Professor Dr. Deen Freelon of the American University School of Communication, Dr. Travis Kriplean of the University of Washington Department of Computer Science, Professor Dr. Lance Bennett of the University of Washington Department of Communication, and colleagues, have published Facilitating Diverse Political Engagement with the Living Voters Guide, Journal of Information Technology and Politics, 9, 279-297 (2012).
Here is the abstract:
Unlike 20th-century mass media, the Internet requires self-selection of content by its very nature. This has raised the normative concern that users may opt to encounter only political information and perspectives that accord with their pre-existing views. This study examines the different ways that voters appropriated a new, purpose-built online engagement platform to engage with a wide variety of political opinions and arguments. In a system aimed at helping Washington state citizens make their 2010 election decisions, we find that users take significant advantage of three key opportunities to engage with political diversity: accessing, considering, and producing arguments on both sides of various policy proposals. Notably, engagement with each of these forms of participation drops off as the required level of commitment increases. We conclude by discussing the implications of these results as well as directions for future research.
Tags: Ballot initiatives, Citizens' participation in lawmaking, Crowdsourcing legislative information, Deen Freelon, eparticipation, eparticipation systems, JITP, Journal of Information Technology and Politics, Lance Bennett, Legislative information systems, Living Voters Guide, Travis Kriplean, Voter guides