E-Tools for Citizen Participation
Learn to use the internet to become more informed and involved with your community.
Forums allow users to share opinions and discuss issues. They typically feature multiple discussions occurring simultaneously in different threads.
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.
- The following are user submitted:
- Capitol City Musings
- The City Hall Scoop
- Centrisity blog
- St. Paul Real Estate Blog
- Adam's Page
- Independent Digital Talk Radio podcast
- A Democracy
- MN Blue
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.
- Community Reporter
- TC Daily Planet
- Northeast Beat
- New Minnesotans Blog
- Community Calendar
- St. Paul Announcements Forum
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)
- “insanely useful Web sites” for government transparency
- The City of St. Paul Web Site
- MN Legislature
- St. Paul Public Schools -The following were suggested by Anne Carroll
- Board meetings, agendas, and contact info is at http://www.spps.org/Board_of_Education.html
- A great source is the Data Center at http://datacenter.spps.org/, which has an enormous amount of useful information on students, schools, performance, etc., originating from both school district and state sources.
- I also use this page for info on policies, procedures, and exhibits: http://www.spps.org/POLICIES_AND_RELATED_PROCEDURES_EXHIBITS.
- And the business office provides tons of budget info at http://www.businessoffice.spps.org/BudgetReport.html as well as other useful information at http://www.businessoffice.spps.org.
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.
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.
- Discussion Group
- Social Network
- Wikis, for collaboration or reference(See Outreach tools page)
- Complete site