Social media for citizens and public sector collaboration (SOMUS)

Published on: 08/07/2009

The Somus project will create new understanding of citizenship, publicity and participation in decision-making in the era of social media. Open, citizen-driven media must support the different phases of participation: public definition of common problems, collection and accumulation of knowledge and other competencies, development of socially grounded innovations, and actual decision-making.

The main objectives of the project are:

  1. To produce basic knowledge about dynamics of information, knowledge and citizenship in the participative media environment
  2. To develop new technical solutions for user-driven media service development
  3. To demonstrate and evaluate new media concepts that are enabled through open interfaces between public sector, mass media and citizen groups
  4. To create and validate a model for open Internet-based research in collaboration with The Open Research Swarm and collaboration network of different actors

The project will result in better understanding of the phenomenon of self-organizing ubiquitous media as well as theories, methods and demonstrations that will be evaluated in real life situations with users.

Technology solution

Technology choice: Open source software

Lessons learnt

The project is still in early phase, but so far (7.7.2009) the lessons learned would be:

1. Open reasearch method has made the consortium work much more efficiently than usually and created positive publicity for the project. (ALL the project documentation is created in wiki and most of the discussions are held in public forums)

2. In the area of eParticipation the biggest challenges (at least in Finland) are not technical, for that reason it is recommended to use the existing technologies and consentrate on creating the eParticipation practices.

3. At the Finnish public sector there is ongoing awekening (last year or so) towards the possibilities of social media, eParticipation and open public data.

Scope: Local (city or municipality), National