Build new policy networks

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Where there are no existing policy networks on a specific issue, Web 2.0 tools can be used to support building such networks. This has an advantage that from the very beginning, we can chose tools and strategies that are transparent and participative, making it more difficult for a policy-making process to be hijacked by strongest interest groups. This can be done by building attractive and interactive online spaces which:

  • are participatory and enable online collaboration, such as collaborative development of documents, synchronous and asynchronous meetings, etc
  • enable participation of those stakeholders who are usually excluded from policy making processes (e.g. general public – end users of public policies)
  • enable easy integration into online tools/spaces that other stakeholders are already using in their work
  • enable easy sharing of the argument-supporting evidence
  • are credible in terms of transparency of administration of all shared information, particularly in terms of privacy

Many of the tools that have been defined and described in the previous sections are useful in building networks.

The key strategies are:

Strategy: Set up a space where the network will interact

Tools and Usage Potentials Limitations Examples
Social networking tools

Facebook groups.

These can be created and people with Facebook accounts can be invited as a way to deliver news and information about research process and findings.

* There is a built-in 'forum' for each group where they can discuss various issues.
  • Individuals who are part of your Facebook group can get updates as private messages on their in-box.
  • They can also immediately publicise the information from the Facebook page on their 'walls' and to their other contacts.

* The members of the community will be limited to those with Facebook accounts.
  • If the information being sent out through the page is not useful, people can easily leave the group.
  • There is a limit to how many members can join a Facebook group.
  • Important privacy considerations (see [#appendix 1 Appendix 1])

Ning <>. On

Ning, you can form private or public communities based on a particular topic / field / interest.

* A ning community site includes a blog and forum.
  • You can also create groups within your ning space so that people can join sub-topics / themes that are more interesting for them.
  • Members of your ning community can opt to get email notifications on topics and discussions they are interested in, so they do not need to go to the site unless something they are interested in is updated.

Ning used to be a free service but will be a paid-only service by July 2010.

Unlike is the case of Facebook, owners of Ning groups can export content of the group for usage elsewhere, migrating to other system, etc.

Blogs, such as, or, provide 'free' services to build community spaces. * Blog posts can be used to summarise and link to research findings.
  • Members of the community can directly comment on and discuss blog posts.
  • “Tagging” of blog posts allow for content to be organised and easily findable by someone searching on the internet for your specific topics.
  • The community blog may be made public in order to attract more community members.
  • Blogs come with RSS (Real Simple Syndication) that will allow users to receive updates via email clients such as Thunderbird so that they don't need to go to the site regularly. This is especially useful for those with limited internet access.

Blogs need to be updated regularly for the community to thrive.

Strategy: Promote the network

Tools and Usage Potentials Limitations Examples
Interact with related networks in other social networking sites
Use Twitter to provide updates on the network.


Table of Contents of the iGuide

1. Introduction

2. Basic Communication Strategy and use of Web 2.0 Tools for Evidence Based Policy

3. Section 1: Political Context

4. Section 2: Evidence

5. Section 3: Links

This iGuide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.

Impact 2.0 is a project of the Fundación Comunica with funding provided by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), IDRC.jpg Ottawa, Canada.

Consult the User's Guide for information on using the wiki software.