idea for this presentation was to look at online councils and their
communities in Australia, however early research indicated it would
be more appropriate to look at this issue from an international angle
and view the similarities/differences in approach. Consequently, I researched
websites from Australia, America, England, Africa, and Asia, each site
being distinct from the others, but all using very similar methods to
engage their audience.
presentation I've looked at what the similarities are between local
council/e-government type websites in several different countries, if
and why they are successful as community "spaces" and what
techniques have been employed to encourage the sense of community.
Local authority sites link individual citizens, local groups, businesses
and government together. These sites have evolved from a simple webpage
listing services and telephone numbers into extensive websites carrying
both static and dynamic content. Dynamic content is updated frequently
and includes such things as news, regular "columns" for different
local societies and community events. Static content may be historical
information, lists of services, contact details etc. One of the easiest
ways for a council to destroy the site is to allow out-of-date information
to linger. Stale data gives the impression of a total lack of interest
by the publisher of the site and if they do not display interest, why
should anyone else?
Successful sites need to give the impression of being "alive"
and reflecting the movement and activities of the community. Generally,
I found that most of the local councils were managing to achieve this.
This is probably largely due to result of the world becoming more Net
savvy and also the fact that over the past
24 months, e-government
has received more attention and consequently more funding
(Yesha and Singhal, 2003).