Message from the Consortium

WeGovDear Readers,
Welcome to the third issue of the WeGov Newsletter!

This autumn was an exciting period for the WeGov project. Via our third newsletter issue of the WeGov project, the Consortium wishes to inform our readers about the latest developments and news within the Project.

In this issue, we feature the 1st WeGov Public Workshop which took place within eChallenges -2011 conference, on the 26th - 28th October, 2011 in Florence, Italy. The themes discussed provided interesting new possibilities for future development within the WeGov project.  The Consortium is happy to say that overall the event was deemed a great success. Furthermore, in the present issue the readers can find highlighted updates regarding the progress of WeGov User Field Trials as well as the technical developments on the toolkit.

Lastly in this issue of our newsletter the readers will find invigorating news from the social media world, and information about latest publications as well as future events from the field of eGovernment and eDemocracy.

Enjoy reading our third newsletter and please feel free to send us your feedback with your thoughts, comments and suggestions. The Consortium anticipates every reader’s engagement and involvement in the project and thus we welcome you to communicate with us via available channels such as our social media profiles on Facebook & Twitter, and our website. We are open to your questions, comments and suggestions for the enhancement of our project’s further progress.

To contact us please send as an email at: [email protected]

Best Wishes,
The WeGov Consortium

1st WeGov Workshop


The 1st WeGov Workshop was held within eChallenges e-2011 conference, on the 26th - 28th October, 2011 in Florence, Italy. The workshop took place on the 27th of October, 2011 during the conference session Workshop 7b: WeGov (14.00) entitled “WeGov: Where e-Governance meets e-Society”. 

The aim of the workshop was to introduce to a panel of experts and stakeholders in the field, the concept of the project. At the same time the workshop aimed to demonstrate the current version of the WeGov toolbox and its implications for policy-makers and citizens alike, within the context of social media. Finally, our goal was to start a meaningful discussion with the workshop attendees on the functionality of the toolkit and to use their feedback for the development process of the next version of the WeGov toolbox which will be tested by policy-makers in the next step of the process.

The project’s concept was described via presentations from the consortium, with the main justification of the project being that governments can engage better with citizens if they use channels the citizens already use and are familiar with - namely social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. The architecture of the WeGov toolbox was also presented to give an idea of how the toolbox is constructed and what it contains.

The demonstration presentations by our technical partners, concentrated on a use case where the end user (the governmental policy maker) wants to learn about citizens’ opinions on a particular topic. The toolbox provides the opportunity to run a search on multiple social networking sites by entering a keyword for the specific topic. The results are then fed into a “topic opinion analysis" tool and the end-user is provided with a “summary’ of the topics from data and various opinions, gathered from social networking sites based on the keyword. This combination of search and analysis is an example for a “workflow” that can be stored, modified or scheduled to be used for the policy-makers’ daily work. 

Round table as well as open discussions on use case applications that have been developed within the project, followed the demonstration in order to gather participants and attendees’ feedback. Questions from the audience clearly showed that they were interested, and the questions were relevant and pertinent. The themes discussed independently confirmed a number of conclusions the project has come to, as well as providing interesting new possibilities for the toolbox development. Overall the event was deemed a great success.

Read more on the 1st WeGov Workshop results

WeGov Updates
WeGov Field Trials

The evaluation of the initial WeGov toolbox via the WeGov field trials continued this autumn. As mentioned in our previous newsletter issues the aim of the WeGov field trials is to give governments the opportunity to engage directly with citizens via popular social networking sites; such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The GESIS field trial - dedicated to "Public Policy Research in Social Science" and being conducted with the German Parliament, the Federal Parliament of Nordrhein-Westfalen in Germany continued in October 2011 during the Open Government Camp, in Berlin (Germany), where GESIS discussed the toolbox functionality of the initial WeGov toolbox with various pertinent German stakeholders.

The Gov2u field trials - focused on "Diversity of opinion on Consumer Policy," and conducted face-to-face meetings with the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) of the European Parliament. They continued to liaise with MEPs via meetings, presentations and semi-structures interviews to showcase the initial WeGov toolbox and to gather their feedback and expectations regarding the WeGov user interface and underlying functionalities. An interactive demonstration session will be organized as a next step to collect MEPs feedback and further requirements. Efforts to motivate additional end-users within IMCO or among other MEPs and EP groups are being pursued.

As mentioned above the initial WeGov toolbox was also presented at the 1st WeGov workshop within eChallenges, in October 2011. The Consortium's aspiration was to demonstrate the initial WeGov toolbox and its implications and to get some early feedback from the audience on the concept and the user-interface (functionalities).

The core comments of the attendees’ were to “keep the toolbox simple” and that “localised search/analysis would be a real benefit”. This feedback will be used for the development process of the next version (second) of the WeGov toolbox.

Currently GESIS, Gov2u and Hansard Society are preparing for the field trials with the second version of the WeGov toolbox. During this process the feedback gathered from GESIS and Gov2u during this last implementation period, is in the progress to be disposed for the second WeGov toolbox version. The field trails are scheduled to start with the beginning of the new-year 2012.

Technical Updates

Cologne - November 2011

A meeting was hosted by GESIS on 14th - 15th November 2011, in Cologne, Germany. WeGov technical partners, IT Innovation, OU (KMi) and UKob along with GESIS were the main participants. The main purpose of this gathering was to get a better understanding of “Topic Opinion Analysis" tool with the aim to better address politicians’ needs (which were determined during the last evaluation of the WeGov toolbox via the WeGov field trials) and identify the benefits of the tool. The future developments regarding the WeGov toolbox developments are: making the starting point as simple as possible and to advertise only a few key functionalities.

Getting to know WeGov toolbox’s tools & components

The University of Southampton (UoS) - IT Innovation Centre (ITInn) has completed two important components of the WeGov toolbox. IT Innovation has completed the coordinator and the scheduler, which are the main components for executing the tools in the WeGov toolbox and determining when they should be executed. Scheduling gives the user a considerable amount of power, as it means the tools can be run automatically on a pre-determined schedule, thus providing a large amount of automation. For example the user can configure a search on SNS, and set a schedule to re-execute this search every day. The result is that data is collected automatically without the user having to do anything. IT Innovation has also determined integration patterns, which allow many different types of tools to be used in the toolbox, and have already integrated some tools, with plans to integrate others.

The Open University (OU) - Knowledge Media institute (KMi) has also some of the key components (tools) that compile the WeGov toolbox. These tools and methods have been developed in order to assist policy-makers in understanding the citizens’ behaviour and discussion dynamics, injecting content with a better chance of getting the citizens’ attention and engaging more effectively with the public. In particular, the OU has developed the Discussion Activity and Prediction tool, which have been implemented on the WeGov toolbox.

The first summarises the past activity of a discussion over time, providing policy-makers a more intuitive manner of viewing posts rate, most active users and most replied posts. The second offers the policy maker the opportunity to focus on posts and users that are bound to generate a higher attention from the public (higher number of replying posts) and to engage more closely with them.

In addition to this, the OU has developed the behaviour analysis tool also incorporated within the WeGov toolbox and which was the core subject of the previously mentioned meeting in Cologne, in November 2011. The tool provides policy-makers smaller and more manageable groups of users characterised by their activity. For example, in the case of Twitter, where there’s a plethora of users publishing content, this tool offers to policy-makers the option of concentrating on a certain type of users, e.g., the type of “Information Source”, characterised by his activity and engagement (tweeting, following) with his audience. The interaction with such types of users can help the policy maker interact with a larger scale of more active users. This tool uses Knowledge Modelling methods to characterise the user based on his features and further classify him into the most appropriate type.

The OU has also performed large scale analysis on different types of online communities and has obtained a set of publication guidelines that can be used by the policy maker while posting with the aim to increase the probability of getting a larger audience attention in the framework of the project.

Furthermore University of Koblenz-Landau (UKob), Institute for Web Science and Technologies (WeST) investigated methods and ways for better summarization and presentation of online discussions in social media. In doing so, novel methods for joint topic-opinion analysis has been developed. The proposed methodology allows for detecting latent aspects of discussion tracks (sub-themes of interest), user opinions and key arguments regarding these aspects, as well as key contributors. The analysis employs state of the art methods of probabilistic Bayesian learning, in combination with opinion-centric mining of affect states and emotions and new authority ranking metrics. The resulting framework allows for integration of other content features, such as timestamps, geospatial knowledge, specific terms (such as years for characterization of future-oriented issues), and others. Many application examples with real data have demonstrated the practical feasibility of the proposed solution.

Moreover, results of Ukob research investigation are integrated with WeGov platform and dashboard in form of a more flexible topic-opinion analysis tool that allows for finding a) key topics of discussion; b) key postings with respect to topical relevance and various opinions, and c) key users that influenced the discussion flow. Lastly, the model can be now learned in a more stable way from a large-scale background corpus (i.e. beyond current discussion of interest), and also incrementally adjusted when new input data arrives, allowing for a more flexible and robust modeling of background themes and their evolution over time.

WeGov Events

WeGov publication in ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology (ACM TIST) - Journal

The article "Latent Spatial Semantics of Social Media" by Sergej Sizov has been accepted for publication in ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology ACM TIST Journal. The article addresses the fundamental question of geo-spatial awareness in social media applications. The article will be included in a forthcoming ACM TIST issue which will be released within 2011.

View the original news article

WeGov participated in TREC 2011, in November 2011

WeGov partner UKob, participated in the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC) 2011, on 15th - 18th of November, 2011 in Gaithersburg, Md. USA. It encourages research in information retrieval and related applications by providing a large test collection, uniform scoring procedures, and a forum for organizations interested in comparing their results. UKob contributed to the conference with the submission & presentation of a paper with the title “LiveTweet: Microblog Retrieval Based on Interestingness and an Adaptation of the Vector Space Model” which will be published at the conference proceedings in due time.

Find more about the TREC 2011
View the original article

WeGov participated in CIKM 2011, in October 2011

WeGov partner UKob participated in the 20th ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2011), on 24th - 28th October 2011, in Glasgow, Scotland. Its purpose is to identify challenging problems facing the development of future knowledge and information systems, and to shape future research directions through the publication of high quality, applied and theoretical research findings. UKob contributed to the event by submitting & presenting a short paper with the title “Searching microblogs: coping with sparsity and document quality”.

View the presentation
Find more about the short paper

At the same event UKob co-organized in the roles of General Chair and Program Chair the Workshop “DETECT: International Workshop on DETecting and Exploiting Cultural diversiTy on the Social Web", on the 24th of October, 2011. The workshop aimed at at bringing together researchers and practitioners dealing with inter-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-national information environments in distinct contexts, and discovered synergies between their research fields. UKob has submitted successfully the workshop paper "Detecting Culture in Coordinates: Cultural Areas in Social Media" by Christoph Kling and Thomas Gottron, which was also presented at the workshop.

View the original article
Find more about CIKM 2011
Find more about the workshop paper

WeGov was presented in ISWC 2011 in October 2011

WeGov partner OU participated at the 10th International Semantic Web Conference, in 23rd - 27th October 2011, in Bonn, Germany. ISWC is the major international forum where the latest research results and technical innovations on all aspects of the Semantic Web are presented. In this event, the OU team presented their work towards modelling and analysing user behaviour in online communities. The goal of this work is to monitor and capture member activities and to analyse emerging behaviour over time.

View the presentation
Find more about ISWC 2011
Find more about the submitted paper

WeGov was presented in SocialCom2011in October 2011

WeGov partner OU participated in the third IEEE International Conference on Social Computing, on 9th-10th October, 2011 in Boston, USA. The Third IEEE International Conference on Social Computing (SocialCom2011) provides a key forum for researchers and industry practitioners to exchange information regarding advancements in the state of art and practice of social computing. In this event, the OU team presented their work for anticipating discussion activity on community forums. OU addressed two main research questions: which features are key to stimulating discussions; and, how do these features influence discussion length? This analysis offers policy makers the opportunity to focus on posts that are bound to generate a higher attention from the public.

View the presentation
Find more about SocialCom2011
Find more about the submitted paper

WeGov was presented in the Government 2.0 Camp 2011 in September 2011

WeGov partner GESIS participated in the Government2.0 Camp (Open Government Camp) 2011, on 29th - 30th September 2011 in Berlin, Germany. It is a networking event which aims to bridge the gap between society and government administration. WeGov illustrated the initial WeGov toolbox to policy- makers and politicians and held an open discussion to gather their feedback on the WeGov toolbox.

Find more about Government 2.0 Camp 2011
(in German)

WeGov participated in the ICEGOV2011 in September 2011 - New publication

WeGov partners GESIS and Gov2u participated in the 5th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance on 26 - 28 September 2011, in Tallinn, Estonia. GESIS was part of the poster session to present the case-study with the title “Rethinking Governance via Social Networking - The Case of direct vs. indirect stakeholder injection” illustrating the project.

View the presentation
Find more about ICEGOV2011

WeGov participated in IFIP - EGOV 2011 in August 2011

GESIS participated in IFIP e-Government conference (IFIP EGOV) 2011, on 28 August - 2 September 2011 in Delft (The Netherlands).  GESIS presented some evaluation results of the information and dissemination behavior of stakeholders of the German Bundestag with the title “Public Politician Profiles on Facebook and the gap of ‘Authenticity’”. The presentation was part of the workshop “Open Governmental Data from Governments to Science and Society: The ENGAGE project”. GESIS gave another presentation on the workshop “Open Government: Contribution from Current EC-funded Projects to Citizen Participation, Good Governance and Collaborative Policy Development” with a short discussion on the lessons learned within the WeGov project.

View the first presentation
View the second presentation
Find more about IFIP EGOV 2011

WeGov participated in ePart 2011 in August 2011

ITInn participated in the third international conference on eParticipation (ePart 2011), on 29 August - 1 September 2011, in Delft, The Netherlands. WeGov presented a research paper with the title SNS-Based eParticipation and Cloud Computing - A Consideration of the Issues Raised. The presentation took place under the conference section Innovative Technologies on Wednesday, 31st of August 2011.
Find more about ePart2011
Read the presented paper

WeGov Future Events

WeGov announces its participation in “Science meets Parliament” event in April 2012

GESIS will participate in the "Science meets Parliament" event, hosted by the State Parliament Nordrhein-Westfalen, on the 25th of April 2012, in Germany. This event addresses Parliamentarians to suggest using solutions, methods and tools development by different Leibniz organizations. GESIS is going to present the WeGov Toolbox. The title of the presentation is: “Using Facebook, Twitter and Co. for the decision making process - Enriching the dialogue with citizens by monitoring opinions and identifying local topics". More information regarding the event will be published soon the project website in due time.

Social Media News
WeGov Social Media news

WeGov made its social media debut in April 2010, using the most widely known platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. By nearly the end of April 2010 there were 50 Followers on our Twitter profile and 26 Facebook users liked our Facebook page. After only 2 months of our presence in social media WeGov was followed by 134 Twitter users and our Facebook pages was liked by 109 Facebook users, having a 168% increase and 342.31% accordingly. By October 2010, the sixth month of social media operations, the project managed to increase its followers on Twitter by 494% and on Facebook by 592.31%. Our SlideShare was created in November 2010. 

One year after the official launch of WeGov profiles on social media, in April 2011, WeGov counted 450 Twitter followers and 231 Likes on Facebook, which indicates an increase of 800% on our Twitter followers and a 788.46% increase on our Facebook Likes! At the end of November 2011, more than one and a half year later, WeGov reached a     1098% increase on its Twitter followers and a 984.62% increase on its Facebook likes. Currently we have successfully 616 Twitter followers 51 Twitter Lists and 283 Facebook Likes! Additionally we have disseminated more than 820 social media updates with information and events from the eGovernance field and we liaised with more than 760 different stakeholders.

Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Slideshare

1st WeGov Online Event

WeGov in order to create an even wider community of interest will organize a series of online social media events. The 1st WeGov online event will be announced shortly. In this online event invited stakeholders such as eGovernment experts, academics and policy-makers will discuss on a given topic related to the WeGov thematic, i.e. engagement of policy-makers with social media for their reconnection with their citizens. The online discussion will be open to the audience, which will have the opportunity to pose questions to the panelists. The online discussion as well as attendees’ questions will feed back on the project website and social media profiles. Stay tuned on WeGov Twitter and Facebook page for more information about the 1st WeGov online event!

In the Social Media World

Anatomy of a Social Media Policy

An interesting blog post addresses the need of organizations’ to have a social media policy. Through researching and reading over 150 social media policies for corporations, hospitals, universities and non-profit organizations the author shares her knowledge on the issue.

Read the blog post

The Demographic Landscape of Social Networks

Dan Nelms makes a brief demographic analysis of social networks that helps explain who uses social networks, and for what purpose.

Read the full article

Young people 'bored' with social media

New research suggests one in four young people is 'bored' with 'superficial' social media, but more than a third are more enthusiastic than ever.

Read the full article

Social media "fatigue" emerges

Many consumers are beginning to show signs of social media "fatigue", a new international study has argued.

Read full article


Additional Reading

A Best Practices Guide for Mitigating Risk in the Use of Social Media

This guide was written to help government managers, IT staff, and end users understand the risks they face when turning to social media to accomplish agency missions, and to mitigate those risks. It aims to examine the current and potential use of social media by government agencies.

Read the full guide

Social networking sites and our lives

A survey which examines social networking sites, exploring people’s overall social networks and how use of these technologies is related to trust, tolerance, social support, and community as well as political engagement.

Find more about this report/ survey

Internet and Surveillance: The Challenges of Web 2.0 and Social Media

This book is the first ever published volume that is dedicated to Internet surveillance in the age of what has come to be termed “social media” or “web 2.0″ (blogs, wikis, file sharing, social networking sites, microblogs, user-generated content sites, etc).

Find more about this publication

Internet and the impact of social pressure on political participation

This paper investigates the impact of the internet upon individual contributions to collective action. It examines how political participation may be stimulated by one particular characteristic of the internet: its ability to provide real-time feedback information on the participation of others in a political action.

Read the full paper

Contact Us

Do you have a question about the WeGov Project?
Please feel free to contact us!
Dr. Somya Joshi,
Project Manager, ICT for policy and citizen engagement, Gov2u
[email protected]

Eirini Souri,
Project Manager, Unit for ICT for policy and citizen engagement, Gov2u
[email protected]

T: +30 210 61 21 340, F: +30 61 46 206
E-mail: [email protected]

Upcoming Events

December 20th 2011, User-Centric eServices ePractice Workshop, in Brussels Belgium

This event will focus on user-empowerment, how modern technology can transform the way citizens communicate, and the ways that governments can enable citizens to access eServices in their own convenience at a minimal cost.
Find more about this ePractice event

January 30th - February 4th 2012, ICDS 2012, in Valencia, Spain

The 6th International Conference on Digital Society is open to researchers and industry stakeholders. It focuses on citizen-centric disruptive and enabling technologies, internet and web services, eGovernment services in the context of digital society, social networking, etc.
Find more about ICDS 2012

March 10th - 13th 2012, IADIS eSociety 2012 Conference, in Berlin, Germany

The IADIS eSociety 2012 conference aims to address the main issues of concern within the Information Society. This conference covers both the technical as well as the non-technical aspects of the Information Society.
Find more about IADIS eSociety 2012

April 25th - 27th 2012, ICDGS 2012, in Venice, Italy

The 2012 International Conference on e-Democracy, e-Government and e-Society, aims to exchange and share experiences and research results on aspects of e-Democracy, e-Government and e-Society, and discuss practical challenges and solutions.
Find more about ICDGS 2012

April 28th - 29th 2012, ICEBEG 2012, in Izmir, Turkey

The International Conference on eBusiness and eGovernment aims is to bring together an interdisciplinary audience of ICT to address some of the issues and challenges facing the public and private sector today.
Find more about ICEBEG 2012

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission under the
THEME ICT 2009.7.3

ICT for Governance and Policy Modelling . This website reflects the views only of the
Consortium, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may
be made of the information contained herein.