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E-Tools for Citizen Participation -

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E-Tools for Citizen Participation


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Back To: SPED-Outreach
Rondo Workshop Schedule -- A schedule of Monday night workshops at Rondo Library presented by St. Paul E-Democracy.

Learn to use the internet to become more informed and involved with your community.

Issues Forums

Forums allow users to share opinions and discuss issues. They typically feature multiple discussions occurring simultaneously in different threads.

Social Networking

Users create a profile, connect with other users and join groups.


Blogs are simple websites that consist of posts arranged chronologically. While you can do just about anything with a blog, they are frequently used for sharing opinions or reporting on events. They are easy to start and run, and with interesting content they can be very successful.

Citizen Journalism

Citizen Journalism is the practice of community members reporting on issues or events they find interesting, often as an independent or more locally-focused alternative to existing news outlets.


There is a tremendous amount of information produced by and about governments, and much of this information is now available online. (Unfortunately, much of it is difficult to find)


Wikis are websites that anyone can edit, such as Wikipedia. Using a wiki, it is fairly simple to create a community-built reference site, or to collaborate on a group project.

Local Portals

Some neighborhood organizations and block clubs are now moving online.

  • Greater Frogtown CDC
  • Hamline-Midway district council web site
  • Riverview List
    • My block club very recently assembled a combination free site, craigslist, and community bulletin board to serve our West Side bluff neighborhood. It's quite simple and flexible. My block club is independent of the District Council, so we don't have to worry about the commercial aspect. -Guy Western

Build Your Own

You can replicate many of these tools yourself using free tools available online.

  1. Discussion Group
    1. Yahoo Groups
    2. Google Groups
  2. Social Network
    1. Ning
  3. Blog
    1. Blogger
    2. Wordpress
  4. Wikis, for collaboration or reference(See Outreach tools page)
  5. Complete site
    1. Drupal

Online Media

  1. Podcasting
  2. Photo hosting
    1. Flickr
    2. Picasa
  3. Video hosting
    1. Youtube

See Also


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