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Ranch State and CitizenSpace: Digital Democracy and Web Strategies for the United States and the United Kingdom
Unformatted Document Text:  19 subject area. CitizenSpace, pending the arrival of the new, enhanced version of the FCO website public forums, represents an online venue for communication between citizens on matters of governance. While previous studies mentioned have indicated that the UK context prefers a “public service delivery model” for the use ICTs, the FCO site (and connectivity to CitizenSpace online forums) tells a different story. While the website is arguably a well-designed web presence displaying entrepreneurial qualities that emphasize service delivery – it also is informative, educational, and provides easy access to contacts within the FCO and to fellow citizens. Indeed, the line introducing Citizenspace reads: “Shape public policy and discuss politics” – an assertion that at least in theory the UK presence online is about public inclusivity. From this observation, the FCO represents a dual-edged emphasis on inputs and outputs (although clearly within an “output”-centric framework), and both horizontal and vertical communication. Future Website Directions, and Alternative sites for Digital Democracy What is clear upon this basic analysis of website content for the US and the UK is a convergence along at least one axis of government websites. The shift towards dissemination of information and service delivery (outputs) is prevalent in both websites. Nevertheless, it is perhaps no small irony that the United States has moved more decidedly in the direction of “consumer democracy” while the UK has shifted to a more communitarian approach to the use the Web and the Internet. Even with the previous national context provided by Hagen about the UK’s ICT tendencies, the UK has embraced in their foreign policy web presence both service delivery and participatory principles. The UK trend does not seem to be changing. The FCO website is continuing to develop information linkages with other government agencies, private enterprises, and public interest groups in order to better facilitate available information and services to the public. The website is

Authors: Hayden, Craig.
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subject area. CitizenSpace, pending the arrival of the new, enhanced version of the FCO website
public forums, represents an online venue for communication between citizens on matters of
governance.
While previous studies mentioned have indicated that the UK context prefers a “public
service delivery model” for the use ICTs, the FCO site (and connectivity to CitizenSpace online
forums) tells a different story. While the website is arguably a well-designed web presence
displaying entrepreneurial qualities that emphasize service delivery – it also is informative,
educational, and provides easy access to contacts within the FCO and to fellow citizens. Indeed,
the line introducing Citizenspace reads: “Shape public policy and discuss politics” – an assertion
that at least in theory the UK presence online is about public inclusivity. From this observation,
the FCO represents a dual-edged emphasis on inputs and outputs (although clearly within an
“output”-centric framework), and both horizontal and vertical communication.
Future Website Directions, and Alternative sites for Digital Democracy
What is clear upon this basic analysis of website content for the US and the UK is a
convergence along at least one axis of government websites. The shift towards dissemination of
information and service delivery (outputs) is prevalent in both websites. Nevertheless, it is
perhaps no small irony that the United States has moved more decidedly in the direction of
“consumer democracy” while the UK has shifted to a more communitarian approach to the use
the Web and the Internet. Even with the previous national context provided by Hagen about the
UK’s ICT tendencies, the UK has embraced in their foreign policy web presence both service
delivery and participatory principles.
The UK trend does not seem to be changing. The FCO website is continuing to develop
information linkages with other government agencies, private enterprises, and public interest
groups in order to better facilitate available information and services to the public. The website is


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