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USA Services Intergovernmental Newsletter

By Lisa Leahy, OIT

OIS Newsletter, Issue 20: How E-Government Is Changing Society and Strengthening Democracy

"Generational E-Democracy in Maine" is one of 27 articles addressing new opportunities for involving citizens in the democratic process. This newsletter explores some of the many ways technology is making government processes more accessible and expanding citizen participation in public policy decision-making. It documents the first steps in what is certain to become a wave of remarkable technological applications that will continuously change the way citizens and the governments that represent them interact. The articles describe many of the ways electronic government is:

  • Building Trust in Government
  • Engaging Citizens
  • Facilitating Public Comment
  • Getting to Mature E-Democracy
  • Using Social Media

CDC Avatar

CDC has a featured article that addresses their social networking endeavor. Social networking and interaction are key elements of metaverse involvement. Participation in this new channel for information dissemination adds to CDC's traditional tools and methods of reaching specialized audiences. The CDC has an avatar named “Hygeia Philo” (Greek for ‘love of health') who is their representative in the virtual world of Second Life. She is a permanent web location that conducts health education and provides web links to CDC information.

The term metaverse comes from Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel Snow Crash, and is now widely used to describe the vision behind current work on fully immersive 3D virtual spaces. These are environments where humans interact (as avatars) with each other (socially and economically) and with software agents in a cyber space, that uses the metaphor of the real world, but without its physical limitations.

Article posted on: December 3, 2007
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