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Wednesday, September 19 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
Beyond 'reach': Rethinking the evaluation of digital government

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Tanja Porter (ACIL Allen Consulting)

It's been almost a decade since the Australian Government announced that social media would revolutionise how citizens engage with government and would lead to a raft of improvements in policy making and service delivery. Today, social media features in most government interactions with citizens - from managing expectations about hospital waiting times, to taking reports on pot holes that need fixing, or consulting on tax policy reform. 

How do we evaluate the impact of government activity that involves social media? Commonly we use the data generated by social media (hits, likes, shares, etc.) and draw conclusions about outcome and impact based on these measures of popularity and 'reach'. Social media measurement tools and dashboards make it increasingly easy to do so.

Drawing from case studies of social media in the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the 'one punch' laws in NSW, my research shows that this data disguises the complexity of citizen-government interactions on social media. Evaluations relying on social media data alone are blind to context and power relations and can result in inaccurate appraisals of an activity's outcome or impact. 

Introducing the concept of 'deliberative systems' and the emerging techniques of 'digital ethnography', and by applying them to the same two case studies, this presentation will show how evaluators can achieve far richer, and more nuanced insights of citizen-government interactions through social media. 

avatar for Anne Markiewicz

Anne Markiewicz

Director, Anne Markiewicz and Associates
Anne Markiewicz is a leading monitoring, evaluation, and training specialist with over 20 years’ experience designing monitoring and evaluation frameworks and developing and implementing a range of evaluation methodologies. She has designed and delivered M&E capacity development... Read More →

avatar for Tanja Porter

Tanja Porter

Senior Consultant, ACIL Allen Consulting
I love to get my teeth into policy reviews, program evaluations and doing research, consultation and analysis. For many years I managed public investigations and integrity processes in the Commonwealth Government. I've recently examined (via a PhD at ANU) what political theory can... Read More →

Wednesday September 19, 2018 11:30am - 12:00pm AEST
Chancellor 3