Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Micro-Participation: The Role of Microblogging in Planning

38 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2011  

Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley

Ohio State University (OSU)

Greg Phillip Griffin

Texas A&M Transportation Institute; University of Texas at Austin - School of Architecture

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

Suggested Citation

Evans-Cowley, Jennifer S. and Griffin, Greg Phillip, Micro-Participation: The Role of Microblogging in Planning (February 12, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Jennifer Evans-Cowley (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )


Greg Griffin

Texas A&M Transportation Institute ( email )

505 E. Huntland Dr., #455
Austin, TX Texas 78723
United States
512-407-1111 (Phone)


University of Texas at Austin - School of Architecture ( email )

1 University Station B7500
Austin, TX 78712-022
United States


Paper statistics

Abstract Views