Enhancing civic participation in decision making by exploiting social media

Today the ever growing visibility of the web as a medium that exhibits the potential to attract and maintain society’s involvement coupled with the need for a more citizen-centric and socially-rooted policy making, calls for novel tools with the capability to analyze society’s input and forecast the possible impact of policies. Thus, more citizen-centric governance arises more pressing than ever.

PADGETS aims at bringing together two well-established domains, the mashup architectural approach of Web 2.0 for creating Web applications (gadgets) and the methodology of system dynamics in analyzing complex system behavior. The objective is to design, develop and deploy a prototype toolset that will allow policy makers to graphically create Web applications that will be deployed in the environment of underlying knowledge in Web 2.0 media.

As a part of the project the concept of Policy Gadget (Padget) is introduced, similarly to the approach of gadget applications in Web 2.0. Policy Gagets link textual or legislative proposals to the feedback from citizens (in social networks, blogs, forums, news sites, etc) and interacts with end users on popular social media platforms.

Through the PADGETS platform any policy can become a reusable and communicable Web application to be used in relation to underlying content and social activities over the Web. Policy makers will be able to set up such applications on their own and use them to communicate their policies to the public. People can use these applications as they use everyday services and policy makers can track the results of this interaction back to their policy making process to assist them in reaching solid decisions that represent society’s input and aspirations.