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Journal article

Online opportunities for civic engagement? An examination of Australian third sector organisations on the internet

20 May 2005

This article reports on a preliminary analysis of Australian third sector, or non-profit, organisations’ attempts to mobilise citizen engagement using online technologies. Recent debates about the nature and importance of citizen engagement, and the impacts of online technologies on citizen engagement, are reviewed in order to identify the significance of these technologies to third sector organisations. Drawing on a content analysis of 50 Australian third sector organisations’ websites, I then consider the ways in which these organisations are, or are not, utilising online technological capacity to mobilise citizen engagement with their organisational activities. The research concludes that, while the organisations reviewed are utilising the capacity of online technologies to present information about their offline activities, they are less consistent in using these technologies to mobilise civic engagement in new ways. The implications of the research findings are discussed in relation to the future of the Australian third sector and public policy.

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