Micro-Participation: The Role of Microblogging in Planning
38 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2011
Date Written: February 12, 2011
Planners are challenged to engage the public in meaningful ways to shape planning processes. There has been rapid growth in the use of online social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, and planners are struggling to understand how best to use these technologies to engage the public. This study examines more than 49,000 microblogs posted on Twitter and other social networking sites, tracked by Social Networking and Planning Project (SNAPP) to determine public engagement in the Strategic Transportation Mobility Plan (STMP) in Austin, Texas. Using a mixed methods approach, relevant microblogs were examined to determine sentiment, microblogger engagement, extent of engagement, and impact on the decision-making process. This study found that there are methods that can be used to analyze micro-participation and that micro-participation can be effective in generating participation, but it faces substantial technical, analytical, and communication barriers to influence decision-making.
Keywords: Public Participation, Social Networking, Transportation Planning, Twitter, Microblogging, Sentiment Analysis
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