With the development of the social web and its suite of tools, the Internet is not only a source of information, but it has also become an engaging place where anyone can create, participate, meet and interact with other people. There is little doubt that technology holds the potential of playing an important role in the facilitation of citizen deliberation, citizen empowerment and an effective two-way communication between government and citizens, ultimately leading to better government services.
However, several scholars (e.g. ) have argued that any promised democratic revolution in the wake of the introduction and increased use of e-government and e-participation services has failed to manifest itself. As argued by e.g. , providing mere access to information does not ensure citizen participation, much less does it innately undergird citizen empowerment. In addition, while web 2.0 tools bring opportunities for capitalizing on the communities’ ideas and enthusiasm, there are also major challenges, both from a perspective of to how to engage people and in terms of privacy, confidentiality or security.
Much can be gained by taking a user-centered perspective, acknowledging the challenges citizens and governments face in their interaction with each other. Citizens, government employees, and public institutions all have different, sometimes discrepant goals for their engagement. The challenge of supporting prolific interaction to a large extent pertains to the alignment of these goals of the involved actors. We aim to take a citizen-centric focus the workshop, while also acknowledging the issues government must face to engage effectively with citizen.