Sunday, 20 February 2011

Tools and types

There has been a significant growth in the last four years, and implementation rates have topped out in many of the categories.[9] Public- and private-sector platforms provide an avenue to citizen engagement while offering access to transparent information citizens have come to expect.

To develop these public-sector portals or platforms, governments have the choice to internally develop and manage, outsource or sign a self-funding contract. The self-funding model creates portals that pay for themselves through convenience fees for certain e-government transactions. Early players in this space include govONE Solutions, First Data Government Solutions and, a company built on the self-funded model.[10]

Social networking is an emerging area for e-democracy, as well as related technological developments, such as argument maps and eventually, the semantic web. Those are seen as important stepping stones in the maturation of the concept of e-democracy.[11] The social networking entry point, for example, is within the citizens' environment, and the engagement is on the citizens' terms. Proponents of e-government perceive government use of social networks as a medium to help government act more like the public it serves. Examples of state usage can be found at The Official Commonwealth of Virginia Homepage, where citizens can find Google tools and open social forums.

Government and its agents also have the opportunity to follow citizens to monitor satisfaction with services they receive. Through ListServs, RSS feeds, mobile messaging, micro-blogging services and blogs, government and its agencies can share information to citizens who share common interests and concerns. Some government representatives are also beginning to use Twitter which provides them with an easy medium to inform their followers. In the state of Rhode Island, for instance, Treasurer Frank T. Caprio is offering daily tweets of the state's cash flow.

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