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Passive crowdsourcing in government using social media

December 31, 2014

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to develop a novel approach to e-participation, which is basedon "passive crowdsourcing" by government agencies, exploiting the extensive political contentcontinuously created in numerous Web 2.0 social media (e.g. political blogs and microblogs, newssharing sites and online forums) by citizens without government stimulation, to understand better theirneeds, issues, opinions, proposals and arguments concerning a particular domain of governmentactivity or public policy.Design/methodology/approach – This approach is developed and elaborated through cooperationwith potential users experienced in the design of public policies from three countries (Austria, Greece and theUK), using a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques: co-operative development ofapplication scenarios, questionnaire surveys, focus groups and workshops and, finally, in-depth interviews.Findings – A process model for the application of the proposed passive crowdsourcing approach hasbeen developed, which is quite different from the one of the usual active crowdsourcing. Based on it, thefunctional architecture of the required supporting information and communication technologies (ICT)infrastructure has been formulated, and then its technological architecture has been designed,addressing the conflicting requirements: low response time and, at the same time, provision ofsufficiently "fresh" content for policymakers.Practical implications – Taking into account that traditionally government agencies monitor whatthe press writes about them, our research provides a basis for extending efficiently these activities in thenew electronic media world (e.g. newspapers websites, blogs and microblogs, online forums, etc.) tounderstand better the needs, issues, opinions, arguments and proposals raised by the society withrespect to important domains of government activity and public policies.Social implications – The proposed approach provides a new channel for the "voice" of the society tobe directly communicated to the government so that the latter can design its policies and activities basedon the social needs and realities and not on oversimplified models and stereotypes.Originality/value – Our paper proposes a novel approach to e-participation, which exploits the Web2.0 social media – but in a quite different way from previous approaches – for conducting "passivecrowdsourcing", and elaborates it: it develops an application process model for it and also an ICTinfrastructure for supporting it, which are quite different from the ones of the existing "activecrowdsourcing" approaches.


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