In previous research, we have observed the poor record of online engagement of community councils in Scotland, though I doubt this is issue is restricted only to this context. With some notable exceptions, Community Council online presences are characterised by low activity. Only around a quarter are actively online whether on Facebook or web, and even when there are high levels of primary postings, there is low secondary engagement in the form of comments or responses, never mind sustained online debate.
This has been characterised as “lurking”.
The question I am exploring at the moment is:
To what extent is a passive audience (lurking) an issue to community representatives when they are posting material online?
One question this raises is why so few citizens participate online. This has been one theme of (e-participation) research into online democratic processes since the field began at the start of the millennium. There has…
I’m thinking about how community leaders who post online can think about their audience – are the “just” lurkers? Is that a bad thing? (Of course, it turns out they can be seen as a good thing – find out why)
Let’s talk about something obvious: Leaders (for instance community councillors) share information online but the paradox is, that they often don’t get a visible response. Why do they do it then? What are their expectations of how the information they present will be used (eg a news item or a blog post)? In particular, why would a community councillor go to the bother of posting material online when there is demonstrably little chance anyone will comment on it?
Lurking is good
Lurking as been discussed since the beginning of internet forums at the start of the millennium, when “lurking” was defined as “…reading discussions on a board, newsgroup,… social networking site, listening to people in …[an] interactive system, but rarely or never participating actively” 
The leader to lurker framework: but what about other on- and off-line channels?
It has always been the case that the number in the audience…
Our survey investigating community councillors’ information literacy is now live. If you are a community councillor, please go to https://survey.napier.ac.uk/n/LILDEM.aspx to take the survey. If you’re not a community councillor, please pass on this link to any community councillors you know.
As we said in a previous post, we are very pleased that we successfully finished the IL-DEM project. We’re even more pleased that we have just started a follow-up project called LIL-DEM (longitudinal information literacy for democratic engagement). This will also investigate community councillors’ information literacy, but it will sharply focus on the interaction of SCONUL’s information literacy pillars and life-roles that are likely to affect development of information literacy. Continue reading →
This post was written by Bruce Ryan and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of his colleagues or anyone else.
Beneath all the current brouhaha about Brexit, interesting goings-on in the White House, and struggles between ‘populists’ and the ‘old guard’, it’s fairly clear that there is room for improvement in the ways we do politics. In most democracies, representation is the main model: the people choose representatives who make laws and govern. In a purely representative democracy, citizens would have no part in law-making or government except via elections. Continue reading →