development of local citizenship through social networks


Swapps for local democracy

SUMMARY
People are increasingly connecting in social networks, also called social media, forming pressure groups spontaneously, with speed and effectiveness. And why is that so?
Social networks have enabled the ordinary citizen a technological independence and freedom of thought never seen before. Nearly no censorship in social media and almost no state control. 
Governors often complain of public participation when they open space for discussion of public policies. The lack of citizen participation in important discussions is common and when it occurs is to "prevent" a claim or action or government initiative. Also, the contributions, if there´s any, fail in the review and the study.
Swapps (Social Web Applications) enable the citizen approach in his/her virtual community within the context of community and collaborative model. Swapps provided by the GRS-i3G integrate data from social networks used by most citizens, ie Facebook or Twitter, as well as blogs and mobile applications geolocalization.

PROBLEM
Citizens are seeking for direct and balanced relationship with the government. It is what is observed with the use of social networks. More and more "communities" are organized in a network to find solutions to their problems, inform, share, discuss and decide matters of everyday life in order to influence since public policy, or even the existence or not of governments.
In Brazil, in local democracy level, governors often complain of public participation when they open space for discussion of public policies and the lack of citizen participation in important discussions is common and when it occurs is to "prevent" a claim about an action or government initiative. Also, the contributions, when there is any, fail in the review and study.
On the other hand, those who are able to contribute with studies and assessments cannot establish a relationship of share of information and influence in the political development. They are ordinary citizens who cannot present their ideas, knowledge or problems to be used effectively in local governance.
The advancement of information technology is providing the human being a revolutionary tool. How, when and for what to use it is the citizen´s decision. Researchers and politicians have as duty to support this movement, and when they provide resources and knowledge they are contributing to the strengthening of citizenship.

SOLUTION
The developed solution improves the democratic functioning of local government or political parties, allowing the contact of the political leaders with citizens.
Swapps (Social Web Applications) enables the citizen approach in his virtual community within the context of community and collaborative model. Swapps provided by the GRS-i3G integrate data from social networks used by most citizens (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), as well as blogs and mobile applications.
The social application allows sharing location information with contacts and follow where they are, it will be the intensive use of social recommendation applications, such as displaying local products or services: the use of geoinformation from social networks to improve information exchange between citizens and public administrator.
The challenge faced by the tool is to allow reading, monitoring and exchange of information.
As a result the tool enabled the public managers to identify the most controversial topics in Laguna City, interact with the community and find solutions together.

IMPACT ON ECONOMY
Regarding the direct economic impacts, the Swapp allows:
- Reduction of human resources allocated in the process of communication with the citizen, because part of this process can be done through mobile applications and social networks.
- Reduction of transportation costs and human resources to analysis of reported problems, because the manager can analyze the problem through photos and videos attached by the citizens.
- The achievement of investiments more effective, due to the easy identification of the real needs of citizens.

Regarding the indirect economic impacts, the tool allows:
- Creation of a knowledge base about problems and opportunities identified by citizens , providing better planning of future actions.
- Cutting costs of public emergencies, given the possibility to predict possible emergencies through effective communication with citizens.
- The creation of a participatory culture through mobile devices and social networks, allowing succeed in developing mobile applications for other areas of the municipality, such as health and education, allowing greater automation of management processes.

IMPACT ON CULTURE
The Swapp provides an organization model for elaboration of public policies, allowing managers and citizens interact through an application associated with your social network.
This product is derived from mGov2 Project which is part of a program developed by OAS (Organization of American States), with the participation of IDRC(International Development Research Centre - Canada), COLAM (College of the Americas) and i3G Institute (Institute for Electronic Government, intelligences and systems) for the development of citizenship in the Americas. According to the i3G team, this project portrays deep academic reflections, as well as advanced trials, because the work is the result of a sequence of studies and citizen observation in the last 18 months, in the city of Laguna, state of Santa Catarina, Brazil.
As a consequence of this, the Swapp has joined the vanguard of political science at the forefront of technology.
Until now, the most effective result is the intense involvement of the Mayor of Laguna with the demands of its citizens held in social networks (posting, commenting or responding).The reform process is irreversible in Laguna. There will be no turning back or derailment in the road to democracy. Certainly, the next representative of the people will have to maintain this public space or create a similar one.

IMPACT ON ECOLOGY
The impact on climate is not straightforward. It was realized that the environmental groups are most active and they have been increasing public awareness about the environment in Laguna City. 
The environment is one of the issues related to SWAPP. This means that citizen participation is focused to support / develop public policy initiatives related to this area. As monitoring and indexing of the theme is done automatically allows you to expand further discussions on the subject, from floods, increased pollution until the devastation of coastal dunes and vegetation. It was observed by the use of the tool that the theme Environment is one of the most engaging in terms of developing citizenship.