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Online Civic Engagement in the ‘Twitter’ Age: Utilizing new media as a tool to promote participation and expand democratic discourse. Greg Parks Katz & Associates. Presentation Goals. A little background research Types of new media Focus on Focus on

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Online Civic Engagement in the ‘Twitter’ Age:Utilizing new media as a tool to promote participation and expand democratic discourse

Greg Parks

Katz & Associates

presentation goals
Presentation Goals
  • A little background research
  • Types of new media
  • Focus on
  • Focus on
  • Using new media to interface with in person public participation
  • A word of caution
  • K&A commissioned study with SDSU Professor David Dozier
  • Community-based service learning project for Public Relations Research students
  • Conducted in November 2008
    • A snapshot in time, new media is ever-changing
we wanted to learn
We Wanted to Learn…
  • What forms of new media people use in general
  • What forms of new media people use to participate in local public policy issues
  • The willingness of people to use various forms of new media to participate
what we learned
What we learned

Internet Access

what we learned1
What We Learned

Adoption of New Media

what we learned2
What We Learned

Barriers to Adoption of New Media

research conclusions
Research Conclusions
  • For those already involved:
    • New media offers new forms of public participation
  • For those not that involved in traditional public participation (public meetings):
    • New media provides other public participation options that they may use
defining the terms
Defining the Terms
  • New and Social media is digital or computerized forms of communication, like:
    • E-mail
    • Blogs
    • Social networking sites (Facebook, Myspace)
    • Video sharing sites (YouTube)
    • Online surveys
    • Discussion boards
    • Twitter
focus on
Focus on
  • Create and customize your own profile with pictures, videos, information
  • Post ‘status’ on your ‘wall’
what is
What is ?
  • Technical explanation:

140 characters,



  • Over 6 million users

and growing

  • Climbed from 22nd place social networking site in 2008 to 3rd place in 2009.
so what is really going on
So what is REALLY going on?
  • Platform to connect
  • Build relationships
  • Share Information
  • Bite-sized; allows users to grab ideas, use the platform as a jumping off point
example shaq attack
Example-Shaq Attack!
  • Shaquille O’Neal learned of trade to Cleveland Cavaliers last night via twitter.
  • @the_real_shaq "is it true u a CLEVELAND CAVALIER."
  • @allonso "I didn't hear dat yet“
  • @the_real_shaq "U CLEVELAND BOUND shaq found out he was traded thru twitter! .hahahaaaaaa"
  • @djtr3y “I kno right”
trending topics
Trending Topics
  • Searchable Terms
  • #hashtags for easier identification
  • Find what topics trending real time
  • Just during this presentation #1 topic switched from #iranelection to
  • Michael Jackson
example real life connections
Example-Real Life Connections!
  • Twitvite
  • Tweetups (
  • Market events
  • Fundraisers
so how can we start using twitter
So how can we start usingtwitter?
  • Popular programs to shrink urls for 140 character maximum:;
  • Utilize the most popular forms of ‘new’ media to interface with twitter :
    • E-mails
    • Web sites
    • Blogs
but remember
But, Remember…
  • You have direct control over your message.
  • New media is still changing and will continue changing
  • Any given platform may not last forever
  • Think about your audience before you start using new media
  • Face to face will never go out of style