advance of the workshop will be mapped to graphics. Other tools and initiatives will be added during the workshop (or perhaps during the conference in advance of the workshop). This will begin to give us a picture of how eParticipation initiatives aim to have impact on public policies. In addition, it will shed light on how SN tools are used within eParticipation initiatives and what advantages they bring over/add to other eParticipation tools like structured discussion forums. Do they bring identifiable benefits or are they merely being used as the current interaction trend?

In addition to mapping the tools using the framework, a selection of tools will be presented as more detailed case studies, in order to furnish examples for discussion.

Project name/ URL Tool/ widget type or brand Citizen target Policy-making target (type and level) Policy cycle stage How do policy-makers respond? How do you measure its impact? Problems so far
  e.g. RSS feed, Bebo e.g. Young people, local people, people who use a specific service e.g. Parliamentary Committee, Minister (National or EU), Local council
  1. Problem definition
  2. Agenda setting
  3. Policy development
  4. Policy implementation
  5. Policy evaluation
e.g. using the same SN tool, provide text for response page, no method provided e.g. usage statistics, feedback from users, change in policy.  

Who should participate?

How to get involved

Are you coming to EDem10? Would you like to take an active part in our workshop? Get in touch -it's not too late

  1. Complete our framework so that we can make an initial survey to support the workshop. See Table 1 above. We will send you this as an XL file.
  2. Optionally, write a short position paper (2 -5 pages) about your use of social networking tools in an eParticipation context. Papers will be published in the conference proceedings, according to space, quality and relevance. Or a position paper about your related research or experience. (This option is now closed)
  3. The workshop will take place in a computer lab and we'd like to see tools in context and widgets in action.

More about the policy cycle stages

The policy cycle framework presents a simplified and ideal-type model of the policy process; it is nevertheless useful to systemise and structure the highly complex processes of policy-making:

  1. Problem definition and articulation: Recognising a policy problem or the need for policy change and expressing the necessity of state intervention.
  2. Agenda setting: Selection of a recognised problem and putting it on the government's (formal or informal) agenda for serious consideration of public action.
  3. Policy formulation: Proposals and demands are transformed into government policy documents, actions or programs. This includes the definition of objectives and consideration of alternatives as well as the development of legislation and regulation.
  4. Policy implementation: This can include the specification of program details and the execution or enforcement of a policy by the responsible agencies.
  5. Policy evaluation: This can involve evaluation and review of the policy in action, research evidence and views of users. Here there is the possibility to loop back to stage one.

Workshop Presentations/ Case Studies

Workshop Results

Additional SN sites
Daniel Van Lerberghe, from the Politech Institute demonstrated the use of SN tools by the council of Issy Les Moulineaux, Paris: and especially These sites demonstrated an ease and familiarity with the basics of Social Networking and real integration with the business of the council.

The case studies and workshop themes provoked a lively discussion.
Participants did not agree that lack of specific engagement with the policy -cycle indicates that eParticipation has no real influence -though it was acknowledged that the intersection of eParticipation/eDemocracy initiatives with legislative power was problematic. There is no agreed democratic model for this.
Neither did participants agree with the discussion statement SN tools have no advantage over any other form of interaction -they're just the trendy thing to use...Participants felt that the popularity of SN tools made them a useful component of eParticipation. The challenges are:

EDem 2010 Conference Results

Feedback about the EDem10 Conference hosted last week at the Danube University in Krems, reviews as well as presentations, our keynotes (Stevan Harnad, Ismael Peña-López, Micah Sifry and Andy Williamson) answering 5 questions about e-democracy and the #edem10 tweets is now available at


HUWY: Hub Websites for Youth Participation

This workshop is being run by the HUWY project. We intend to use the information gained in our dissemination strategy.
The HuWY project aims to get young people talking about policies and laws which affect the Internet and channel this to people in governments and parliaments, working on these policies. Young people choose the topics and questions, host the discussions on their web pages and post the results on Hubs provided by the project. HuWY partners provide information and support and involve young people and youth groups. HuWY also organise people working on Internet policies to read and use the results. The online Hubs hold supporting information, space for the results of young people’s discussions and feedback from policy-makers.

eParticipation EU The HuWY project is sponsored by the European Commission under the eParticipation preparatory action.