September 8, 2006|
If you needed information about your city, it makes sense to head over to the metropolitan website to begin figuring out what's what. A research study by Cleveland State's Leo Jeffres and UConn's Carolyn Lin appears in Indiana University's Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. The study examines how the websites of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the US represented their cities and how well their websites communicated with the public, both residents and visitors, through their sites. The researchers found that while some websites offer quite a lot of useful information, they still have a ways to go to be perfectly useful, especially since the Internet is recognized as a superior platform for democraticizing society and fostering community.
Jeffres and Lin are, in their investigation, asking a larger question, of whether or not the internet can (and has so far) help(ed) build and support community and engagement in civic life for a variety of stakeholders, not limited to current and prospective residents, business owners and tourists. In this study, they directly ask whether or not the sample of 50 major metropolitan websites offer the kind of diverse information/content one would consider of great importance to the abovementioned stakeholders. (more…)